I remember clearly the day we came to meet the Ratliff’s. In my mind it seemed like a terrible first meeting. Basically, just picture two bulls running through a gift shop . While Chandler talked to Mitch and Betty about who we are and the ministry God has called our family to, I tried to wrangle in the little bulls. There were lots of new things to touch and see and our precious little girls wanted to examine everything, especially the things that were breakable. I tried to keep my composure, but inside I felt a little like I was losing it! The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the possibility of living in their home for a couple of months, as they had housed missionaries in the past. The longer we stayed, the crazier the girls got, and the more I became overwhelmed.
I think I cried as we pulled away. I felt like a terrible mom because my kids were crazy and I felt a little hopeless because in my mind we had left a bad first impression. Mitch and Betty were so kind to invite us to stay in their home that afternoon, but part of me was praying God would open up another door so that we could move somewhere else…somewhere where our kids wouldn’t want to break everything in sight.
Well, the next few weeks passed and nothing else came up so I found myself carrying our belongings into this beautiful home, still worrying about how we were going to make it for the next month and a half.
Fast forward to today. As I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes this morning I laughed to myself and said to Chandler, “It’s funny how God always knows what we need so much better than what we think we need.” I proceeded to tell him about how at first I didn’t want to come here, but how now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Little did I know all that the Lord would do in my heart because of staying with this precious couple. It has been here that we have learned to trust HIM a little more. It has been here that we have welcomed our son, Gideon, into the world. It has been here that we have felt the love of HIS people!
Mitch and Betty have quickly become dear friends to us and beloved grandparents to our kids. They live in the basement apartment downstairs and we visit with each other daily. Selah just loves Ms. Betty and always goes downstairs with books in hand so she can cuddle up and read with her. Miriam has taken a special liking to Mr. Mitch and affectionately calls him “Dada.” And little Gideon falls right asleep whenever he gets in Ms. Betty’s arms. She just has a way with him and it is special to watch! They have been so hospitable, loving, and kind to us and have been our advocates from day one. They tell everyone about us and Mitch even set up two meetings with two different pastors in the area. They have a huge heart for missions and are all about the Great Commission!
I can’t imagine the blessings we would have missed out on had I allowed my feelings to overrule! I am so thankful to have a Heavenly Father who knows what I need so much better than what I do! I am sure I will always look back on these days as sweet, sweet days where the Lord allowed us to be cared for and blessed by His people!
Please be praying for Mitch and Betty as Betty is battling cancer. She is such a strong woman, but is in a lot of pain due to the chemo pills that she takes. You never hear her complain, but rather she praises the Lord for His goodness and desires only for His will to be done! She is an inspiration to me. Our lives are better because of this precious couple.
Thanks for reading!
Making HIM Known,
Jamie (for the Sharpes)