Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beach Day with a Sprinkle of Ministry Thoughts


The grand finale of Spring Break Week of Awesomeness?  
A day at the beach!


We stole two of the Livesay kids for the day.  Everything is more fun with friends.  Our original plan was to steal the entire Livesay family, but Noah was home sick. There should be a rule.  No one should ever have to be sick on Spring Break.  No way.


A hole.  Remember when digging one could keep you fascinated and busy for an entire day?  I sat and watched the kids for hours.  It was like enjoying an artsy film about childhood.  For one day their entire world was that hole.

  

This used to be a pristine beach.  Our children destroyed it.  Their epic hole grew and grew...so much so that innocent people sitting nearby were forced to relocate their chairs.  On any normal day I'd probably suggest to the kids that tearing up the entire beach is maybe not so great of an idea.  I would normally call them over and remind them about how people have personal space...a bubble that needs to be respected.  Hayden gets this talk about every other day.  "Hayden.  Seriously.  You practically had your head up that man's shirt.  Don't get so close to people!"  Personal space.  It's an ongoing parenting issue that we seem to be failing at severely.  Even though the kids were throwing dirt on sunbathers, I didn't have the heart to kill their fun.  This was Spring Break Week of Awesomeness.  It was their week.  Their time.


They worked well together.  Shared the labor.  Divided up jobs.  Encouraged one another.  At one point I thought, "Well, if the adults who work for Heartline ever can't get it together, we could always just sit back and let the kids run the show.  They seem to know how to get the job done." 

When they weren't digging the hole they'd take short breaks and do things like snorkel...


and swim...


drink coconut milk...



catch lots of strange sea creatures...






sleep...



and just sit around looking mighty handsome...



Last week was wonderful.  Our lives are incredibly full and busy here.  There is always work to be done.
I have a feeling there will always be work to be done.  I've talked a lot this year about the temptation when surrounded by so much need to neglect our marriage and our children.  It seems like a daily struggle.


God has been faithful to remind us that He did not call us to Haiti to serve Him in such a way that would ever compromise our relationship with each other or with our sons.  We walk this road asking God to keep us from making our family an idol that prevents us from doing ministry, while also constantly reminding us of our responsibility to our children and to one another.  No matter how much need surrounds us, God has written in black and white letters biblical truths for husbands, wives, and parents.  He's preserved his heart for families for thousands of years.  What may seem like ordinary things...a home, a marriage, energetic children...these are holy to God.  Holy.  They are tiny pictures of the gospel. 


This family is a gift.  These children our nearest disciples.  Our closest neighbors.  May all that we do in this country flow out of a place of love, health, and thankfulness for the great privilege it is to love, grow, and serve together.  My greatest fear is that we would ever come to this place in the name of missions and fail at the mission God has placed right under our roof.  God help us and give us grace to do this job well.

Reminds me of Jesus.  The stories I read in the gospels.  There were many times when he ministered to the masses.  He was busy doing God's work on earth. He spoke to large crowds.  He healed the sick. There were grand, public displays of power and might.  But there were many times when the only people who witnessed a miracle were his closest disciples.  His first miracle of changing the water into wine was only seen by his mother, a few waiters, and the people closest to Him.  He must have known they needed those intimate times of ministry.  He was God and so He balanced his public ministry and his private ministry perfectly.  We're human.  We're lame.  So we struggle and have to continually ask God for wisdom and grace.
 

It's hard to see this picture and have proof of how close my oldest baby's head is to the top of mine.

These days are numbered.
 
Like that annoying kid who counts too fast while playing 
hide-and-go-seek, the moments...they move too quickly.

Leaves me feeling kind of panicked.  Unable to find a good hiding spot in time.  There is so much left to teach them.  So many of those lessons about God and others we want them to learn here in Haiti.  We want them to learn truths about Jesus and His character by watching their parents faithfully and selflessly serve.  But I know they also have to learn those big, God-sized lessons by being loved and served by their parents as well.

Mommas reading this post with a baby in your arms, mark my words.  You'll blink.  Then they will be as big as you.  This week we made memories.  We intensely invested in our first, close to home, surest, nearest disciples.  Such a gift. We returned this week to our real life as stronger people.

Long-live Spring Break Week of Awesomeness.

15 comments:

mandi said...

I'm so glad you guys had a refreshing week of togetherness. And of experiencing God's majesty in His creation. Wow! So many beautiful experiences outside!
Long live spring break of awesomeness!!!

BCC said...

Hi Heather--lovely photos and thoughts.

Could you post some verses that remind you that God loves families and wants them to be a priority. It seems that some places in the Bible make it sound like we should forget about our family and focus on ministry first. My husband thinks family and ministry should be equal as priorities. At church I often hear Christians say that God is first and family is second. That seems right to me as a mom, but I have a hard time backing it up with scripture. Please help!

-Paula Hong

Bob & Judy said...

We look at you parent-types and shout, "Amen." You were, a blink ago, the babes in our arms, the tan little bodies we watched swimming and adventuring, the teens in our kitchen. And now look atcha!!

Enjoy them. Teach them. Do better than we did. You already do.

rooney said...

i read, but not often comment...at least outloud.
today, i can't NOT comment. this past week, if i could have, i would have pulled my 20 year old son onto my lap and rocked him. by his own commitment to the Lord, he has abstained, not only from sex, but from serious dating throughout his high school years. he has now allowed himself to date and has fallen for a sweet Christian girl. alas, she has broken his heart. but God is there in the midst of the pain for him and has brought to his mind the seriousness of being a spiritual leader, not just for him self, but for his future family. THAT part has been a joy to see...but watching him grieve what he thought was going to be? painful for this mama. your post today brought home again how fleeting the time is with our children. bless you and your DH and your young ones for wanting to be the family God has called you to be.

Hendrick Family said...

"Rooney"...

I'm so sorry. I want to hug him too. The mother of "all boys" in me wants to shake that girl. Hopefully you are dealing with it more maturely!

Siesta OC said...

Love this!
Love LOVE that Hudson is great!
Love your words of Wisdom.
Love that their wet ocean hair looks like a sea creature they caught.
Thank you for sharing.

Susan, wife of 1, mother of 4 said...

What a GREAT post, Heather! Over and over I find myself begging God, "what can I do for you, Lord"? I am easily swayed by the latest thing I have read, seen or heard, and yet, I can't do everything, nor am I equipped for everything, nor does the Lord need my to do ANYTHING.

Everytime I go through this phase, I keep hearing from Him, "raise the 4 little ones I have given you". "Take care of your family". It IS a big deal to Me.

Thank you for the great reminder. You wrote so eloquently how we show Christ to others by the body that we are in. Thank you.

God, husband, children, in that order. Thank you for the great reminder.

stephanie garcia said...

Such a great post, Heather. It's such a balancing act between family and ministry and marriage sometimes. It sounds like this was a wonderful week to pour back into the ones closest to you!

Courtney Kilby said...

I love reading and learning about your family and ministry through the blog. As a person who is preparing for the mission field in Haiti, I find your blog extremely helpful! I do however have a quick question...which beach is this? It doesn't look like Kaliko, Wahoo, Moulin sur Mer, or Ocean View, but it looks amazing! I am always looking for great places to hide away for the day when I am there.

The Gilmores said...

Thank you so much for this post and reminder to invest in our closest disciples first. Our family is moving to Haiti later this year to work with www.ChristianFriendshipMinistries.org in the northern mountains. We believe in ministering together! We love how you share your journey...

Chrissy said...

I got a kick out of the picture of your second-youngest. He, or rather his hair, bore a strikin' resemblance to the sea urchin in his hand. :)

C

Marla Taviano said...

I think I'm gonna cry. This did my heart good. Thank you.

Aaron Hendrick said...

Courtney,

We were at Moulin Sur Mer. I don't know when you were there last, but they have added on to the property and they have plans for even more expansion.

We really like that beach.

Aaron

Ann said...

Burst into tears at the end of this post Heather. I guess that is what 5 months pregnant with your first child does to you. Beautiful Beautiful family and photos. Glad Little Man is feeling better. My husband has seizures, so I know your panic and the helpless feeling that pours over you, but you are strong, I know you can handle it! Oh and loved the Waterfall pics too...A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

mamamargie said...

"My greatest fear is that we would ever come to this place in the name of missions and fail at the mission God has placed right under our roof." Sooo true!

I love your sense of balance in everything. It's refreshing!