Everything had just fallen apart, with only three weeks left before we were to get on our plane.
I hung up the phone and started crying. Hannah wasn't home. She had left for work a half hour earlier and I knew she wouldn't be back until close to midnight. There was no way to let her know what had happened, not that I was ready to. I couldn't even comprehend the full ramifications of what had just happened--how in the world was I going to tell her? As my panic grew and my tears spilled out, Josie (my youngest), took on the role of mother, soothing me with those tried and true "parental" one-liners I'd used all too often in the past...."It'll be ok. Everything will work out. Just breathe. Things will be fine."
I appreciated her words, but I knew I also needed to talk to Dan. He would give me some direct advice, he would offer a solution, he'd know what I needed to do. But a quick search around the farm didn't turn him up. So I headed back inside and did the only thing I could think of. I fired up my computer and started all over again.
As this idea rolled through my psyche, it connected with another long-time belief of mine....."God helps those who help themselves." So, with an open mind and a prayer in my heart, I clicked on a couple new volunteer opportunities in Puerto Rico. One for the El Yunque National Rainforest and the other for a pet rescue shelter. I wrote down the phone number for the first, and shot off an email to the second. Then Dan walked in.
As I took a deep breath preparing to share my news, I felt another small fear bubble to the surface of my heart. "This is a make-it or break-it moment." I knew that in telling Dan what had just happened, I would and could be about to find out his true feelings for these mother-daughter excursions. I mean, he's always been outwardly supportive. He's never told me not to go. But I always wondered if there was a deep-down part of him that didn't understand my reasonings for taking each of our girls on such a trip. This would be the perfect opportunity for him to softly discourage us, to tell us not to go, all without him having to be the "bad guy" by suggesting it. He could simply say, "Take this as a sign," and the trip would dissolve into nothingness.
But that's not what happened.
Instead, when I blurted my news and then cried, "Now what?", my husband, without blinking an eye, spoke these words I'll never forget: "You still go. Don't cancel anything. This trip has always been about you and Hannah spending time together. You'll find something else to do." Little did he know that besides the verbal question thrown between us, he had just answered some hidden questions of mine as well. In this strange twist of fate, I was given a great gift---a chance to see directly into the heart of my husband, and know once and for all that he supported these rite of passages, 100%.
It was then that I waved him over, and showed him my computer screen filled with the new volunteer opportunities I had found. "See, it will be alright," he said. "You'll figure it out as you go. Just go."
It would be 1:00 a.m. before I shared the news with Hannah. It was then that she came into our bedroom to say she was home and to ask if three girlfriends could spend the night. I told her yes, but that I had something to tell her first. Even in the dark I could sense Hannah's body tighten. She knew this was an unusual request on my part, to talk in the middle of the night. She crouched down beside my bed and as gently as I could, I told her about the mission trip being canceled. Immediately her body sunk to the floor, and the words "Oh, no" escaped from her heart.
"Hold on," I said.
I filled her in on the rest--what I had found out during my evening of online investigating and that we would still go, no matter what. Although her dream of a mission trip was taken away so suddenly, to my surprise Hannah's resolve and strength and faith rebounded almost instantly. She leaned in and and gave me a hug, whispering into my ear, "It doesn't matter what we do, Mom, as long as we're together."
Ok, but that 's the easy part, my thoughts replied. I was still silently anxious about what we were going to do and where we were going to stay.
As Hannah turned to leave, she got half way to the door, when she turned around and came back to my bedside. Giving me another tight hug, she added, "We'll go on faith, Mom. We'll trust what God has planned."
And with that simple, yet incredibly faithful statement, I fell back asleep knowing that God had just clued me in---He would be the One tending to all the details.