Riding down the road last week, Lana and I passed by a lake. She said, "I see that boat!" I told her that it was going to be so much fun to ride the boat this summer, and she said, "I ride that boat with PawPaw." "Yes, you will!" I told her, surprised that she remembered us talking about PawPaw's boat. She sat silently for a minute, and then said, "I invite Nana, too." I laughed at her, and after a moment, she piped up again and said, "I like PawPaw and Nana."
At lunch yesterday, Dan & I were chatting, and Lana was interrupting. We've been trying to work on that, so Dan turned to her and said, "Lana, I'm talking to Mommy right now. We'll talk to you in a just a minute." Seconds later, he finished what he was telling me, and turned to look at her. Her face lit up and she said, "Talk to Lana now!" Then after lunch, on the way home, Dan & I were talking to each other, and she started whining. One of us turned around and asked her why she was whining. "Talk to you, too, please!" she said. "What do you want to talk about?" I asked her. "I talk about the playground!" she said. And then she started jabbering about it..."I like that slide...Mommy swing me...don't frow that sand..."
Dustin, April, and Hollis are driving home to Alabama. We saw them this morning before church for a few minutes before they left, and we told her that they were going to Alabama. After church, we were driving home, and she said, "I need to get out of this car." "Why do you want to get out?" we asked her. "I want to walk!" she responded. Dan asked her, "Where do you want to walk?" "I walk to Alabama!" she said. "I need to go to Alabama."
In four days, your daddy and I are going to get on an airplane to go to France on a mission trip. You are staying here with Rob and Emily. I know you will be safe and loved and well taken care of. God has given me much peace in leaving you with them. However, I want you to know that I'll miss you with every moment that passes by. I have cried myself to sleep the past few nights thinking of being so far away from you. It's been a sweet reminder of how precious you are to me, how much fuller our life is with you in it. God granted us much favor to bless us with you in our family.
I want you to know, too, that in leaving you, we are trying to teach you something. Life is bigger than just being happy and comfortable. It's more than just living day to day. Lana, there are many, many people who have not heard about Jesus, and if they die without him, they are going to hell. Your daddy and I want our lives to be about sharing Jesus with others, here in the United States and all over the world.
God told us we were supposed to take this trip when we read Romans 15:20-21: "Thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, 'Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand'."
We want you to live your life following God's perfect, exact will for you, no matter what it means or where it takes you. And how can we expect you to do that if we don't set the example for you?
Sweet girl, I just recently read a quote by John Keith Falconer that says, "I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light."
Who knows what that really means for us? The United States seems to be a very dark place just now....and there are countries all across the globe that are much, much darker. As your parents, we covenant with you that our family will go to whatever dark place the Lord asks us to...France, Africa, Alabama, California...wherever He leads, we will follow. I pray every day that our life is example enough that you will want to do the same with your life.
I love you so dearly, and will miss you beyond words. You are going to have a wonderful time with two of your favorite people in the world. I'm so proud that you have already learned at a young age that Mommy & Daddy might go away for a while, but we always come back to get you.
Jesus made that same promise to the disciples...He said He was going to heaven to prepare a place for those who believe in Him, but that He would be back to get us. We are going to France to tell people about that promise, and our prayer daily is that you will come to know Jesus one day and spend eternity in the place He is preparing for us.