I can remember when I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I would work Monday through Friday planning the weekend. Week after week I spent 5 days planning for 2 days. Eventually it occurred to me that in so doing, I was not enjoying the fulfillment of all of my days and I sought to change how I viewed the days of my life.

Some of the changes I made were to incorporate some normal weekend activities during the week. As a family we began to make one evening a week as our chore evening. Me and the children would work diligently on those evenings to clean the house and complete what laundry we could. We would cut grass and do all we could in that one evening. Those evenings are some of my most vivid memories while raising my then teenage children. I can still see clearly in my mind the children with a broom in their hand or with the vacuum cleaner dancing away to some of the first Contemporary Christian music we heard! What had once been such a chore for me to try and accomplish on the weekends, became a fun filled evening doing it together.

Before that time in my life I also remember being told many times to enjoy each day of my childrens lives because they would be grown before I knew it. I was so young when my children were born, 16 with Bryan and 18 with Dana. I truly didn’t know anything about being a parent, but one thing I knew and for some reason understood, was these people were speaking truth into my life about my children would be grown before I knew it.

I wasn’t a Christian when my children were born, however, I knew there was a God and although I was young I clearly understood my children were a gift. I can remember thinking after they were born, that my heart would just simply explode one day because with each and every day I grew to love my children more.

I truly enjoyed every moment of my children’s growing up years. I tried hard to keep in my mind that these years were precious. And just like I had been told, before I knew it, they were grown. In 1995, my little family of two children grew to four year children. Bryan gave me a new daughter when he married Kim and Dana gave me a new son when she married Jim. It was so amazing that the heart I once thought might one day explode because of the depth of love I had for my children just kept expanding and God gave me the same love for Kim and Jim that I had for Bryan and Dana.

The dynamics of our family changed, there was no longer those evenings singing and dancing while we cleaned house events, now we were doing all kinds of other things together, still very much a family. One of my favorite memories of all of us is we were coming home from Pigeon Forge packed into Bryans little red car. A DC Talk cassette was in the tape player (someone will have to explain to my grandchildren when they read this exactly what a cassette player is..ha ha) playing the song, “Lean on me” and in all honesty that little car was swaying as we sang coming rolling down the interstate.

Two years later in 1997 the dynamics of our family changed once again as the grandchildren began being born. Over the next 10 years, God added 8 beautiful grandchildren to the love in my heart! Stephen, Eli, Emma, Sawyer, Caleb, Michael, Sarah and Isaac.

So…in 98 daysor 3 months, 6 days or 14 weeks. or exactly 2356 hours, if the Lord wills, I am coming home to see the 12 people that God has given me that I call my family. Although I am blessed with wonderful extensions of family, these 12 are the ones I cannot wait to see!

All of these years I’ve worked hard to not allow time to slip away and I promised myself that I wouldn’t start counting the days until I was under a 100 days to head home. Now for 98 days, I have to work even harder to keep my focus on what can I do for the Lord until I head home. Yet, I am a Mother, and I can’t wait to see my family. Being away from them is by far the deepest sacrifice God required of me in His call on life to serve on the foreign mission fields of Africa.

All along the way as I’ve been gone, I get asked, “What do you want to do when you first get home?” This is what I want to do, I want to sit at Bryan and Kim’s kitchen table while Bryan grills our dinner! I want to stand at Dana’s kitchen counter while she cooks and watch Jim walk through and eat her food! I want to sit in church with Stephen’s arms around my shoulder! I want to watch a ballgame with Eli! I want to watch the sunset with Emma! I want to sit with Sawyers arm around my shoulder and his hand in my hair while we watch a movie! I want to build something out of Legos with Caleb! I want to read a book with Michael! I want to snuggle with Sarah and I want to eat M&Ms with Isaac!

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary- East Africa