As we sat on the public transportation I was taken back to Ukraine a few years ago when I rode public transportation everywhere. I didn't think anything of it. I stuck my ipod headphones in and zoned out or people watched.
But here I was, first of all in America where I know the language, and yet secondly with my two little children and a part of me (if I'm 100% honest with myself and...whoever reads this.) I wanted to shield them from the weirdo who talked to us the entire way back or from the dirty seats and germs everywhere. I didn't want to "expose" them to anything like that because they were two young and our world has become, I'm afraid, too small.
Because so many in America (not just in Ukraine as I seemed to forget) use public transport every single day and so many are homeless and sometimes it's necessary, important to "expose" our kids to them so that they can love them and tell them about Jesus. So they can be brave and enter in that world, just like Jesus did, and share Christ with them. "Exposing" them is necessary; it's vital to their understanding of the world and what others go through and live with. It's vital to encourage their empathy, not just from what they know, but all that they don't know, but still exists.
I visited with a friend the other day who is living in Cambodia and doing some incredible stuff. I was privileged to share a cup of coffee with her on a beautiful, breezy afternoon in April and hear about her life there. As I drove away I realized that to hear the stories and imagine what she is saying will never come close to how she is actually living there. I can always imagine, but until I put myself there in person, in flesh, like Jesus did, I can't really get it. I've had the incredible season of doing overseas missions and that will always be a part of my heartbeat. I'm not sure if God has that in the future for us, but what an amazing opportunity I have to encourage it in my kiddo's as they grow. Of course, one of the scariest thing I can imagine is sending my kid's overseas to a country that is so dangerous and so detached from the comfort and familiarity of America, but man. Isn't that truly living? What if God does lay it on their heart? What if they do go? How incredible would that be? To be exposed to the reality of the world around us and the reality that if we're honest with ourselves we're not that different at all. We need somebody, Something and we're all looking for a place to belong and feel accepted. And what a message to share that we can find that in Jesus.