Random Things I Learned from Deputation
As we were driving around Chicago I heard a little voice say, “Mommy, my tummy hurts….”. Inside of me I was screaming, “Oh no, please no…not here, not now.” There was no way for Kevin to even pull over in the bumper to bumper traffic. It was dark and as I jumped over the front seat I could feel and smell sickness everywhere – all over him, the car seat, the floor. As I stripped his soaked clothes off him I secretly wished we didn’t have to make this trip, yet I managed to find a blanket to wrap around him and hold him close until we made it home….
There are so many of these stories I could share…
….running out of gas when it was freezing outside in the middle of the night. It took the tow truck guy two hours to get to us. By the time he arrived we were all snuggled in the backseat under loads of blankets praying God would send help soon…I just wanted to cry and be home, but instead I sang songs to Noah to keep him sleeping.
….staying with the crazy cat lady…
…when my toddler pulled the fire alarm at the church…
…the time our five months old was having trouble breathing and we had to leave in the middle of the night for the ER. I was a nervous wreck holding my sick baby and then as Kevin reached to open the door we looked at each other with a blank stare thinking to ourselves, “Do we walk into the host family’s bedroom and wake them or should we sneak out and leave the door unlocked?”
…when my toddler walked out of the church bathroom with no underpants on….
The list is long, yet we are thankful God has protected and provided for us during this unique chapter of our lives. Last night I wrote a random list of things I learned – I don’t want to ever forget how this journey felt. Deputation affected every area of my life – it left nothing untouched. It was demanding spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I experienced being tired on a whole new level, yet I also experienced God’s grace in a way I had never felt either.
Random Things I’ve Learned on Deputation
- Be yourself
- Never eat eggs from hotels
- Always keep grocery bags in the back seat they can be handy for many things
- Travel with lots of wipes – clorox wipes, baby wipes, shout it out wipes, you name it!
- Be fully present in EVERY moment
- Be humble
- Look for opportunities to encourage others
- Sometimes it’s not good to smile and nod when you don’t understand people
- Don’t have any expectations for how you should be treated
- Communicate with your spouse often about details and come up with a secret code for “no”, “yes” ha!
- Pray – a lot!
- Remember deputation isn’t forever
- Make a packing list
- Keep your family/kids first – stay in the nursery if you have to.
- If someone brings something to a Potluck in a Pampered Chef dish it usually is good.
- It’s ok to say no sometimes
- Know your limitations
- Travel with detergent pods not a bottle of liquid detergent
- Make your van a happy place – cheery music, keep it clean and smelling nice
- Say goodbye to alone time, but take alone time. Sometimes Kevin would drop me off at Target just so I could be alone for thirty minutes.
- Take pictures and journal – it’s a once in a lifetime journey
- Make friends and keep up with old friends
- Have an extra church outfit hanging in the backseat “just in case”
- McDonald’s have the dirtiest bathrooms after gas stations of course
- Travel with a snack basket
- Barnes and Nobles make for good stops – train table, WIFI
- Laundry days are happy days.
- Always travel with thank you cards, hostess gifts, and mints 😉
- If possible, iron ahead of time
- Eating out after church with small children is a challenge (that’s the nice way of saying it)
- Keep in mind that deputation is your ministry – God is bringing people through your life that He wants you to minister to – go out and be a light!
- Drink lots of water and travel with Airborne/ take vitamins
- Potty training on the road is HARD
- Exercise – I rarely did, but it would be ideal – ha!
- Don’t let your testimony become rote – keep it fresh.
- Stay motivated by remembering your end goal – to tell your field about Jesus
- Work hard and be 100% wherever you happen to be
- Sanitize your hands often
- Make travel time productive
- Be creative how you can help your husband/children
- Pack your own sheets…maybe even towels
- Say thank you and show lots of gratitude
- Don’t be lazy – deputation is your job so treat it that way.
- Being sick on the road is horrible! Ick.
- If you are under three hours away from home, choose to drive home rather than stay the night
- Be flexible! Be Flexible! Be Flexible!
- Involve your children
- Pack mostly solids and use accessories to change outfits
- Be prompt with communication
- Keep a can of Sprite in the van incase you are in the middle of nowhere and get sick. I learned the hard way in the UP of Michigan – longest 48 hours of my life. ;(
- Be gracious
- Don’t be a picky eater – just swallow it and take a drink
- Over plan/ over prepare/ and be prompt (early) to engagements
- Keep Tylenol handy
- Take initiative and do any task assigned eagerly
- Chick-fil-A is the best stop with kids hands down
- Remember time zones…
- Just relax. You’re gonna be ok.
- Staying in homes can be like a box of chocolates as Sam says…you never know what you’re gonna get.
- Google “play cafe” in every big city you visit – they are normally a slice of heaven on earth if you have kids. The kids play and you can sip coffee – a rare moment of bliss.
- Realize you will travel with lots of bags – food bag, medicine bag, diaper bag, church bag, camera bag, toiletry bag, maybe a shoe bag, dirty clothes bag, toy bag….yes, lots of bags and don’t forget your extra sheet bag. 😉
- Travel with your own oatmeal packets – you can save a fortune on breakfast that way – all you need is hot water (saves you from eating hotel eggs – ha!) . On that note….all Paneras have a microwave….pick up a fresh coffee and warm up your oatmeal. Voila! Also, traveling with canned soup can save you from having to leave your hotel room for dinner.
- Do your research on the church you are visiting – it makes a difference if you can mention things you learned from reading up on them.
- Find fun things to do in the area you are visiting. We found so many free interesting things to see during our trips.
- Enjoy and have fun!