Here I am again. My mind running away from me, wondering if I’m doing the right thing for them. These 3 precious lives God has placed in my lap. Sometimes this lap seems too small… am I mother enough for them? Should they have more experiences, more opportunities, or are they doing too much?

We make sacrifices as a family. Right now, at 8, 6, and 4 – it’s all just a big adventure to them. But I see the sacrifices they are making. The classes we can’t afford. The summers they can’t be with friends because they are on the road with us, giving their lives to young Native American people across this country. And I wonder sometimes, “am I asking too much of them?”

But then I remember another little girl – a little blonde girl in a tiny village in W. Africa. She didn’t choose to go there – but it was the only life she had ever known. And it was a great adventure. She got to ride motorcycles over dusty red dirt, take long walks under a rain forest canopy (always keeping an eye out for the dark lines of driver ants snaking their way across the path), and drink water from underground springs. She got to fly helio couriers to and from the big city every once in a while, and of course, there were the pets – the Duiker deer, the pangolin, a genet, bush baby, the owls, and of course the dog, cat and rabbits as well. Snakes in the trees (good thing brother was a good shot), the stars at night close enough to touch, it seemed – and one can’t leave out that terrible scary night sister was bitten by a viper… Oh yes, life was an adventure!

That little blonde girl had dreams. The JC Penney toy catalog had been paged through so many times the edges were dog-eared. She had dreams of gymnastics. She saw stories of girls in the US hanging out with their friends, and here her friends were taking care of families and getting ready to be married. She harbored a love for the violin, and knew there was no possibility of getting the chance to play. And it didn’t matter much – these dreams were stored up in her heart and life just kept happening.

I moved to Los Angeles to live out my high school years. The dreams kept coming – rather than gymnastics, I longed to try my hand at martial arts. Many dreams had to be put on the back burner because of finances and other limitations. But God brought in other opportunities – art, friendships, my first real taste of deep community.

As the years passed, some dreams were forgotten – or just didn’t seem important anymore. My husband remembered, and bought me a violin – but it sat in a closet for a few years. What busy mother and full time ministry partner has time to take music lessons? And then last year, at 39, it all came full circle. I found myself not just taking my 8 yr old daughter to violin lessons, but taking lessons with her! And as my kids started asking if there was a place they could learn martial arts, I found myself a part of their class with them. Dreams that seemed so irrelevant, so temporal, had mattered to my God. And as I marveled over this, He leaned in and whispered, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25)

Suddenly I realized – there is no sacrifice made that God hasn’t already rewarded.

We may not see the reality of every dream this side of heaven, but He sees it all – every tear, every regret, every sacrifice – even those of the little ones who are along on the adventure with us. And there is nothing sacrificed that will not be matched by tenfold blessings – if we will trust and walk in His timing. “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” Ps 31:19

And so when this little blonde haired girl from Africa worries about if she is doing the right thing for her own 3 little blonde haired kids, I remember – and I smile.

Sara was born in West Africa and lived there until she was 14. She continued her adventures in LA, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Amsterdam, before marrying the love of her life, Brad, and settling on the Hopi reservation. Since moving off the rez, Sara and Brad, with their 3 kids, currently have the opportunity to serve alongside Native American tribes throughout the United States, helping Native young people find their true identity in Jesus. She also does her part to keep coffee growers in business worldwide.

Many thanks to this good friend for sharing her memories and reflections on God's faithfulness. I find it so encouraging to hear from adult TCKs when I am questioning my choices in raising my boys in Africa. What questions do you wish you could ask those who were raised overseas?

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You'll have to excuse me for a quiet week - we are out of state at a family reunion right now! But I still want to hear from you - if you have any questions for our readers, topic suggestions, or if you would like to write a guest post for TCKmom, please contact me using this form.

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