It has somewhat escaped me that in 36 hours, Rod and I will be cruising in the Bahamas.

(It’s ok to be a little jealous. I would be!)

There is so much life going on around us, so much life that goes in to leaving home and children for a few days. Even as I sit here, there is still laundry to do, packing of clothes and doctor’s notes and medicines and insurance cards and loveys to do, work to finish. But God’s grace so overwhelmed me already today, I had to record it.

This morning was early for us. I needed to be at Moms and More by 8:30, which meant the toddler princesses needed to be risen and shining much earlier than they are used to. We had a particularly pleasant morning – Daddy dressed Kaity and I, Miranda. We played and giggled and looked forward to picking up donuts on the way. As Rod and I strapped them in the car, Miranda told her Daddy, “Go get dressed and work on the bus,” which is what he was planning to do. It made me smile. Our baby is a big girl these days.

I told them I was going to teach them a new song, a song that has played repeatedly in my mind and my ears since the Haiti earthquake, Israel Houghton’s “I Am Not Forgotten.” Miranda asked me some questions about it, and I told her that God always knows who we are and where we are. I silently added, ‘even when we’re buried beneath the rubble and no one else can find us.’ My heart cries for the families of the missing.

We got to Moms and More and all the madness of setting up, and then I was refreshed, as I always am, by time with new friends, old friends, people in this kid-raising thing together. I will be writing further about the message we received today, from a woman who has suffered the worst nightmare a parent has: her son’s death (at 21, in Iraq). She blessed our group with her testimony and wisdom last spring. She blessed us equally today, as did the ladies at my table who shared their own hearts, struggles, and experiences.

After we helped clean up some, the girls stayed to play in the church’s playground. They’ve not been outside much, so I let them linger and decided I would sell every toy we have and get a Little Tikes playhouse for the yard – this afternoon if I had time!

When we finally got in the car, Miranda asked to hear “the song about God’s family.” She blew me away. I didn’t use those words, nor is the word ‘family’ in the song. But God got it in her heart. She knows. She was already singing along.

When we pulled in the garage, they were already sleepy, and I let the song play, and I let myself get misty eyed. About a year ago, God and I had a talk, and I vowed to Him that even if He took my children, I would trust and follow Him. Today, in the garage, I came to another belief: Even if He took me away from my children, I know they will not be forgotten. God knows their names.

I never want to leave them. Tomorrow, though, I will, and not for the first time. Life calls for it, and not just because of our ministry, but because I believe sometimes we as husband and wife need time away, to feed ourselves and focus on each other. I know they will be okay; no one loves them like Gramma and Papa, and rumor has it Auntie and Uncle will get a turn spoiling them this time around, too.

We had a short tea party and now they are in bed. My thoughts turn to the older kids. We’ll spend time tonight giving Paige some quality time. She is certainly the proverbial middle child, often caught between the needy toddlers and her older brother. She has, thankfully I guess, responded by trying to be perfect. She is pretty darn wonderful, yet a normal teenager too. I am so thankful that she has been surrounded by friends and makeshift family who fill the gaps when we are away. You know who you are, and you bless my heart.

I respect Josh’s privacy and have no details to update. God is teaching me new things about letting go and trusting in this area, too. In church on Sunday I kept envisioning the One Ring to Rule Them All (Lord of the Rings speak). In important times, that ring blazed with the words engraved on it. In my mind, so do our children’s hearts burn and glow with the truth in times of peril or urgency. The truth never leaves us, even if we turn our eyes away. I lived there before, and I know this to be true. We are not forgotten. God knows our names.

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