When I was preparing to leave last Fall, the thing that was heaviest on my heart was knowing that I had to leave my family.
When I moved away from home at the young age of 18 [:P] I suddenly became closer and grew to appreciate my family. A year later I returned home and got to spend 5 wonderful months with the Phams.
I grew to know my father in a whole new way. The job I had required me to wake up before dawn, and we would often meet in the kitchen, tiptoeing and preparing for our day while trying not to wake the rest. We bonded over cooking Vietnamese food and working on my car (which always had a problem)
My mother was (and is) my biggest supporter. She always encourages me to find the best that God had. I remember her always telling me, "I want all
the doors to be open to you." (this was usually when I refused to study a certain subject in high school, but I know she meant well.) She is still pushing me forward to explore as many opportunities as I can. I know that she is always on my side.
My siblings and I were able to grow close as well. We have always loved each other, but sometimes it takes that distance and a few years of maturity to have true appreciation. Now I value them more than words can describe. If I had 30 bot for every time I whipped out their photos to show off to my friends here I would be a rich woman. I'm so proud of who they are becoming.
To be a disciple means great sacrifice.
There is a man I know, who stood up to do what was right. He sacrificed everything:his job, his safety, his relationships, he even was willing to put his life on the line. All for justice, all for freedom. He sometimes talks to me about his family. He talks about the love he has for his mother, the respect he has for his father, and the tender care he has for his younger sisters. It has been years since he's seen them. He doesn't have much hope that he will see them again.
I feel... I feel petty... I feel petty when my heart aches over my family. I have no excuse. After all, can't I talk to them on skype? Don't I keep in contact with them through facebook and email? Don't I have a date set for when I will return home? He cannot hear their voices and he can never return home.
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple."
I'm not saying that I'm going to leave my family and wonder off into the wilderness, but I think the key is that I must be willing to give up everything to follow the Lord. If you cannot separate yourself from it, then it is something that comes between Jesus and you.
Just some of thoughts.
I've been in Thailand for almost ten months.