I guess that the stress of the last several weeks is finally getting to me. While putting the kids down tonight, I noticed that Ava’s special “Mommy and Me” picture frame, that she’s had since birth, was covered in mildew and mold…three or four different colors. The picture and frame were ruined–yet another casualty to our tropical climate. Perhaps it was the significance that it happened on her fourth birthday, or because it’s just been a rough few weeks, but I burst out crying when I saw it. Because we could only bring so much when we moved to Cambodia, we have so few sentimental things…treasures to hold onto from the past…treasures to pass onto the future. I wish that I wasn’t so sentimental, but I am, and with every loss to mold, breakage on the hard tile floor and other “moth, rust, theft” situations, I find myself battling between the “It’s just a stupid object, our treasures shouldn’t be on earth anyway!” idea and the “But, that was something special, given by someone special…it represents the people that love us far away…it’s irreplaceable” idea. I think that I had envisioned my teenaged daughter (us with a thriving relationship, of course!), still with the “Mommy and Me” frame in her room. I realize that some people don’t relate to this, but it is a struggle for me, especially here in Cambodia…and especially on days when I feel like we’ve already given up so much…”Can’t I just keep my stupid frame, God!” The loss of the frame represented so much more than a mere object…it issued forth the bitterness that lies deep within my soul. The bitterness that He’s called me, commanded me, to sacrifice my life to His purpose. That I must die to myself. The bitterness that He’s stripped me from loved ones and a life full of normalcy, and instead given me a life of cacophony and chaos.
Yes, there are days when my heart is screaming these thoughts, and then…as He so graciously did again today…in His still, quiet voice, He reminds me that He sacrificed His only Son, so that I might live. He reminds me that there are souls perishing needlessly, having never heard the name of Jesus Christ. He reminds me of the countless personal stories that I know of darkness, oh, the deep, deep darkness that exists in Cambodia. Only this past week, there were multiple accounts of fathers raping daughters and an entire village brutally killing a man who had slain his wife and stepdaughter, after raping the daughter. These are every day headlines in Cambodia. This darkness lies within all of us, but for those of us who have seen the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have an obligation, no, a joy, to proclaim that Light to the world. Especially the world that lives beyond the comforts of “normal” life. And herein is my conclusion: What is one sentimental frame in the context of eternity? As He continues to slowly, gently, even lovingly, take away the treasures of this earth from my clenched fist, my prayer is that I would open my hand, in a willing offering, motivated by true gratefulness for the ultimate Sacrifice…His death in exchange for my everlasting life.