Serving in Haiti: A Mother’s Peace of Mind

by Karen on February 5, 2010

“Hi, Mom. It’s Kel. Haiti is chaotic and crazy but I’m feeling so much better. I think I just had a 24-hour bug. You wouldn’t believe the horrible conditions here but I’m doing great now. Patients are all over the floor of the hospital and it’s total chaos, but we are making a difference and that’s what counts.”

I just got off the phone with Kelly, my daughter who is serving on a medical team with Mission to the World (MTW) in Haiti. She normally works as an Emergency Room nurse at Duke Hospital in North Carolina and has been on the MTW International Disaster Response team for the past year waiting to serve when a disaster occurs.

Not surprisingly, my sweet girl is an adrenaline junkie. She loves high adventure and has a heart for serving others. She loves kids and always wants to be in peds whenever she’s working. She seems especially gifted in pediatric trauma.

Sigh… For a mom like me who struggles with worry and anxiety, wouldn’t you know I’d get a kid like her?

Since the heart-wrenching crisis in Haiti began, my emotions have been off the charts. On a scale of 1-10, I’ve been at a -1 and a +11 and everywhere in between.

I knew she would go to Haiti. I knew she would want to serve.

She’s fine now, but when I got the message she was sick in Haiti, I really had to search my heart and see if I truly believed the words I wrote to her before she left. (And I had plenty of time to think, search and pray when I was tossing and turning all night long!)

So thankfully, the answer ended up being yes. Because God gives me the strength to trust Him, one moment at a time.

(When I asked her if I could share what I wrote she said, “Of course. I know you Mom!”)

Hey Sweetie,

All kidding aside, I want you to know how much I love you, how proud I am of you and how grateful I am to be your mom. You know, when you were put into my arms 28 years ago, it was truly love at first sight. You were so adorable… plump, inquisitive and ready to explore the world.

Obviously, you are still the same person (well, except for the plump part! ;-)) I truly did fall in love with you. You were a kid who jumped in with all your heart and soul. From those days when you were a year old and swinging from the canopy of your crib, I knew you had a zest for life and a determination to just “go for it.” You were such a strong-willed child; you know I covered the paddle with lots of batting so I wouldn’t hurt you trying to mold your little feisty, determined, temper-throwing behavior without breaking your focused, intent, exceedingly strong spirit in the meantime.

I know you spent a lot of years “sitting on the bench.” Volleyball was good for you but I can’t tell you how hard it was to watch you give your all and not get to play. But God produced in you endurance, patience, and teamwork where you contributed your all, even if you weren’t on the front line. But now, you are going to be on the front line and those lessons you learned along the way have made you who you are: a long-suffering, committed team player who is patient and caring, in spite of difficult circumstances. That, my sweet girl, is the mark of a true servant leader.

And so, like the day you were born, I put you again in God’s hands to guard and guide you. Young Life’s slogan, “You were made for this” seems to be appropriate for this day. I truly feel that this is a culmination of what you have been working for so diligently these past years. And I am so proud of you. I know that as you strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus, that there will be rough times. But if you keep your eyes focused on Him, I know He will be there with you.

So to be clear, I really do believe that God is sovereign. I do believe that He made you, He owns you, and He loves you even more than me.

Trust your instincts, trust your heart, and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you as you walk into a place where you will see the horrors of a fallen world. I pray you will be the answer to prayers when hurting people have cried out and asked God to send help.

And, of course, I want you to be safe but the bottom line is I trust you and trust the one who made you.

Go with my deep love and prayers that you will be able to help those who are hurting and so desperately need your touch.

I love you sweet girl.

Your Mama

P.S. And don’t forget your Go-Girl so you never have to take life sitting down.

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Twitted by michaelhyatt
02.05.10 at 1:35 pm

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey Nobles 02.05.10 at 1:07 pm

Tears. I love you, sweet friend. You are a wonderful mother.

Steph 02.05.10 at 1:11 pm

This is beautiful, and am example to all of what it means to TRULY give your child to the Lord.

Laura 02.05.10 at 1:18 pm

So transparent Thanks for the reminder that our children belong to the Lord

Katy McKenna 02.05.10 at 1:43 pm

What a beautiful tribute to a tremendously giving daughter. My 27-yr-old daughter has served two missions in Haiti, at an orphanage in the countryside. She was sick with fever (which always makes Mom fear malaria) on first trip. On second, she fell in makeshift shower and broke ribs. This was several years ago, when the political upheaval was worse than recently. She now is married, pregnant, and teaches severely handicapped kids in inner city. Her heart’s calling continues to be answered, here in the U.S. But how she loves the children of Haiti. Blessings to you and your daughter!!

Karen 02.05.10 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for the kind words. The challenges change as our kids get older, but being a parent is a great reminder that God loves us, even in our weakness!

Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms 02.05.10 at 8:58 pm

So…you’re telling me that a Mama doesn’t stop worrying about her kids when they become grown-ups? :)

This is such a sweet, heartfelt post! What daughter wouldn’t do back flips to get a letter like that from her Mama?

You are a wonderful Mama, and I’m bettin’ you are a wonderful woman, too.

Have a great weekend!

Julia Flanagan 02.05.10 at 9:23 pm

Thanks so much for sharing about your daughter’s passion to help others and your love for her. I hope to meet her one day. I leave on Monday with the second team.

Patsy 02.05.10 at 9:29 pm

Sweet. Dear. Touching. Inspiring.

Michael Hyatt 02.05.10 at 10:45 pm

I teared up when I read this. You have a great voice, Karen. You need to write out of our heart, just has you have done here. You have so much to give!

Jennifer Ingram 02.06.10 at 12:50 pm

I so needed this! Wow! I am you and you are me-my daughter, Vivien, is your daughter, Kelly just a little younger. She will arrive tonight from Haiti for a recuperative time and I’m overjoyed! Then she will return to work again in a women’s clinic operated by Heartline Ministries. Our road is tough as moms, but God IS sovereign. I just have to accept I’ll probably always be on an emotional roller coaster! Prayers for Kelly and for you.

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