This week Peyton is here, but as a camper...at high school camp.  This week Savannah is neither away at Summit, nor on work crew as she has been the past month.  She is rather by my side in the kitchen cooking away.  After all, high school week is the busiest week of the summer, food wise.  Yesterday's theme was Christmas and today's is Thanksgiving - and we have all the meals to go along with the holidays.  I never thought Savannah and I would be cooking our family holiday recipes for 250! ( I also never thought I would be conducting two such feasts in one 24 hour window!)

This week Doug begins the preparations to take our family back to Colorado at the end of the month.

Many of you have asked what made us decide our time here was complete.  Its a pretty short answer:  our girls.  Since they were born we have made every sacrifice for me to be at home with them, walking with them.  We have chosen poverty at times over another model.  It is evident to our entire family that being on staff here in a full-time capacity does not allow enough margin for me to parent in our family model.  For a season it was doable, but not for a longterm commitment.  This will be my last year to walk with Savannah in our home and the first year of high school for Peyton.  Doug's exact words were, "there are others who can do the kitchen job at Camp, but there is only one who can walk with our girls."

When I accepted this position, I accepted it for the interim; that meant through the summer session.  We will stay for that period and then head back to our life in Colorado.

It has been very hard on the girls for me to not be available - for them to see me but not really have one-on-one access to me.   I am shared here.  Savannah has broken down with me multiple times not feeling the connection with me that she has known all of her life,  feeling the counselors here have more of me than she and Peyton do.  I completely understand why she would feel that way - many children of ministry families do.   Peyton is more internal.  She has wrestled physically here in countless ways.  That is the sign that her dad and I watch for to know that she is having a difficult time in her heart.  When I asked Peyton a few weeks ago if this life here, without me being as available, is hard for her she simply answered, "it has been very hard for all of us, including you, Mom.  I miss our family."

Ultimately, I had to do what I have learned over the past years - ask the Lord to lead me through my husband.  I left the decision of whether I would stay on staff wholly to him and asked for his leadership and wisdom.  He has been such an incredible leader for our family through all of this.  His answer is what I wrote above.  So, at the end of the month we head back.

Through tears a couple of days ago, Savannah said, "Mom, its just not ever going to be like it was again.  So much has happened here, so much has changed."

My heart sank.  That was what I had feared when I took this position, knowing there would be a great cost to our family - ministry always has a cost.  I bowed my head, standing a few feet away from her, leaning against the stainless oven.

"It will be SO much deeper, SO much richer, and we will appreciate it SO much more now," she continued.  I looked up, surprised, through my own tears.

What other model did I expect?  Our Lord always grows, never shrinks.  Why did I expect anything less?