by Laura on April 8, 2010

I won’t lie, this has been the hardest thing our family has ever done.

Hands down.  The hardest thing we’ve ever done.

And maybe that proves that we’ve lived a bit of a cake-walk life thus far, but this past week has been much tougher than we imagined while viewing it from the mountains of Colorado.

In essence, the last few days have looked like this: we begin in the cool of the morning with the high hopes of finding a rental house, but by noon, the kids are tired of driving around in the van, the temperature has peaked at 104, we can’t find food Cade will eat, the information has changed again, we have miscommunicated another time, and there’s still no house on the horizon.  And our new friends here have helped us immensely (thank you, Lu and Betty!), but it has still been unexpectedly exhausting.

Beyond underestimating what it would take to find a home, we also greatly underestimated the stress that comes from living in a foreign country with small children.  You, moms, will sympathize.  Picture this:  I have the kids by myself at a pool today (while Matt continues to look for rentals).  He drives away with an agent.  Then, I read the sign and find that the pool doesn’t open for another 45 minutes.  I don’t have a cell phone.  It’s over 100 degrees already.  We haven’t had lunch, and I forgot the sunscreen.  I drag everyone into a convenient store nearby and frantically try to find sunblock amid a row of bottles in another language.  Ava starts pulling stuff off shelves.  I snarl at Kelty to grab her sister and try to distract everyone by letting them pick out an icecream bar.  Ava falls.  The three workers at the cash register are openly staring at us (the blonde heads have gotten many a look thus far), while talking in Asian and pointing.  I pick up Ava, while Cade starts having a meltdown that he can’t hold his icecream until after I pay for it.  I grab his arm (too hard, I’m afraid), ask in slow english to the attendant, “sunscreen?” while telling Kelty to grab Ava again, and whispering at Cade to “get it together.”  I get the sunblock, don’t understand what bills are needed for payment, end up handing over a crumpled 1000 baht (which I assume better cover it), nod, say “thankyou” in Asian, which I’m sure I continue to butcher, and scuttle everyone out the door.  Look at my watch.  Dang.  Only 3 minutes spent.  I go to nearby coffeeshop– where Ava drops her icecream on the floor and Kelty spills my entire iced coffee–all again with an openly staring audience.  Swelter in the sun for another 25 minutes with tired, whiny kids.  Finally get to the pool.  Awesome–now time to breathe.  Psyche.  Ava has to go to the bathroom, and I am faced with another mothering dilemma. I can’t leave the older kids surrounded by staring strangers, I can’t let the baby go inside by herself, I can’t leave my stuff with my wallet, but don’t know if I have time to get it all inside by the time . . .  oops, too late  . . . Ava had an accident.  Score.

That’s just a little snapshot; it’s been hard–harder than we expected (the downside of optimism I suppose). We are still living out of piles in suitcases.  Still waking up early from the jet-lag.  Still all in one room.  Still exhausted from grabbing little hands in crowded markets.  Still just surviving emotionally and maritally.  But, here’s the thing I’ve been reminded of lately,  anything worth doing or being costs.  Greatly. Whether it’s fighting for your marriage or paying off debt or learning the Bible or losing weight or loving orphans, anything worth anything is costly.

This week I remembered the story in the Bible when King David is going to make a sacrifice (2 Samuel 24:24).  Sacrificies in the Old Testament were a form of worship and a action of obedience. In this story, the actual sacrifice was offered to David as a gift.  But David refused, insisting that he pay for it himself,saying, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing.”

“I will not sacrifice that which costs me nothing.”

It’s become my new mantra of late.  Whenever I feel embarrassed by the food my kids spill amid the stares of a hundred eyes.  Whenever I catch a glimpse of our dirty feet or sweaty heads.  Whenever I root through unorganized clothes.  Whenever I watch my kids play in a pool unable to talk to the kids around them.  Whenever I feel isolated and disconnected and so far away from home.  I meditate on this gem from Scripture.  I repeat it and cling to it and remember that true worship and obedience comes with a cost. And sometimes the price tag may feel a bit higher than was expected, but maybe God new that if I understood what the journey was really going to cost, my human nature wouldn’t have chosen it in the first place.  Regardless, I’m trying to embrace the sacrifice, instead of bartering my way out of it.

Heat and fish smell and house-hunting and all.

Update:  Since I wrote this last night, we found a house to rent!  We are so thankful to be moving in today.  It has a lovely garden and is in a great neighborhood.  We are facing the day with much more hope!  Thanks for praying.  Pictures to come soon, promise.

  • Ed Ragan


    Thanking the Lord with you. He is your adequacy and strength. I am proud of your faithfulness to the call no matter how hard.
    We’re in Little Rock with Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Rick. They and cousins send their love. Call if you can. I’ll have the phone with me. Enjoy your house! Kiss my precious ones from Mimi.
    Love, MOM

  • Adina Henderson

    Praying, praying, praying! And hearing the voice of God in your typed words. Thank you.

  • Amy

    I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes as I read this. Thankful you are able to be real with where you’re at. I will be praying for continued strength and rest as you navigate through this tough transition.
    THANKFUL you have a house!
    Love and prayers,

  • Caitlin Barber

    So proud of you, girl. Stay strong and remember that God is on your side. It’s a simple truth, but one we tend to forget in the craziness of everyday life. You are such a beautiful woman and inspiration to countless girls both here and elsewhere. Seriously, Laura – we love you :) God has amazing plans that will make it SO worth every difficult step it took to get there. Love you all so much!

  • JoAnna

    Rejoicing with you at finding your new home! Take heart, God isolates us to draw us closer to Him. While I have a sense just how hard it must be to feel all alone in a sea of foreigners, He is with you and He will see you through this. One day, you’ll look back and realize you’ve crossed to the other side of this transition and you’ll be so thankful He took the time to refine you – even feel blessed that He took so much care with you at all. Still praying for all of your family, friend. I miss you and am so glad to have your blog where you can share your heart with all of your family in Christ. You’re so right, nothing worth having costs nothing. Love you!

  • Chad

    Bless you and the kids! My heart went out for you as I read this story and confirms my theory that you and Matt are far more daring, brave, and patient than I am. i hope to develop some of those attributes. So glad you guys found a place, I know that will relieve at least a small portion of the stress.

  • Jan and Zane

    REJOICE if you can accomplish ONE thing in a day…one. Finding sunscreen IS a HUGE success. It took us a week in India to find mothballs… they call them snowballs! Took over a month to find a fly swatter; that was called a mosquito smasher.
    You are doing quite well and YES, it does get easier, but you are right… it will take some time.
    We are proud of you guys, Jesus us proud of you guys and trust me, all the other ‘happy’ foreigners you run in to went through the same things!
    Boy, I miss magnum ice cream bars.

    My ben Rye ( It is ok )( not a problem )

    Praying for you.

  • Jan and Zane

    Jan suggests: get or borrow another cell phone!!!

    That would be a good “one thing” for a day soon.

  • Elinor

    Hey Laura,
    I miss you and I’m praying for you. It sounds like things are way beyond “cat on the curtain.” I’m glad you guys found a house and I’m looking forward to seeing pictures. Your Wednesday girls miss you. Wednesdays just aren’t the same without you.

  • Kim Starnes

    Precious Laura,this Great Love is so costly at times. Press on. You know that He will redeem it for your greatest good! I am praying for rest for all of you and for daily living to fall in to place as quickly as possible! There is so much love coming your way through prayer. I look forward to your writing as we watch the Father cause you to fall in love with these precious ones He has brought you to and as your own children walk through the greatest adventure of their lifetime. Your very wise mother used to quote a line from a play that says something like…the hardest thing about life is the dailyness of it… and the good thing that we know is that HIS mercies are new each morning to take care of today’s dailyness.
    You are Loved!

  • nursing schools

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  • Roy Fitzwater

    You are not a crappy missionary. You are the beloved of our Savior. How wonderful that He has the opportunity to shine through you.

    Almost all of the missionaries I know in Honduras have a maid/housekeeper, so don’t be ashamed of that. Think of it as providing employment for the poor, an opportunity to witness into their lives, and a way to multiply your ability to get things done as you advance the Gospel.

    It isn’t only about deprivation. Your sacrifice in leaving family and friends is NOT made up by a big screen TV or a pool in the backyard.

    You all are deeply loved!


  • monica

    laura – i know just how you feel. just over 2 years ago this was us. and i had no idea how we’d make it to the next day. but God is good and we are thriving. you might not even notice it, but one day you’ll realize you had more successes than struggles and there will be no stopping you!

    God bless,


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  • Sharon

    That is a verse I held to so often. Just like you. with the same feeling and intensity. i understand. Except when My husband was out looking for that rented house there was no pool and we were in a hotel room with NO windows, we fondly call it the “cave” now and it did not help to not have a window while trying to get over jetlag.

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