A Life in Passports

I’ve moved a lot in my life and am a strong advocate for cleaning BEFORE you move. So, as I work to get myself ready for the next move, I spent some time cleaning out my desk. I started with my card collection–a jumbled mix of birthday, sympathy and other assorted card genres, many of which I had taken from my mother’s own collection, thinking I’d use them. However, as I actually went through the cards I thought more than once: “I’ll never send anyone that card,” and into the trash it went. I still found my sentimental side unable to discard the many postcards and specialty cards both Mother and I had collected over the years. “I’ll use that one day…” maybe.

In the midst of the cards were also an amazing number of extra pictures we’d put in Christmas cards the past several years. Smiles came in seeing how my boys have changed. Thoughts of sweet days gone by.

Then I found the passport pictures. I laughed as I saw several from my boys. I’ve spared them the public embarrassment, but have left them a sweet gift on their dressers for when they’re next home. 🙂

Having lived a life in missions, we have been through our fair share of passports over the past 25+ years, and I found many of my husband’s gems. I laid them out from oldest to newest and watched the changes in the man with whom I’ve traveled the world. Though he was already in his forties when we began our life together, you can still see the freshness in his eyes and expression. He was sure of his call and ready for the adventure on which the Lord was leading us.

Those in the middle show a man who has now carried the load of service, seen God at work in the lives of many, and continues to expect great things in the years he has ahead. As the years for passports came to a close, the wear and tear of travel and service clearly showed.

Raouf wrote about passports many years ago, as it was such a reality in his life. He actually carried two–one Egyptian, one American, and like the Apostle Paul, had the freedom to use either when necessary. But he also talked about his preferred passport–the heavenly one. There would be no bad passport picture to regret when he showed it at the border, for the Lord would give him a new body to enjoy, and I’m sure he would be wearing a big smile in expectation of his final destination.

Though I miss the man in these passport pictures, I know he’s enjoying the privileges of his new home, where the only question asked at the border is: “Do you know Jesus?” That’s a stamp I know Raouf had in his passport!

What about yours?

Grace and Peace

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