30 October 2012

A 31 Day Grand Prix {day 30} ~ Ever thankful that airport wish came true!

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." I Peter 3.3-6
Charles De Gualle Airport.


(For what it's worth, I still can't stand that airport!)

It was the very first time I'd ever flown through the place, though, and I was nearly dead tired with four wiped-out exhausted but somehow still super hyper and death-spiraling kids. French French seemed harder to hear than Quebec French. I'd also concluded that we'd brought WAY. TOO. MUCH in our carry-ons yet we still had to board one more plane, endure one more long flight and then who knows what might meet us in the Niamey airport...

We hadn't even gotten there and I was already ready to go home.

And then this gal gifted me with a sympathetic smile, one that whispered, "It was a bit different for me, but I've been there, done that. You'll be okay. God's will see to it." That encouraging smile marked another missionary, returning with her family after their first year-long home assignment. Her boys were playing or reading or something nearby and she was surrounded by some single lady missionaries. We chatted for a moment, and I discovered we were all heading for Niamey. She'd probably already determined that - there were very few other options for passengers waiting in that particular lounge. I was ecstatic on the inside. It wouldn't all be strangers when we landed. For this introvert who struggles with the necessary pleasantries of initial conversation, the fact that I'd already hurdled a first hello relieved just a tiny bit some of the fear. Loudspeaker voices soon interrupted the conversation, however, as Air France employees called for boarding...

That first meeting stuck with me, and I remember hoping and praying that the Lord would some day, somehow, grow a deep friendship.

Our paths crossed fairly frequently our first year on the backside of the Sahara. We were a part of the same home schooling co-op, my boy loved playing with her boys, much of the expat community hung out together at the pool on Saturdays and then there was always the English worship and fellowship time on Sunday nights. I remember calling once when the car wouldn't start... she took pity on me several times and came by to give the kids and I a lift so we wouldn't have to flag down a taxi. Then there was the time I got stuck in the sand outside her house... and had to borrow some change to pay the guys who pushed me out. My girls loved her - even timid, painfully shy Anna would sit on her lap for a few minutes by the end of that first year. Rebekah had her first little-girl crush... on her husband!

Just as it is for most missos, that first year in our place of ministry stunk for a boatload of reasons. We decided that instead of a four year first term, we were going to do a two year term with a 6 month furlough. Right after we made the decision to go home, I found out we were expecting baby #5... Victoria! It was in the weeks before we left that I had a brief, but momentous conversation with this dear lady. Those words are one of two reasons I came back to Niger after that almost unbearably-difficult-first-year. She told me that she'd watched and seen... that I was going to not only be OK, but that I'd make it... that she could see clear evidence of God working in me.

God hadn't answered my airport prayer for a close friend... yet... but in that critical moment, He did use her to perfectly speak courage into a heart that was desperately flailing and failing.

Then there was furlough... and a baby... and Tim left for Niger... and then I followed with my mom and the kids... and all of the sudden, we were back in Niamey. It was better. Sometime during that next two year term that God began to answer my airport prayer, and I've thoroughly enjoyed, been enriched and very often challenged by her friendship ever since.

There are so many things I appreciate about her. She doesn't let me gripe and complain about my husband... she'll listen and then say something that softly points out where my thinking was wrong all along or remind that I need to be gracious. Times when I'm feeling overwhelmed-discouraged-totally out of my league, her typical first response is to pray and trust - so unlike my internal kicking and fighting and fearfulness.  She doesn't just suggest that I do, but often prays with me, right then and there. She even pulled the truck right over to the side of the road to pray one time when she knew that was what I needed  most. On top of all that, she's the auntie who loves on my kids without reserve... the first person ever, outside of family, with whom I felt totally and completely at ease leaving my children.

One of the things I so appreciate about her is how she challenges me and will confront me when she sees error or an area of concern in my life , but does so with a gentle persistence that gets me started thinking without becoming defensive. I keep trying to imitate this behavior so well modeled for me.  I've still got a very long way to go.

There's so more I could say, but if I tried, I'd probably start crying...

Suffice it to say - 
thankful  is an understatement...

and seems a trite word to use... 

when I think of this lady and the other women 
God has used  
to turn the words of 1 Peter 3
into real people with 
smiling faces and arms ready to share a big hug ~ 

... and, who sometimes show up to share a pot of coffee 
carrying a plate of no-bake cookies for the kids!


  1. A true friend, what a most precious treasure! So glad you popped by my blog and left your sweet comment on my gratitude post.
    My middle daughter and her family have been short term missionaries to Ghana. She would love to be there long term, but for now, God seems to send them back and forth for a few months at a time. I visited there for the first time last spring and see both why she loves it, and the difficulties.
    God bless you and your family as you minister.

    1. thanks, elizabeth, for a return visit.

      i'd hoped to go to ghana for the first time a few weeks ago, but the mission plane in which i was scheduled to fly was having technical issues - and nothing commercial was available in the time frame needed. i'd been looking forward to seeing it b/c to folks from our part of w. africa, ghana is a bit like "paradise." other folks who've gone talk about a very different side. i was hoping to reconcile those to pics in my mind - as well as eat some affordable ice cream that i didn't have to make. oh well! how neat that you had the opportunity to go!


Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails