"I just feel like I'm locked in the house with kids most of the time. I crave adult conversation!" I said in response to my husband's inquiry about why I enjoy staying late after the church service has ended to chat with people. During the summer months, especially, he prefers to get outside as soon as possible. Here in the great white north we get such a short summer season that he wants to soak up every available drop of sunshine.
The other day, I thought of some books that I've had for several years and read before, but now I want to read them to my younger children. They are a short series of excellent, character quality books; well researched and based on the lives of missionaries and evangelists who accomplished great things for/with God. I picked up the first volume of Hero Tales and began to read.
One of my little daycare girls latched on to Amy Carmichael when I told her how, as a child, Amy had wished and prayed that God would give her blue eyes instead of brown but it had never happened. Later, she was able to disguise herself as an Indian woman and rescue temple children.
I read a story of how Amy and her group of women had a ministry traveling the countryside, sharing the gospel, but one day when she returned from traveling, a temple child came to her, seeking safety. Soon other temple children came. She wondered how she could continue her ministry - then it became clear to her that she must stay and make a home for these children. That they would be her ministry. I felt the tears well up in my eyes as I read these words:
An ancient Indian proverb says, "Children tie the feet of the mother" - meaning a mother is not free to come and go as she pleases. Her duty is first of all to her children. Amy let her feet be "tied" because she had compassion on the temple children...She let her compassion for them change her life." Dave and Neta Jackson
I thought of the one little girl, especially, and how her heart is so tender toward God right now. She comes from a very mildly religious home and soaks up every little bit of Him that she can. She is always asking me questions, choosing religiously themed books from the children's book shelf and reminding me to read the Bible to my own children if I get overwhelmed in my day and forget (she likes to sit in on this).
Most of the children who come here are from single parent homes, some broken, some never having been an intact home at all - just shifting from one "family" to another. I have been entrusted with the sacred duty to be a mother for them in their own mother's absence. My home, in some cases, has been the only stable home they have known or experienced. And my faith might be the only faith that they have seen lived out in their short lives. Already, my compassion for these children has affected my life and tied my feet.
As my youngest child heads off to school this fall, I have considered a career change. A chance to be around grown ups again. But after further consideration, it is still clear that this is where I need to stay.
And have my feet tied for a little longer...
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”