Posted by on Jul 13, 2009 in Advice, Compassion International, Do Something!, Family, Kids, Missions, Parenting, Personal, Service to others | 4 comments

"We do need to warn you…these kids are not the same!"
— Never The Same '09 blog

It's been two of the longest weeks in my life, but I imagine two of the shortest weeks in hers.  A mission trip billed as "Never The Same '09" has lived up to its name.  She's been on the mountain, grown her family, fed the hungry, played the role of nurse and lived her faith, and a radiant countenance belies all these things.

Plus she likes vegetables now.  Go figure.

Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic, but I sense my daughter has stumbled into her calling.  What tells me this?  She can't stop smiling.  I see it in her face now, but I heard it in her voice shortly after she met her team members.

This is significant.  For years (though it's hard to remember now) it bothered me she didn't smile often enough.  I–one who believes "you're never fully dressed without a smile"–almost took it personally.  Wasn't a smile an outward expression of an inner working?  Did her solemn expression mask inner fear?  unhappiness?  worry?  

Recently, I've seen this little caterpillar of mine wiggle out of her self-spun cocoon; her metamorphosis, though welcome, was unexpected.  Physical growth and changes are easy to detect, but an evolution of the soul?  A transforming of the mind?  Subtle shifts in personality and behavior and response to others?  It would've been so easy--too easy--to miss had I just been looking with my eyes.

Thankfully, my heart was listening and looking. 

I'm thinking while I write, and I remember a handful of conversations she and I had over the past year.  We were fully present and engaged and seized "accidental" moments.  She had questions and invited me to share my answers.  She acknowledged frustrations, revealed her hopes, admitted fears, confessed sin and dared to dream out loud.  

While I wonder how many of these opportunities I've miss with her or my sons, I'm convinced of this: 

Time is requisite for your kids to be willing to share their heart with you.  It can't be rushed or manipulated or coerced.  They have to know you're fully present; especially as they grow older.

It was time for her to speak. 

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"It was the best day of my life so far."
Rachel, describing meeting Evelyn, the little girl she sponsors through Compassion International

This is when it was time for me to speak...to be continued….


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