Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sentiment v. Obsession

14. 6. 4. 3. 9. 4.

I play this game with friends of mine sometimes. Well, it isn’t a game. It is my toying with their memories and forcing them to make random connections with numbers and events. Today, these are the numbers of significance to me. I am packing my house to move. We will be changing states. We will sell our home and relocate to a rental as we embark upon a new journey. We will take with us necessity and probably then some. However, that is the problem. How much “then some”? We are a family of volume. No, I am not talking about people. There are currently 4 of us with 2 legs and 3 of us with 4 legs – this 4-legged number will most likely decrease upon moving day as well. Some of the members of the 2-legged collection are not a fan of the fluffy feline…so he might find a new place to purr.

Fourteen times I have packed my belongings and moved them. Fourteen times I have surmised the surroundings and determined what qualified as important enough to join me on the next leg of my journey. Fourteen times I have moved my closet. Fourteen times I have moved my cosmetics and favorite blankets. Fourteen times I have moved my pillow and books. Fourteen times I have redecorated and prioritized. Fourteen times, I have purged – Yes, believe it or not, each time, I do purge. But even though it sounds like we move as often as a military family, I still keep accumulating insurmountable piles of, well, crap.

I don’t think I am a hoarder, but I will definitely tell you that it is in my bloodline. Here is the thought process that goes through my twisted little mind. “Will I use this, need this, want this in the next home? How frequently have I used it in the past 2 years? If I have not used it, why? Will anyone else in the family benefit from it? Can I use it for an art and craft in the classroom or for my two children? Can I give it to anyone? Who? When? How?” I answer yes more often than I should. That is my problem.

Often, I have found myself keeping things with a great hope of adding it to a scrapbook. I have been married almost 14 years and my oldest is 9 years old. I desperately want to sit down and put together a draft of the life we have lived together thus far, but in 14 years, it has not happened. So, yep, I have tons of movie stubs, brochures from theme parks, arts and crafts, and more. My other problem with random piles of junk is my husband’s job status renders us paralyzed with fear from the tax world as he is self-employed so to speak. So I KEEP EVERYTHING that has to do with finances. I am petrified of not having proper documentation of the needed goods or proof.

And then there are sentimental items beyond Disney World fast passes and birthday cards. There are little kitchen gadgets bought by my mother for me before she passed. There are books given to me by students during student teaching. There are dresses I wore to a formal in college. There are knick knacks given to me by neighbor in years gone by. There are items constructed by a grandfather who has already reached glory. So the boxes stack and the boxes stack.

Purging is so necessary for forward progression. But what is kept? Sentimental items are always excusable, but you can make anything sentimental. I mean, what about that napkin you used last night while at dinner with your family. It was the napkin you used the last time your family ate at Zaxby’s on the last Wednesday in May at the end of their 3rd grade year. Ignore the honey mustard stains though because that only adds to the memories. I only tease as I have been there and am desperately trying to place myself on a therapeutic regiment of recovery.

As a family, we are relocating to house number 6, and I promise you it will not be our last. Did I mention that I have changed teaching classrooms 8 times in all of our moves? Just a few weeks ago, I filled 4 large garbage cans full of stuff and donated another 4 garbage cans worth of material to the rest of the faculty as I cleaned out my classroom for this new adventure. I still have a ton of boxes that I brought home with me. It is amazing how much you can accumulate in such a short amount of time.

We have nine days until we depart. In nine days, I am determined to prioritize what needs to be released for the betterment of other people. By donating my stuff to various charitable venues, I am allowing others to benefit from these items. That is one of the last questions I have recently added to my purging questionnaire. “By keeping this item in my possession and continuing to leave it unused, who am I failing to bless – or rather, allow God to bless – by allowing dust to settle upon it once more?”

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in Him? 1 John 3:17

That is probably the most convicting one I force upon myself. You see, there is tons of scripture about storing up treasure here on earth, but it isn’t just about that. In our storing, what are we seeking to accomplish? If we are saving money to pay for college, than that is noble and worthy. If we are saving clothes to pass along to the next child as we wait for them to reach the size, than I see nothing wrong with that either. If you are saving a broken mixer or a dull knife simply because of the giver, why? If you are saving 4 pairs of the same black heels because each was bought for a different wedding you were chosen to participate, why?

Three piles are the suggested method for cleaning – keep, give, trash. I have 3 organizations that I have piles for, so my give stack alone is divided 3 ways. I have to do this for 4 different people as well.

Purging is also cleansing. It feels like weight being lifted off of you when you have less to be responsible for in your journey. It is the difference between running free and running with a yoke over your shoulders. It is not merely the weight of the material in literal form, but the emotional and mental weight of the magnitude given to the value of these items that are causing the sluggish movement. I am not saying to throw everything away and become a transient who lives out of a backpack. However, make sure the great effort you are placing on things here to preserve is not consuming your life in a way that prevents you from giving effort to the preservation of eternal life for yourself and for those with whom you are given responsibility and influence.

This message is a “sermon” for me. I am about to embark upon even greater purging and I pray you partner with me in the need to spread our blessings to others. May today be as freeing for you as it will be for me. Grab a garbage bag and go!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We are all teachers...

So everybody had a favorite teacher in school. You cannot tell me that you spent 12 years in the school system (or longer) and never encountered a teacher that made a difference in your life. Even if it was just one, there is one when I made this very statement sprang to mind. They challenged you. They pushed you. They accepted you. They loved you. They made you feel like you mattered.

I have had SEVERAL teachers make a critical impact on my life. Even if you have amazing parents, you were impacted by teachers in some form or fashion. And teachers, make sure you realize that. Even the good kids are watching and learning more from you than just your knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem and comma splices. Children, be it 3 or 13 or even 18, are watching a learning. If we are to be honest with ourselves, if we are living a life that is thriving and productive, we are ALL learning until we take our last breath.

But even during college, when I left the career track of licensed counselor to return to the classroom teacher assignment, I was unaware of all that God was doing. I did know that I had some obstacles to overcome in order to be good at what I was assigned to do. That is part of my make-up though. I am not satisfied with just getting by, so I wanted to be well qualified for the job. The other catch was my subject matter was somewhat of a hindrance for the hiring process. I love learning, but I am stronger in one subject field than I am in the others. I LOVE HISTORY. Therefore, it was a no brainer when I chose to pursue secondary education social science for my bachelor’s degree.

How many of you just got it? Did you just connect the dots? I, Jodi Powell, a female, in the state of Alabama, was choosing to teach social studies. Hmmmmm, let me be more stereotypically clear. I was a girl trying to get a job in a “man’s world.” Did you go to school in a small Southern area? I reserve this cliché for just this region as I have not seen it as strong in other regions of the United States. This subject matter in the South was reserved for teachers who could – cough, cough – coach. Not just coach though; coach a boy’s sport. Yep, I was a lady trying to get a job on the frontlines.

So I had to prove myself. I not only had to know my material, I had to make it relevant to my students so that it was not just another class of repetitious memorization. I pray that each of you reading this had a teacher that made the information applicable. Whether you are a mechanic or a brain surgeon, social studies is vital. It carries you into your career as history provides you with awareness of what methods for your work are effective and ineffective. It carries you into your social interaction with colleagues and clients. It carries you into your pocketbook with economic principle and survival.

I can’t help it though. My love for history is beyond nerdy.

I want to know why Adolph Hitler hated the Jews, not simply that he did. I want to know why the United States was sucked into World War I when they professed a desire to remain uninvolved. I want to know why China remained a closed country for so long and has now exploded with power so quickly and how that affects the future of my country, because it does. I want to know how early pioneers combated water shortage or why certain tribes in Africa live so far away from water. I want to know why the exact same crowd that worshiped and celebrated Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem turned on him in less than a week. All of this and more is essential for helping us to understand the state of our world today. The same factors that were present for the cause of many of these situations are the same factors present today. Why? Because the earth is still inhabited by sinful people. Because every part of this earth is still ruled and ruined by humans.
Hitler hated Jews because of his past. Do you know people who judge others or hold a grudge because of their past?

The US was thrown into World War I because they chose to assist and involve themselves in the war secretly long before they were attacked. Do you know people who are masters of deceit and manipulation and live a life portraying their innocence? A lie?

China’s refusal to be an open country for centuries was simply an effort to prevent their empire from being influenced by any outsider that thinks or acts unlike how they desire for their people to think or act. China acted as parents seeking to prevent their children from being thwarted by the world and in so doing created a greater loyalty and stronger power. This strong and ENORMOUS loyalty patiently waited until the bonds of their “family” was tight enough that exposure to the outside world would not alter its unity and therefore allow it to grow into an economic GIANT almost overnight. This strength and unified front is almost too powerful to combat. Do you know people who are strong in their faith and are difficult to sway?

Early pioneers wanted a better life, but with that came hard work including trial and error on discovering water sources – the most critical necessity for survival. Do you know people who are determined and committed?

African tribes operate under territorial dominance and ancestral pride. When their predecessors establish themselves in a region, it is their duty to continue the protection of their tribal name by sustaining the dominance of the region despite the deterioration of the usability of the area. Do you know people who are stuck in a bad situation simply because they are afraid they might hurt someone’s feelings, or because that is the way it has always been done, so they are afraid to try anything new?

The Jews heard of Jesus and his miraculous works and his bold questioning of the authorities and their teaching, so his celebrity status among the rumor mill was rebellious powerhouse. However, when the authorities presented a different rumor about Jesus – one stating he was guilty of self-promotion and blaspheme according to law – they turned on him quicker than toddler bated by candy. Do you know people who are easily swayed by what they hear and the latest and greatest new thing?

It is SOOOOO important that we see that the patterns of our society today are critically aligned with human emotion, knowledge and lack-there-of, ability to survive, and awareness of actions affecting the present and the future. You see, I get paid to explain all of this for a living, but really, you are all explaining it every day to your sphere of influence.

When you choose to eat out every day for lunch, you are either stating that you are willing to budget part of your income for the luxury of subway fixing your sandwich versus yourself because you can financially afford it or because you are too lazy to do your own meal preparation or because you find the fellowship with the people worth the sacrifice in finances or because you have not sat down and realized that $5/day, $25/week, $100/month adds up.

When you choose to harbor ill will towards your parents for their failures in your upbringing, you are creating a cycle as your children with which you have been entrusted are listening, watching, and experiencing your bitterness. They in turn will take that into their families and continue the cycle of abuse, neglect, and bitterness which will then spill over into their social groups as it has with you. This bitterness leads to jealousy in society and jealousy sparks negative feelings and actions that are often acted upon…leading to conflict, leading to harm, leading to destruction of individuals and of entire civilizations.

When you choose to sacrifice and give up personal desires so that someone dear to you can have better provisions or better access or better opportunity, you are modeling for those watching what it is like to be radically committed to the advancement and well-being of someone else. The joy that you silently experience watching your child get that scholarship after the hours you spent reviewing with them for every assessment they had over a 12 year period is not going unnoticed. The jalopy you drove until it had 300k miles on it so that you could afford for your spouse to drive a car that is conducive to their needs is not going unnoticed. The frustration you experience at family gatherings as that one cousin gets on your nerves is rewarded as your children are raised seeing the importance of family.

When you choose to get up and go to work and do your job in such a way that earns recognition and accolades by coworkers and employers, you are modeling for your family, AND also the coworkers and employers the value of hard work and commitment leads to excellence in production and survival of the greater good. You are tired and you are drained, but others are greatly benefited by your endurance.

You are teaching not just your family, but your friends, your coworkers, your fellow citizens, your fellow inhabitants of this earth every day. When you leave this world, what do you want to be remembered about you? Do you want people to remember how bitter and critical and selfish you were? Do you want the world to see you as passive and an enabler of the weak? Do you want your insecurities to beam? Do you want entitlement to be the theme of your generation?

Or do you want to be the person that helps restore and/or sustain your family’s name and heritage? Do you want to be remembered as strong and courageous and selfless? Do you want to be remembered as a leader in your actions and beliefs? Do you want to be remembered as someone who is tolerant and yet unwavering in your conviction? Do you want to be someone who was encouraging and adventurous and respectful? Do you want to be someone who models absence of envy and greed through generosity of money and time? Are you enduring with dignity?

What are you teaching your “class” today? They are ready and waiting to learn. Perhaps today you need to work on your lesson plans. Your time with them is short.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What It Takes to be a Mom

As we concluded the celebration of the mother and move on into the preparation for the close of school, the beginning of summer, and eventually the honoring of the father, I am challenged to reflect upon the attributes that even gave rise to an actual holiday honoring the matriarch. Over the past few decades, we have found a reason to deem every day some sort of holiday or day of recognition for a unique situation or cause or role in society. I mean did you know that today is National Pack Rat Day? And let me scold you as you most likely missed the appropriate solemnness required on May 3rd for Lumpy Rug Day? The visibility of light sabers in my area on May 4 was low and discouraging on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be with You)! May seems to also be a month embracing the straying from dietary discipline with May 5 - National Hoagie Day, May 6 - No Diet Day, May 11 - Eat What you Want Day, and May 15 - National Chocolate Chip Day!

The numerous additional holidays are entertaining and fun. They create silly unity across cultural divides. I mean, really, everybody loves chocolate chip cookies (almost)! That is the desired purpose of many of these holidays – to create awareness that we are not all as different as we may seem. Yet, that was the original design of the primary days of celebration before the 5 designated holidays a day exploded. Anna Jarvis is credited with the elevation of a national awareness day for Mom and it became an actual nationally recognized holiday in 1914 (the year WWI was revving up). However, Jarvis would later seek to remove this holiday because of the over-commercialization of the honor. This same thing has happened with Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. Even birthdays now are insane. As a mom, there is an enormous pressure to compete with every other little kid’s birthday themes and still have money in the bank to buy cereal for the week after. And also as a mother, there is the same pressure to educate my children on the over-commercialization of holidays so they are not disappointed later in life when their birthday might be an extra bowl of ramen and using the free cookie coupon they saved from a college bible study.

And it’s back to mom…did you catch that. There are so many things that are vital to parenting! I completely understand the elevated prescriptions of Prozac, Zoloft, and yes, even Ambien.

Society says…
Make sure you breastfeed because they will need to develop your immunities and yada, yada
Use cloth diapers to protect the environment that will one day be theirs
Stay at home so they have a better preparation for school with your one-on-one time
Put them in a quality childcare facility so that they are prepared for school
Take them on adventures so they are aware of the creation and all there is
Take them to this performance, this party, this camp, this class…
Pay for clothes that will endure the rough and tumble
Make sure to get expensive pictures that will last
Let them explore activities until they find the one that is right for them
In each activity, they can’t just have the bottom of the line apparel, they need the good stuff…otherwise how will they know if this is the right activity for them…
Get them in the right school for academics or athletics or said other extracurricular
Let them be little – so if they don’t like it, let them quit, they are just kids anyway
Respect only those who respect you
Fight for your rights
Accept those who are different

God says…
Teach them chores…responsibility to the greater good and selflessness
Teach them to give, to share, to sacrifice – loving others above themselves and receiving that satisfaction
Model for them strength, dignity, self-respect, and self-discipline so they have an idea of how to carry themselves when you are not there to verbally coach them
Model for them wisdom and discernment so they can make decisions that are beneficial to themselves and to their future when you are not there to coach them
Teach them what true joy and happiness is – and where to draw the line on celebration
Teach them reverence AND respect for all of God’s creation regardless if it appears to be deserving
Honor the Sabbath – there is a day that He asks us to acknowledge reserved for corporate worship. Your magnitude of the extent of that is personal and between you and God, but know that your kids are watching and learning
Honor thy Father and Mother – how you interact with your parents is how they will interact with you if not a little less when they are your age
Take risks – teach them to not be afraid, for He is the Lord our God, what can MAN do to us
Fight for the weak and protect the needy
Do not covet – do they hear you saying that you want what the Jones’ have? They will in turn want what their classmates’ have…
GO – be willing to pick up and leave if he calls you to something greater. The greatest tragedy in today’s society is the lack of obedience to follow after the calling of the Lord. If people would follow, this nation would transform.

We honored moms just recently, and it is questionable as to whether it is too commercialized like every other holiday. If we get down to the root of the role of mom, the tug and pull from all angles of society, than we can’t help but honor her. She must constantly be on the practice of discernment. She must constantly be actively on her guard ready to defend, fight for, and sacrifice for her family and friends. She must be aware of jealousy before it consumes her and takes her to a place dishonoring to God. She must maintain relationships with past and present and future with awareness of the impact that they make on not only her own person, but on her family. She must be bold and embrace the wind with confident strides while maintaining dignity and poise. She must know the father’s voice and listen clearly as it calls to her above the chatter of the world and as He calls, she MUST GO.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Passing Along an Admired Author's Summary of Proverbs 31

I often read the publications from Girlfriends in God and today's post from Mary Southerland was a direct hit for me as a woman in today's busy society. I wanted to share it with you.

Go read.

Friday, May 09, 2014


The third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them: I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.” Zechariah 13:9

We used to sing this praise song in college called Refiner’s Fire. We would sing it with true worship and desire to honor God in our praise. We would speak the words and humbly bow in His presence with awareness of His desire for us to be righteous and pure. We were in college; so our understanding of testing was a difficult professor, a break-up, a challenging class, an absence of sleep from a procrastination session, lack of funds, another bowl of ramen, and maybe a change of major causing an extension to our tenure. Now were there people in college that experienced greater challenges than that? Absolutely. I had classmates lose family members to cancer and tragic car accidents. I had classmates put on probation because of academic and social choices. I had classmates struggle with accepting who God really is and if he really even cared about them and if he was even real…and I went to a Southern Baptist University.

Now fastforward a “few” years, and I realize that my true refinement was only beginning in college. My husband and I met on the campus of Samford University. It’s wonderful! I hope to send my children there, but it will take my death and their inheritance of my life insurance policy to pay for one semester. (BTW, thanks again Mom & Dad for forking out that undeserved assistance). While in college, I probably experienced the typical difficulties –
1. Learning that my high school, though wonderful, was unable to completely prepare me for the challenges of a liberal arts school – I came through that fire alright.
2. Experiencing break ups with the past and realizing I needed to shed my history in order to embrace my future.
3. Being single – when I was at Samford, it was a little like junior high…right down to the Caf where girls sat at one table and boys sat at another table and looked at each other with those bashful eyes. Silliness
4. Losing my patriarchal grandfather, whom I had grown up with next door and had contributed quite a bit to my life. (insert giant grin here as he was simply a hot mess)
5. My first “C”! And being ok with it.
6. Losing an election and coming to terms with the fact that God had something else for me – something better.
7. Having my apartment flood with sewage (yep, that was awesome – WARNING – DO NOT LIVE UNDERNEATH THE CAT LADY)
8. Changing majors and realizing my calling was in need of refocusing
9. Growing in my faith – and finding friends who would actually push me to be more like Christ

Then life really happened. Some say that Jeremy and I live a life that borders on the edge of a good Job story. In fact, when I first started blogging, the name of my blog was “What the Crap?” I found myself saying that A LOT in our past few years of marriage as things have hit us upside the head over and over again. In fact, after we established friends in Texas, we began to discourage their friendship and send them away for fear that our lives would rub off on their lives.

Since being married I (we) have experienced:
1. Challenging conversations with friends that cost us loss of friendships for a temporary time
2. Struggles with funding as we made combined $14,000 our first year of marriage COMBINED
3. Car struggles – like the still confusing collision with a GIANT bale of hay (not my doings), brakes falling out of a car while driving down a busy city road, air conditioner going out, backing into people in a parking lot (twice), hydroplaning in the snow, tickets for missing stickers, etc.
4. Traveling across the country only to learn that the apartment complex of which you are moving to has you moving a week later and won’t have your apartment ready as you sit in their parking lot with a UHAUL. Yes, my inner beast emerged and we got our apartment.
5. 9/11
6. Working jobs other than education…yes, refining fire
7. Having my car broken into and all they stole was my battery!
8. Having my purse stolen and therefore, my identity stolen (that haunts you for years)
9. Learning Texas history to teach and not being a native Texan
10. Having our home vandalized in the middle of the night
11. Walking with friends through pregnancy woes
12. Graduate school for both of us
13. Infestation of ants in my dishwasher and scorpions in my basement
14. Kidney stones (twice)
15. Losing my mom – the rock of my family
16. Nearly losing my husband - he has cheated death many times, but one time was more terrifying than the others – 108 fever
17. House flooding (twice)
18. Divorce in our family
19. Adjustment to new families
20. Moving now 8 times
21. Car & house shopping (it is a refinement process for sure)
22. Challenges in the employment of the church world
23. Challenges in the employment of public education
24. Grown Up Mean Girls
25. A child with night terrors – which we believe were more than that…
26. Losing a child before meeting her
27. Watching my child lose a friend
28. Hospitalization of my children
29. Depression
30. Going when other’s say why?

There is something that I began in college through the mentoring of great women of faith and through the challenge of great professors. I began to process this concept in High School, but got better at it in college. LISTENING. Sometimes I do poorly at it still, but I feel God speak and literally hear God speak more now than ever. This did not happen because I was lucky enough to be born to a Hannah. This did not happen because I am in the lineage of greatness like Mary. It happened because of my refinement. There are many stages of my life where I found myself struggling with what was going on. There are many stages in my life where I cried out to God and asked him what I had done to deserve this struggle?

Yet, I can tell you on the backside of every storm, I see the rainbow. And I have learned that during the storm, I will hurt, but my hurt can be comforted in the palm of His hand. I have learned that I am allowed struggles in order to boast of Christ. I have learned that in order to become a better person, the refining fire must be “hot” not warm. I have learned that if I am going to improve, there will be more fires to come. I have learned that in order to be one with the Lord, refinement is necessary. I have learned that I am constantly a work-in-progress and I must be OK with that. Perfection is not achieved, but I must live as if it is achievable.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Why Are You Still Sitting There?

After I became aware that God had bigger things in store for me than just my quaint little white picked dream, I felt him open my eyes to places where I could be of service. Now this is a catch 22 with me. I see needs far more often than most and sometimes find myself in a tizzy trying to make sure these needs are met. I went through a time in my life where I thought if I see it, than God revealed it to me, than I am the one to fulfill that need. So as you can gather, I ran on little sleep and constant stress.

Have I improved from that status? A little. However, most people will tell you that I still tend to spread myself too thin. Though I can list for you the things that I am not doing that other people my age or my place in life are doing that give me great anxiety. So God and I talk about this A BUNCH! You see, once I realized that God had called me into His specific services, I did not know quite which venue this would be. So I started dabbling in everything so that I could gather what my strengths were and figure out where my place was.

I have helped in children and in youth and in media and in missions at each church God has placed me. All have been fulfilling and rewarding. All have been building me for another step later on in the journey. The people that I worked with and for during these appointments were also some of the greater sources of influence along my way. I will never forget one time when I orchestrated a non-profit sports camp for kids with the help of many great friends and community supporters including one of the greatest principals to ever live. He believed in me and encouraged me and helped me make things happen. There are many that crossed his path that will tell you the same thing. Having people in your life like this even beyond the support of parents is crucial in allowing you to have wind under your wings and not be idly standing on the sideline.

However parents matter and my parents were supportive and encouraging as well. Of their two children, I was the more boisterous, gregarious and borderline obnoxious one. My brother did not drive them near as crazy as I did with insane ideas and busy plans. Yet, they loved me and urged me to try. That’s impacting to my future. There are things that they did to give me courage and bravery that they will never know. I had many, many , many restrictions as a child and teenager. Yet, when it came to something that would help me grow, all signs were ago. Thanks Mom and Dad! I guess this is also why I have a hard time with people who are content in their lives who have similar home situations. If you are one of those who are blessed with supportive and encouraging parents, why are you still sitting there? They were not given to you to coddle you all of your days. They are there to give you a break when the bell rings and you need water and a break from the fight.

If you have been given even that one someone in your life who is of encouragement or support; who believes in you and makes that ever impacting eye contact where you know they think you are capable; who speaks wisdom to you and gives your mind space to stretch, why are you still sitting there? GOD GAVE THEM TO YOU SO YOU WILL GO! God gave you someone to push you so you would find your strengths and find your gifts. And then He wants you to take what you find and USE IT TO GLORIFY HIM, not to sit there and go “look at me! I’m pretty awesome, so I will sit right here and enjoy the awesomeness that people tell me I possess and not share it with anyone who might need it.” God had people pour into you, so you will turn around and pour into others. Don’t be selfish!

Sometimes your pouring is not just your offspring. In fact, always it is not. There are others needing you and your gifts and your strengths. AND your offspring need to see that humility and willingness to go. Before I continue with my life story, I want to thank all of those people who have invested in me and have open my eyes to the world before me and the great need to go. God did not equip me to stay idle. Nor did He you. Is He able to call people to serve at home? Sure. But there are too many local missionaries and too few outside of their comfort zone. Why are you still sitting there?