In general my comfort zone is really large…well, maybe a better word is expandable. Not being a really structured person, I love soaking in new cultures and experiences and while new circumstances can make me uncomfortable, I can take a deep breath and enjoy the newness, the adventure, play it louder, dance harder, go faster.
However, somewhere in my expandable comfort zone, I became a mama, the kind of mama who is home for naptime and 7:30 bedtime. If we can’t be, we find a suitable dark space and I tote noisemakers, blankies, lovies, pacies and their satin encased pillows. My babies need their sleep, ya know?
My goodness, watching them fingerpaint for the first time was out of my comfort zone! I knew the floor needed scrubbed, so, hey, why not? Hmm…I just kept trying to remind myself that “IT’S WASHABLE!”
(Although I definitely learned some ways to improve on this activity for next time).
This time while in Ethiopia, I was processing life as a mother of sensitive toddlers. I must say my comfort zone felt remarkably smaller. As we walked up to church the booming music and worship poured from the open-aired building. We walked around the corner and found a bench on the dirt floor and watched worship in wide-eyed wonder, I had never seen it quite like that. I saw the “Sunday School” which consisted of all the children in church, sitting in a side wing, girls that looked about 6, holding their younger siblings, no adults present and the kids quietly sat and sang when appropriate, for an HOUR.
(not a picture from church, but a similar scene)
I had to laugh as I thought how different playing church would be here. I also realize that if they are overwhelmed by our wonderful, relatively calm church in the US, whew, we have a lot to overcome.
I thought about The Littles as I picked up yet another pantless toddler. When there is no money for diapers, the kids don’t wear anything.
Jon and I followed a little toddler, no older then three, walking down a path and she stopped abruptly at a thorn bush. Without a sound, she removed a large thorn that had just embedded itself in her foot. She trotted on like nothing happened.
A small child pressed herself into my skirt. I scooped her up and her face was covered in dry snot and about 5 flies were taking advantage of the opportunity. She didn’t even notice. If a fly even dares enter our vicinity, The Littles are shrieking, “shoo fly, don’t bother me!” while flailing their arms.
Needless to say, my “mama comfort zone” was S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D.
But you know what? It’s okay.
One night, months ago, I lay in bed wrestling with God. As Jon snoozed peacefully, I explained to God through my sobs that this couldn’t be the right thing for us. It just isn’t safe for kids. As I thought through the dangers and even many opportunities for death in a third world country, I gave God the ultimatum, “Okay, I will be willing, but if we go, you cannot take my babies!” In the stillness of the dark room, I clearly heard in my heart,
“Amy, I can take your babies tonight in their cribs in “Safeville”, IN or they could be in the middle of the desert and bitten by a poisonous snake and I could preserve their lives.”
And that’s been my Ebenezer. My moment I can go back to when fear threatens to overwhelm me. I can run into the arms of a Sovereign God.