I'll Take the Air Mattress
This morning I took my parents to the airport to fly back to Wisconsin after they spent 10 days here visiting me. In all honesty, I cried all the way from the airport to work. They are such incredible people and I love them more than I can adequately express, so saying goodbye was not easy on my poor heart.
But it was as we were getting ready to leave the house though, that my mom made this comment:
"I bet you'll be happy to have your house and own bed back tonight!"
Admittedly, when you're used to living by yourself and having your own routines and ways of doing things, to have two people come in and turn it all upsidedown can take some...shall we say, adjusting. It requires swallowing your pride and holding your tongue...and apologizing when you don't. It requires being ok with a complete loss of routine, and still greeting people with a cheery, "Good Morning!" when the sound of someone opening drawers and cupboards too loudly in the kitchen becomes your unplanned alarm clock on your day off.
But when my mom innocently spoke those words, all I could think was, "No! I just don't want them to go! I'd rather sleep on the sinking air mattress and tiptoe quietly into my own bathroom to shower before work and butt heads with dad when we have opposite opinions than to not be with them at all. I'd rather be uncomfortable and out of my normal routines than to be apart from these people I love so dearly! If they could stay, definitely, I'd take the air mattress!"
And with that rolling around in my head all day, an incredibly beautiful picture of God's love for us began to take shape in my mind. The truth is, He would rather step out of His heavenly home and come into our dirty, messy, horribly broken world than to not be with us. He'd rather be tortured, mocked, spat on, slandered, and die a shameful, painful death than to be apart from us. That's the overpowering love He pours out on our every breath, on our every moment!!!
And that massive, self-sacrificing love is the very same love that we ourselves have inside us. And it IS the heart's anthem for missionaries. We'd rather leave our family and friends, our homes and jobs, our bank accounts, security, and "stuff" than to watch others live and die without ever truly knowing that kind of love. We'd rather risk it all than to see them be apart from the One who's very NAME is Love.
So as I lay down in my own bed tonight, I can guarantee my heart will be missing these wonderful people God gave me as my parents. But it will also be overflowing with immense gratefulness to my Creator who has graciously chosen to "tak
e the air mattress" so I would experience His exquisite love, and who has called me to missions so all His people might do the same.