“The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
As we’ve gone down this road toward Kenya, now 18 months, I have striven daily to surrender all hopes, dreams and plans to the Lord in complete submission to His amazing Call on our lives. When I made that definitive choice two and a half years ago one of the biggest dreams I let go of was believe it or not, Disney World. Since my eldest daughter was 2 years old, I have longed more than anything to take her there and just see her face light up at the sights. As she grew older and came more into her princess-y self, that desire only increased for me. Then we had a second daughter…. I researched and researched, ordered the vacation planning DVD and the whole nine yards. But when I said “yes” fully to the Lord and surrendered my future, family and finances to Him, I knew that those dreams had to fall by the wayside for the time being. And I was alright with that. In fact, it was an honor because of all that He is and all that I’d asked Him to be and do in our lives. I trusted Him with those dreams and just asked that when He gave me back dreams for my heart they would be His dreams for our future, family and finances and not my own. I knew that in doing that, whatever He would concoct in His infinite wisdom and resources would outshine any creativity or “ingenious” planning abilities I possess. So, I peacefully resigned the idea of taking my girls to Disney World until maybe our first home assignment, assuming we could afford it.
Well, we have been neck-deep in support raising, schooling, reading and more reading, and living with family, for a year now and to be honest, there is a weariness that’s been taking it’s steady toll on our family for some time now. But the concept of taking a “vacation” seemed irresponsible to me when weighed up against the massive goal we’re striving towards: getting to the field. When weighed up against the daily need of a nation that is our heart’s home now, how could we stop for even a moment in the pursuit of reaching that home? So, when the subject has been brought up by others over the past year, I have to say, I’ve dismissed it instantly. Yet, this past March it was brought up again and this time it was more than just a vacation. It was Disney World or Disneyland. BEFORE we leave for the field. Um, this was dismissed instantly on multiple levels. Finances, obviously. Timing, naturally, and the sheer “frivolous” nature of this kind of trip in light of everything was more than I was willing to entertain for even a second.
Yet the Lord began to move in my mind and heart and over a series of several days, continually brought the idea up again and again. In the middle of the night, in the middle of conversations, again and again. I finally stopped and just asked Him what He wanted me to do with it. He said, “Research it.” So, I began the process again of creating out of thin air a little trip of wonders for our little family, not sure in any way, shape or form if this would be possible. But in faith and obedience, I searched. Well, much to my surprise I found a trip to Disneyland to be reasonably priced (much more than Disney World which would have been 3 times the cost). I let go of some of my more grandiose initial ideas, like staying in a Disney Hotel, and doing the food plan, etc. and found that taking a bite of humble pie doesn’t taste all that bad after all. ;o)
As I narrowed down the search, a hotel kept popping up again and again. I dismissed it because it was 3 stars and our budget only allowed for 2 star hotels. But there it was popping up. I looked at the pictures and found it to be the sweetest, loveliest hotel I’d seen so far but saw those 3 stars and continued on with my diligent 2 star search. But something or rather Someone, kept that little hotel in the back of my mind and finally I just had to figure out why it kept popping up. As it turned out, the hotel was offering a 3rd night free special which bumped it down to a 2 star price range! I contacted our travel agent right away and when she came back with the final numbers of the hotel, tickets, etc. it came in lower than I had estimated. This particular hotel offered discounts with our travel agency! I knew at this point God was in on this and directing my every step!
We put the whole package together and when praying about the finances, found that God had already supplied them in an unusual and unexpected manner, months beforehand! This was going to happen and more importantly, this was God who was making it happen. I was in a state of wonder and awe for weeks it seemed, and once everything was finalized and the deposit was put down, I began planning in a state of childlike delight how to whimsically tell my little princess and my little Minnie mini-me.
I employed every ounce of creativity in planning out the announcement night and it was a huge success! Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets, with Mickey and Minnie napkins, Mickey stickers on the straws, etc. whilst being serenaded by the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse soundtrack. And for dessert, official Mickey ice cream sandwiches can’t be found outside of the Park, so I created my own. Oreo ice cream sandwiches, fashioned with an Oreo cookie on each side for the ears! Perfect. Then banking on the fact that I have a 4 and almost 2 year old whose powers of deduction aren’t fully developed just yet, I planned a scavenger hunt after dinner with little clues leading them around the house. Finding Mickey, Minnie or Princess items strategically placed leading them onward, they finally were led to a large box with hand-cut Mickey Mouse shaped paper on it. As they opened it they discovered a large booklet from our travel agency outlining the wonders of Disneyland, AND a special vacation count-down streamer with paint sample cards numbered 30-1 to tape up. It was a night to remember, and one that set the tone for the trip! Elly eyes glowed with excitement and delight as she thumbed slowly through each page and Jolie was beside herself with happiness yelling “MINNNNIE” every single time she saw her around the house! And this is hardly the beginning…
So, here we are at 10 days to go, and I am still in awe a bit at the fact of this. The sheer reality of the great, great love my Heavenly Father has for me, His ever dreaming daughter. He holds my heart and her desires in His hands and has made me to dream solely so that as I align my dreams with His, He will bring them to pass in the lavishness of His direction and timing!
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1