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Responsibilities of a missionary’s mom

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Stay in contact with whatever means possible

   Thanks to that beautiful satellite that circles the earth, we don’t have to feel so disconnected from our children when they leave to parts unknown. And thankfully communicating via the internet, doesn’t cost us anything! Back in the day, when people traveled across the ocean to answer a call from God, their parents didn’t know if they would ever see them again. In our day, we have been spared that burden. We have much to be grateful for, don’t we.

Pray and share with our children how we are praying

  Praying constantly for our children across the seas, is a given. We don’t have to be told to do this, do we! I suggest finding bible verses that address their particular needs. This would be helpful and encouraging to them.

Stay informed as to  our children’s prayer requests

   We should also ask our children for their prayer requests. And when appropriate, recruit others to pray for those needs. The more people that are praying for our children, the better. But remember:

Keep confidences

   Security levels vary depending on where our children are serving. Seek their permission before sharing their prayer requests. Become informed as to how it should be worded, if it is to be shared. It is not necessary or wise to give too much detail.

 

As a general rule, be vague about using personal and place names

   Many of our children are on Facebook, so check out how they present information there. Follow their lead when you share anything online. Personally, I limit myself when giving out details concerning personal and place names. My children’s service area doesn’t require this, but I prefer to play it safe when I am writing my blogs. And with all that’s going on with Facebook these days, we should be careful about any information we place there. 

Keep them informed of what’s going on back home (the good and the not so good)

   Being so far away, our children loose touch with the daily goings on. Even though they may miss being with family and friends back home, they still want to stay connected. So, keep them informed of the major events and be sensitive about the details you choose to share. Some things are best not to share. Depend on God’s leading in this. 

Make sure our children have no doubt of our support

   Our children have made some radical changes in their lifestyles to follow God’s call upon their lives. They need to know that their families back home not only are praying for them but support them wholeheartedly. They have enough to deal with. We only add to their load if their family back home, for whatever reason, can’t release them to their calling. Let’s keep our focus on what is best for them. We have God’s grace to give us the strength we need to let them go. 

 

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Compensations of sacrifice

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   A call from God can present some difficult challenges. So God always equips those He calls. God called my son and my daughter in law to the mission field.  Therefore, they have been and continue to be equipped by God to be able to deal with the challenges of such a life. But just as my son received God’s call to go, I received God’s call as well–to let him go.  

  Since their departure, God has given me opportunities I could never have imagined.   I’ve traveled to Peru where I have walked the ancient stone paths of Machu Picchu. In Africa I experienced the excitement of a safari, floated down the Nile River of Moses fame, and lived in a thatched roof mud hut in the savannah bush. A lifelong dream to go to Scotland was fulfilled not once but 3 times while my son studied for his masters at the University of Edinburgh.

   All of these adventures went a long way in compensating me for the sacrifice God had called upon me to make. But these adventures alone couldn’t have made up for the heartache my son’s exodus brought about.

But the following  has

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

My pain forced me to rely on God

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

In God I found comfort

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles.  The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17

I learned to focus on God, not my pain

  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on You. Isaiah 26:33
  It was good for me to be affected so that I could learn Your statues. Instructions from Your lips is better for me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Psalm 119:71

I learned that my pain would not overwhelm me

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

I have drawn again and again upon the lessons I’ve learned from my experience as a missionary’s mom. And that is compensation far beyond any sacrifice I could have made.

 

Thanking God for you who pray for our missionaries on their birthdays!

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  Wow, I’ve always taken great comfort in knowing that my missionary children have thousands, if not millions, praying for them on their birthdays.  However, the unexpected event that occasioned my daughter in law’s birthday Feb. 21st, demonstrated anew why that prayer support is so vital. 

   On 2/21 my daughter in law celebrated her birthday. Her husband, however, was away  in another country on a one month teaching assignment!  Therefore, taking care of two very energetic boys had to be done single handily. (Birthday or not) She’s been relying on the comfort of God’s presence for the energy and will power she was daily in desperate need of. And when the day of her birthday arrived, she found herself needing much more from God than she had expected!

images-3         Why?     images-3

   Because their youngest fell from a 4′ wall and needed to be taken to the ER. No calling an ambulance where they lived! So the other missionaries  living in the mission complex with my daughter in law went into family mode. One watched over their 5 year old while another drove my daughter in law and my grandson to the ER. Now this may not sound extraordinary!  But just trust me on this…it’s unnerving!  (3rd world big city, crowded, and chaotic streets! With a 3-year old and his mother in distress? You get the picture!) 

   Gratefully, the concussion that was expected never developed. My rambunctious grandson recovered with all his energy intact. (Though he may have slowed down somewhat as a result of his fall.) The wonderful news is… he is fine!

   And during all of this commotion, my daughter in law’s birthday had to be put on the back burner. On arriving home, much was made better by the thoughtfulness of her 5 year old son (and added thoughtfulness on the part of the other missionaries on site, I’m sure) who presented his mom with a crown and declared her queen for the day. Kids just know how to lighten the moment, don’t they!

Maridith and her bday crown

  So the next time you read your prayer calendar, remember my daughter in law and the unexpected challenge that announced itself on her birthday. You may not know the particular needs of our missionaries on the day of their birthdays, but God does! And on those special days, He individualizes our prayers, fashioning them to meet needs we know not of. 

A Sending Mom!

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One last photo!

It was 6 years ago on January 4, 2012

   when I first said goodbye to my son and daughter in law. They were leaving for their first term on the mission field.
   If you go back and read those first blogs (and if you have just sent off a child to work overseas, I recommend you go back and read them) you might find just the comfort and resolve needed for the journey you find yourself traveling. (search using the dates above)
  My first posts do not shy away from describing the realities of the pain I felt. I knew other mom’s in my boat wouldn’t want me to sugar coat the trauma I was going through. But as my readers will note, I walked this difficult journey with Christ as my guide. Through many a painful experience along the way, I’ve found Jesus to be faithful. He allowed me the freedom to be honest with Him about what I was feeling. Because in describing my feelings, the Holy Spirit would impart verses of Scripture.  Words from God that would bring the strength and healing that I needed. My posts shares those particular verses.
group pic 8-31-17
   Since 2012 my son and his family, (yes, two grandsons have come along) have come home once. That was a roller coaster ride of emotions. Extreme highs and extreme lows intensified by the fact that two of my daughters and their families moved out of state about the time my son and his family returned overseas. (Refer to  my other blog: http://www.fierydarts.com, posted 1-18-18)

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   It’s not been easy. Yet here I sit, posting yet again on my blog as a mom who by God’s grace has survived more separation than I care to mention. And I can honestly say, if it weren’t for God’s guidance, grace, and comfort I would be of all mom’s most miserable. But on the positive side…I can honestly say the joys and blessings I have received through this separation far, far exceeds the pain I endured. 

If you are sending a child to a far away land, turn to God’s Word. It will light your way!

God’s plans can be trusted as He points out in Jeremiah 29:11.

And when you feel too weak to carry on remember 2 Corinthians 12:9, & Isaiah 40:28-29

When you need sustenance , ponder Ps 55:22

Cry out in your pain, God will hear Psalm 34:17

And someday, you too will say, my joy can’t be described with words!

An Unexpected Calling

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   Our first stateside has come and gone. It was a roller coaster of activities and emotions. But now those wonderful and varied memories are stored away. Memories that we will return to often as we anticipate their next homecoming!

   But for now, my husband finds himself in a most surprising and unexpected location. At the request of our son and the invitation of  administrators, he is teaching sermon crafting at a seminary near where our son lives. The wonder of it is, he is teaching alongside our son. 

bob teaching               bobby teaching in seminary

We never know what opportunities may present themselves as the result of a calling given to our children. 

AND THE STOCKINGS WERE HUNG?

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   Christmas traditions vary from family to family. And over the years life gives rise to changes. As my family of 6 (2 adults, 4 children) grew, so did the number of Christmas stockings that were ‘hung by the chimney with care.’ At this time, 20 individualized stockings will be filled with gifts, fruit, candy, and nuts. Sixteen of them will hang from my mantle. Four of them will grace a cozy little home, way over in Africa!

   Christmas stockings are a big deal in our family. Every item, excluding the fruit, is individually wrapped. Guaranteeing the escalation of fun with the unwrapping of each and every item. 

   Because we can’t imagine a Christmas without stockings, great effort is always made to ensure stockings and Christmas presents make a joint appearance come Christmas.  This has proven to be a little tricky over the years with our son and his family. Yet God has been faithful. Because of His provision we have been able to send both stockings and presents  to wherever our son and his family have found themselves at Christmas time.  

   For instance, when our son and his family returned to the field in August, empty Christmas stockings were strategically placed within their luggage. In early November, I gathered, wrapped, and packed items for those stockings. Then after Thanksgiving, stocking contents (along with Christmas presents from their families back home) will travel with dear friends across the ocean.  As Christmas draws near, the stockings will be filled with the items we sent, and the presents will be placed around their tree. Come Christmas, my son and his family will have as complete a Christmas as our family can manage.

   Would I prefer to have all 20 stockings filled and hanging from my mantle for Christmas? Of course I would! But God had other plans. And because we ALL trust Him to do what is best for us, we adjust our plans to fit His plans. Finding that His grace is always sufficient and sustaining.

   Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not where the stockings are hung that’s important. It’s that families find ways to connect and celebrate in unison the traditions they hold dear. And for our family, stuffed Christmas stockings, with  our names monogrammed in gold puffy glue, accomplishes that!  No matter where  those stockings may be hung. 

What’s hard about the holidays?

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   Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is only a few weeks away. People and stores (Who begin way too early. Ooo, don’t get me started) everywhere are gearing up for the celebration. Ever since my son and his precious family left for the mission field, spending holidays without them continues to present challenges. For I don’t get to see the enchantment of Christmas sparkling in the eyes of my 5 year old and 2 year old grandsons. The physical distance between us prohibits the gathering of family around the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Not to mention all the memories such an occasion inspires.

    Out of 4 children, their spouses, and their children (18 individuals in all) only 5 of them now live nearby (about a 30 min. drive away). That is, since one of my daughters and her family recently moved an 11 hour’s drive away. 

   Honestly, (just being transparent here) it doesn’t get any easier as the years and holiday’s pass by. I wish it did though! But, reality is what it is. Sure, I get more use to it. I find a routine that works and a mindset that obstructs the temptation (the fiery darts) to feel sorry for myself. And knowing those 5 individuals are close by reminds me that I still have much to look forward to.  But that is only part of my defense against such self-focus.

   Recently, I’ve been prompted to include in my prayer time a time of thanksgiving. So, I made a list of things in my prayer notebook that I was thankful for. After opening my prayer time with praise and before I begin my requests, I

Now spend a few moments thanking God that

my problems will not overwhelm me

He brings beauty from the ashes of my life

my problems can become my testimonies

my problems can work together for my good

I have His words to guide me

He is always with me and I can never loose Him

Next I thank God for

Jesus’s sacrifice and the sure hope of heaven

the life Jesus lived and the example He gave

the Holy Spirit’s constant companionship and the guidance, instruction, and encouragement He gives

   Being a missionary’s mom presents challenges that could be overwhelming. Yet I know God equips me with the necessary tools to prevent that from happening. Focusing on what I have to be thankful for is a powerful weapon against the fiery darts fed by self-focus. It corrects my focus and puts it where it needs to be (off myself and onto God). And I find a peace there that sustains me in this ongoing separation from  my beloved’s.

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