The answer is easy. It has nothing to do with illness, bugs, heat, or lack of meat, lettuce, and strawberries. It is not the daily interaction with heart-breaking poverty, devastating as that is. No, we are empowered by the One who sends us, so though our hearts feel mutilated at times, we know it comes with the territory of our calling.
So what IS the hardest?? It has everything to do with wanting to stay connected to the family and friends we deeply love and yet must leave. It has everything to do with knowing we are going where we should be and knowing that some are hurt by that. It is horrible to make a choice that hurts people you love… It’s uncomfortable and painful beyond words. It’s one thing for me to count the cost, but since the cost doesn’t occur in a vacuum, others I love end up having to pay a cost too. Yet, how many times do we grieve our sweet Savior’s heart because we refuse to COUNT THE COST? How many times do we CHOOSE COMFORT instead of the CROSS? Reading in Luke, it’s clear Jesus expected EVERYTHING of his disciples. A friend of mine liked to say that for a Christian, “It’s free to get in, but it will cost you everything after that!” And my missionary friends wrote, “Do we believe that He requires the same today? We sure don’t act like it.”

Today as I cried with my aging parents and thought of how my precious adopted niece keeps reminding me that I will be missing her sweet 16 birthday party next month, I swallowed deep, and grabbed the hand of my Savior. Some call me courageous, but if that’s true, make no mistake, I’m a “crying courageous.”

david and melinda nelsonYet let me be clear even through my tears, David and I step into the unknown future with confidence and joy while drying our eyes- because Jesus is forever worth whatever the cost. Charles Dickens says it well in Great Expectations “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before.” May we all choose the “better” path forward, even when it’s no walk in the park as we can be assured, there are plenty of eons ahead for hanging out in heavenly parklands.”