“Get the Soap Out of the Sun!”
Mom screeched as she ran down the driveway wildly flagging her dishtowel, “Hurry up children!” Get the soap out of the sun!” “Hurry!” “Get it out of the sun!”
Mom taught us to be obedient, (or else) so my brother, two sisters and I, pulled two crates up to the carport that had fallen off a truck in front of our house. We died laughing at Mom’s logic. The crates were full of sample boxes of Tide that were being distributed to each house. At that time we were out of soap and out of money.
My father had been transferred to Bangkok Thailand during the Vietnam War. And no, everything is not free in the military. So when you have to move off base it’s even more difficult to make ends meet.
As my brother and sisters were counting boxes, I caught Mom’s eyes. I thought, “Uh Oh, I know what she’s thinking,” She looked at me and told me to get the driver. My heart sank. This seemed like a miracle to a 12yr. old. I wondered how we were going to make it on one tiny box of soap as I took off down the street.
The driver profusely thanked us and gave us a few sample boxes. It was one of those deep chuckle times of a bittersweet lesson. Regardless of your situation, it’s best to do what is right. It’s better to wash your clothes with a clean conscience than a dirty one! To this day Mom feels he could have given us more than a few. I remember feeling the same. I mean, really, the guy’s truck was packed full with crates!
For the most part we were well-behaved kids – but “Old Battle Ax” tried us sorely! She wasn’t old, she was just plain old mean! She didn’t like kids, let alone four of them living next to her.
Poor Mom…..she suffered the brunt of her fury. We hated her for it – the “Old Battle Ax!” But we knew better than to be disrespectful, we just didn’t know we were supposed to pray for her. So Mom told us why – I didn’t like it – but I did anyway.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in Heaven…” Matthew 5:1(NIV)
“But I tell you: Love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you….” Matthew 6:44 (NIV)
Mom would say, “She might not be saved and God loves her too,” I couldn’t see how.
A few years, and a few houses later, Mom got caught in the store by “Old Battle Ax.” She tried to hide, or rather, avoid this woman named Hazel, but Hazel cornered her. Hazel wanted to make sure Mom heard what she had to say – as usual.
Catching Mom off guard, Hazel told Mom how she and her husband found Christ and wanted to apologize for how she acted during the time we lived next to her. Mom was very gracious, and told Hazel how we prayed for her.
In the Military, a family lives in many places, and your father is taken away for years. Mom says we sacrificed for our Country also; the whole family does. I agree. The Military is not made up of only those who “serve” but families that “sacrifice.”
Despite the fact our lives were constantly changing, one lesson remained stable no matter were we lived – we were Missionaries. “Go into all the World…” Mark 16:15(NIV) If you were at school, if you were playing, if you are at the store, even if you are at church – you are a Missionary. The World is anywhere and everywhere you are. God is anywhere and everywhere you are. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5(NIV)
God had a reason for each country, every state, each neighborhood, and every church.
And I wish I could say they were fulfilling, wonderful years. They were anything but. They were difficult, confusing and complex, but we “served” God, as we “sacrificed” for our Country. Mom made sure our focus stayed sure – on the souls we met, “They might not be saved and God loves them too.”
And once in awhile I’ll say, “Hey Mom, remember when…..?” And we start laughing at her desperate logic, “Hurry up Children.” “Get the soap out of the sun!”
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