Monday, April 29, 2013

Get Unpacked

Unpacking ... what image comes to mind? what words do you think of? 

suitcase in the middle of the floor ... dirty clothes, souvenirs, and toiletries spilling out 


a brown, cardboard box wrapped in clear packing tape 

We just recently unpacked a few of our boxes and found some broken items. There were tears. I sat on the floor and let the emotions come and then I let it go.

Recently, my daughter, Ashleigh, went to Romania on a missions trip. We packed her suitcase, gave her kisses and hugs, prayed with her then said goodbye. Her team built a house for a family, visited an orphanage and ministered to the Romanian family. A week later she came home tired and grumpy. Hmmm ... Her Dad and I had so many questions about her trip, but she didn't really want to discuss it. I helped her unpack her suitcase and found stinky, dirty clothing along with a few souvenirs. One day passes ... still grumpy. Two days  pass ... yes, still grumpy. We really thought that she was just tired, but I sensed something wasn't right. The evening of her second night home I knew I had to have a talk with her. I prayed that God would give me wisdom as I walked up the steps to her bedroom. I sat on the bed and asked,  "What's bothering you?" to which she replied, "Nothing." Then I said, "Tell me about Romania." 

She replied with a flood of tears. 

She cried for a few minutes then began to describe her week. "They are so poor, but still so happy," she says through her tears. 

She can remember the faces of the orphans. She can remember the tears running down the face of the lady as they handed her the keys to her new house. 

She feels guilty for having so much and still wanting more. 

I sat on her bed and cried with her. I encouraged her to pray for the family, never forget the orphans she met and to continue "unpacking" her emotions. 

Unpacking our emotions is often painful, but necessary.

We hug and she smiles at me. I know there is still more for her to unpack, but sometimes it takes time. This past Sunday at church each mission group shared their experiences through video and personal testimony. Ashleigh volunteered to personally share her experience. As she was preparing, she was unpacking a little more. She shared from her heart and at the end she said, "God makes the impossible possible."

Unpacking our emotions allows God to do a deep work in us ... 

She's ready to go back to Romania. She's also talking about wanting to go to Africa and 
India. Does she know she will see hurting people? Absolutely. Does she know she will see poverty? Yes. She also knows the love of a Savior who wants to make the impossible situations possible. 

How have you helped your children "unpack?"  Do you allow yourself time to "unpack?"

1 comment:

  1. What a thoughtful post, Cherie, and what an incredible (and hard) experience your daughter had.

    One way I help my children to "unpack" is to talk to them a few minutes each day before bed. Ask them what the highlight of their day was, how they are doing. My teenage daughter is very moody, and I sometimes have a hard time summoning the emotional energy to talk with her, but I try to keep it brief, but regular, and also give her lots of hugs!

    I have a few trusted friends with whom I can "unpack," and sometimes I journal as well.