The Schuh Family
By Sarah Schuh
All I could think to myself was, “Are we crazy? How in the world did we get ourselves into this continuous cycle of saying goodbye? Do people actually choose this lifestyle? Did WE actually choose this?”
As we pulled away from my parents’ house in Ohio on Monday I was simply overcome with grief at having to say goodbye to them yet again. More accurately, the reality of having to tell my kids once again that it might be a looong time before they see “Grandpa and Vovó” was getting to be just downright annoying.
I chose to be the one sitting in the drivers’ seat for this, the first leg of our trip. As we had been packing up and stalling our goodbyes for as long as possible I had this growing feeling that I wasn’t going to deal with this portion of our trip well. You know how you kind of get that feeling of a storm brewing up ahead? Yeah, this was it. You’d think I would want to simply be the passenger at this point, but no, I wanted to sit in silence and beg God to remind me once again. It wasn’t a particularly high point for me. I know Trevor feared for the safety of our vehicle as he asked me several times if I wanted him to drive. Sobbing and driving aren’t two things that should normally go together. However, the kids would need water or a snack or a book, and in selfishness I simply wanted to sit and think. I needed to sit and think.
Perhaps it all started with this clip that I watched about a month and a half back (take the time to watch it…it’s only a couple minutes). Here is a young family (whom we know) who started out with Wycliffe, served stateside for a couple years, and now serves in Nigeria full-time. Now I have usually been pretty good with goodbyes and with the idea of wanting to go wherever the Lord wants me to go, but when I heard Christie say in the video clip that her parents would not have the privilege of being there for their son’s first birthday or so many of his other milestones, for some reason something inside me started to come unglued.
And then over the last week I once again watched the movie “The End of the Spear” and then decided to read the entire book, written by Steve Saint–the son of the pilot who flew himself and five other missionaries into Waodani (‘Auca’) territory for the sake of the Gospel. The five men were speared to death, but that wasn’t the end of the story. I’m sure you’re familiar with this portion of history (if you’re not, find the book here), so I won’t go on about this except to say that I could not help but meditate on the fact that the decisions these guys made (obviously) affected the course of life for the entire rest of their families.
What I simply couldn’t shake was the realization that our decision to follow God wherever He leads us not only affects me and us, but that our extended family (parents, grandparents, cousins, etc.) are by default forced into a situation where they have to give over to God their desire to be a part of the daily lives of their grandchildren (in a face-to-face, go-over-to-Grandpa’s-house-whenever-you-want-to sort of way). Now my parents have never once tried to steer us away from following what we felt God was asking us to do, but I can’t help but think that they have to continually give over that desire of their hearts to the Lord. And I am pretty sure that it is anything but easy.
It’s so natural to think about how all the major life changes of “being missionaries” affects our little family. It’s normal and necessary to think about all those things I suppose. Where will the kids go to school, who will their friends be, will life be ‘normal’ enough for them to thrive in? But I think the greater sacrifice is oftentimes made by those family members who silently cheer us on and support us, their loved ones, to follow God wherever and whenever He leads for the sake of His gospel. Who give to the Lord their desire, and even ‘right’ to be in the daily lives of our kids.
Even in writing this, I am reminded that we aren’t even overseas yet! The Lord knows what will happen in the years to come, whether or not He will allow us to serve Him on the other side of the world or not. But I think that perhaps God is allowing me to work through some of these issues even now as we move in the direction of going to those who don’t have His written Word yet.
God reminded me that He sent His own Son to go to a place far away from Him so that others could be saved. Lord, help us all to find our strength and our purpose in You alone. No other foundation will remain stable enough for us to pursue that which You’ve called us to. May we go for the sake of the gospel alone.
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