Statistics say I shouldn’t be a mom. I started my missionary career as a single, recognizing that my “chances” of getting married were pretty slim.
In the depths of my heart I desired marriage, but I was firmly decided I would marry only if I happened on a man dedicated to serving God, preferably in Angola. I was opposed to (or afraid of?) cross cultural marriage, figuring it was too complicated. But Afonso is Afonso, not just “an Angolan” and our friendship grew deep and sweet, and we both desired to serve the Angolan church, so why not do it together? Here I am almost 17 years into my career as a missionary to Angola, 10 years into our cross-cultural marriage, and after hormone therapy, adoption, and a miracle pregnancy in my 40’s, I find myself the mother of 3 Third Culture Kids.
Looking back, I’m very thankful for my single days. Adapting to a new culture and learning a new language can be tough enough without juggling naps, snacks, diapers, home-school, and the varied ways and stages of adaptation that each family member adopts. I got that out of the way before adding a husband and kids, and I'm thankful God gave me that chance. I know myself. I would have struggled to feel fulfilled as a new missionary, not doing “missionary work” but being “stuck at home”. I’ve heard that voiced by other moms lately, it’s a real struggle. John the Baptist’s words about Jesus were part of my journey in getting married and accepting the changes that would come from being a wife and mother; “He (in this case, my husband) must become greater, I must become less.”
Now when people ask me my role on the mission field I answer, “Mostly I'm a Mom”.
I still get out, but I'm not as flexible as I used to be. My kids tag along to meetings and small group Bible Studies... and to the grocery store and the kitchen and the wash line. I’ve taught Sunday School with one kid strapped to my back and another asleep in my arms. I schedule those things around school drop-offs, meal-making, home-schooling and naps. Afonso does a lot of travelling on his own that we might have done together as a family before school had to be factored in. There are dreams (like further education) I’ve put on hold for a season or two. I’m more of a behind-the scenes person than I might have been if I were still single. But there are three little people who need their Mom right now, and I'm the only one who can do that job!