Tickets have been purchased, plans are being finalized. In a few days, Christopher will head back to Asia to do the thing for which he was created.
I’ve seen this man in several career streams throughout our marriage. But his calling as a missionary is the only one I can point to as being the one that fits like home. It’s also the one that, more often than not, takes him the farthest from me.
Early on in our relationship, before vows were said and rings were exchanged, the joke in our inner circle was that I was Yoko to Christopher’s John, or maybe Linda to his Paul. We were pretty much inseparable, in that insatiable, passionate way that young love often is. Even now, 21 years after he gave me his name, we’re that couple that kisses in public, that holds hands in church, that will rearrange chairs to be by one another wherever we are. It’s an odd situation that finds us across the table from one another— and one that we usually groan about later on. Here’s the truth: two decades plus, and I still want this man by my side, no matter what.
Teaching church planters means meeting them where they are. It means sitting on white boulders near rushing rivers in Nepal, or riding brown, sleepy rivers in Cambodia. It means donning a mask to ward off the smoke from the burning fields in Thailand, or hiding under a tarp in a truck bed in Myanmar.
It means leaving home.
And I’m o.k. with it. I am. Funny enough, I can open my hands and send him flying off to the other side of the world easier than I can pack his bag for a long weekend the next state over. That’s the peace of Christ in my heart, I know. But it’s also my acceptance of something deep and heartbreakingly tangible:
This thing he does? He not only does it well— better than most, if I may be so bold as to say. But he also does it with an authority, a power, dare I say an anointing, that leaves me almost breathless with its grace.
I am humbled to walk alongside this man in life and in ministry. Honored to be the one who washes his clothes after he’s spent three weeks moving from hotel to hut to hostel, grateful to be the one who handles the business here at home while he shares the Gospel in places where the need is great.
I always look to his homecoming, count the days until he is back here, with us, with his hand in mine as we’re laughing at the dinner table over the antics of the 2 year-old. But that thing he does, that voice that beckons him away so many times each year? I welcome it, even though it means he’s not at my side.