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Traditions, Keeping Us Close

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Sleepy Hollow dvd

This is the original VHS we watched!

   Celebrating our family traditions gets a bit tricky when distance is factored in.  One in particular, is a tradition I like to celebrate every autumn. Ever since my children were little, come September I would pull out the fall decorations to set the stage for watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow video. And not just any video by this name! Nope, it had to be the Disney version narrated by Bing Crosby! (pictured above)

   I have a rich store of memories of my four children and I viewing that video! Eventually, grandchildren came along. And as soon as September appeared on my calendar, out came my autumn decorations and out came that video. A cozy time,of eating pumpkin shaped shoppingcandy while listening to Bing’s narration is permanently etched in my memory? 

   Children move away. And you might think they would all be done with this particular autumn revelry. That, I discovered, wasn’t necessarily the case! Even as adults, my children perpetuate this traditional autumn happening in their own homes!

   For example, I fondly remember  delivering my son his own DVD of Sleepy Hollow, after he and his wife moved away to attend college in Texas (photo below). No, they didn’t have children yet. But that didn’t matter. The point was to keep the memories flowing as we continue to observe this tradition. 

bobby & me sleepy hollow

You just don’t ever grow out of some things

disney leg of sleepy hollow

Updated a few years ago to the this DVD

   Perhaps because of the direction God was calling him, my son determined family traditions would keep the vast distances that would separate us from seeming so vast. Thus perpetuating the tradition of watching Sleepy Hollow would serve that purpose.

   Now he is in Africa. Just the other day I pulled out the Sleepy Hollow video. Though no grown up children, or young grandchildren were present, viewing it  brought them close. Remembering  special moments like the photo above,  I snapped a picture and texted it to my son, with the caption you see here. Interestingly, he had just read the story to his sons. Watching the video will soon occur.

watching sleepyhallow

Missing You!

Distance may separate us in miles, but the traditions we carry over will keep us close!

 

 

 

 

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It’s All the Same to Me!

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hum n flowers

 

   I just read an article by CHAD BIRD | JULY 26 2018, entitled Let’s Stop Romanticizing Missions.  Basically, I think he is asking us to examine our expectations of God and how He works in our everyday lives as well as life on the mission field. 

   I think the unrealistic expectation of how God works in our lives and our missionaries lives is problematic. If our expectations are flavored too much by our flesh or the world, then we will likely be blind to how God works in our every day lives, as well as life on the mission field. 

   Those of us who are parents & families of missionaries perhaps have a more realistic view of life on the mission field. I suppose the sacrifices we had to make in releasing our loved ones to their calling, has brought reality up close and personal. 

   This realism helps us get a clearer picture about what serving God looks like. Because we have witnessed our children on the mission field dealing with financial problems, relationships problems, health problems, with emotional and spiritual problems (basically the same problems we encounter), we understand that God works the same no matter where we serve. Our context may be different, but how God deals with us is common to all. 

   As parent’s of missionaries, we have a unique responsibility to help others recognize that serving God looks and feels the same no matter where they serve. This should help others be more realistic about recognizing the work of God in their everyday lives and clearer about how God works in the lives of those serving on the mission field. Which, I believe, will enhance our perspective and service in our personal walk with God and how we support our missionaries.

Sweetness in the sacrifices

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   I have 10 grandchildren. Eight of them live here in the States. Two of them live out of country. Recently, I was able to gather, from 3 different states, my stateside grandchildren (ages 6 to 13)  for what we have come to call “Nammy Camp.” It’s a time of good old fashioned fun; like swimming in Nammy’s above ground pool, gathering the extended family for a cook out, eating meals outside on Nammy’s picnic table, riding Great Grandma’s Kawasaki Mule vehicle, exploring the woods, taking walks, having a water balloon fight, cooking delicious cakes and brownies, playing chess, rising early to see the sunrise, chasing fireflies at twilight. Basically, spending a lot of fun time using the ole imagination! Missing my two youngest grandchildren the whole time. 

roscoe and shep

   But it’s important to keep it all in perspective. We knew when my son and daughter in law left for Africa life would change. Our son and his family left their stateside family to share the good news about Jesus to people who hadn’t been reached before. In order for them to do that, sacrifices had to be made. 

   Sacrifices like making memories without all the grandchildren present. I won’t sugar coat it and say, “Oh, it’s not so bad!” But honestly, it is. But I’m wise to the fiery darts of negative thinking that would have me focus on my losses. God’s grace and mercy enable me to direct my focus on what I am gaining. Like the blessings of grandchildren no matter where they are. The benefits enjoyed by those who get to hear about Jesus because we all were willing to make the sacrifices. Filling up my mind with these beautiful thoughts, leave little room for negativity. 

   It’s a discipline that I have to practice consistently. But when I do, life is sweeter for the effort. 

Obey and Release!

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   Twelve years ago my son left his homeland to serve God overseas. Since that time he has married, he and his wife have had two boys, and they are now living in their 4thforeign country.

   I began writing this blog when my son and daughter in law first left for Africa. I wrote it for a two-fold reason. As therapy for myself–it helps a lot to put my feelings into words. And to help other mom’s who might be facing the journey I was about to embark upon. I saw myself as a trail blazer for them.

   I am now in the 12thyear of this journey.  And experience has brought many things into it’s proper perspective.  I’ve had to learn how to get my ‘self’ out of the way! Not so easy to do my dear readers. For those first few days were a train wreck in intensity! All I could think about was the vastness of space and time that now separated my son and I. Yet, I remember coming to the realization that my son’s work could be positively or negatively affected by the manner in which I handled this separation. 

   I had to learn how to cooperate with God as He gave me the desire and power to do what pleased Him; not myself. When I did, I avoided the bondage of feeling cheated because I didn’t get to have my son and his family near me to enjoy and make memories with.  

    I have three daughters who up until recently lived in the same state with me. Now, only one daughter and her family live nearby. I have had to draw again and again upon those valuable lessons learned twelve years past as I released two daughters and their families to go and do God’s bidding. 

   It’s hard to do such releasing, but I don’t care to be miserable because my babes are too far away. It’s not easy to lay aside your personal pain. But if we let our pain become our focus, it will destroy us. It will also hamper the work God calls our children to. Instead, we can choose to enjoy the blessings and comforts God is so good to give us when we choose to obey and release!

 

Supplying above and beyond what we ask for!

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   You know sometimes we just need a friend! Someone to come alongside us. Someone to share the workload. Someone who thinks like we do. Someone who could give us a fresh perspective. Someone who could offer encouragement when needed. Oh I could go on, but the following verse pretty much nails it.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

   When my son and daughter in law, and their team mate moved to a new mission field, I began to specifically pray for God to supply friends for them. My prayers covered a broad range of reasons of why I felt they needed friends. 

   Recently, I learned plans are in the making for a family to move to the city where my son is now living. The really cool thing is that their friendship began back in the States. Their friendship has a history. I am confident their history will serve them well in their future. 

  It has been my experience that when we pray for God to supply a need, He characteristically goes above and beyond what we asked for. He certainly has proven that to be true in this case. 

Not Without God!

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   I grew up on a farm, with three other siblings. The cultural way of things was to grow up, earn a living, get married, and raise a family all within the confines of our place of origin. And that’s pretty much the way it played out, until I came along!

   In my early 20’s, God dramatically changed the course of my life. Leaving behind everything that was familiar to me, and stepping out in faith, I moved to a different city and enrolled in college. 

  Then surprisingly about 30 years ago, God lead my husband to pastor a beautiful local church near my parent’s home. During that time our girls headed off to the college my husband and I had attended. My son was preparing to farm (for we now lived on the farm where I had grown up) when he graduated from high school.

   One by one my daughters married and moved away from home. Although, I  released each of my children to serve God wherever He called them to, the release, nevertheless,proved to be painful. Then, as in my life as a young adult, God dramatically changed the course of my son’s life, eventually, leading him to Africa. 

   My spiritual background equipped me to do what my cultural background could not. I knew what it was like to leave the familiar behind to follow God’s call. As I released each of my 4 children, I drew upon those lessons learned in my young adult years. Did those lessons serve to make it easier on me to release my children? Nope, not at all! But the Truth’s of God’s word made it doable.

God gave me permission to hurt and cry out to Him in my pain.

His grace was poured out upon me and I received His peace.

Day by day He carried me until I could, with His strength, stand on my own.

I learned that no matter how hard it was, God would be there giving me strength.

   No matter how proud we may be of our children’s achievements, letting go of them is super hard. Therefore, we need to call upon something other than our own strength and will. I couldn’t have done it without God. I suspect you can’t either!

A Missionary’s Birthday

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This photo of my son and I and the exquisite landscape  of the Isle of Arran, Scotland 

   Today is my son’s birthday. As you may have noticed, his birthday is right before Mother’s Day. God presented me with the most precious Mother’s Day gift ever on 5/10/83!

   Even though the ocean separates us, he is only a phone call away, thanks to the internet! It’s comforting to hear the sound of his voice. Funny too, because I could hear the squeals and laughter of his sons! They were attacking him while we were trying to talk. Oh, this mother’s heart is full!

   I want to thank all of the thousands (maybe even millions) of people who pray for our missionaries on their birthdays. May I remind you that even though you may not know my son, the Holy Spirit knows everything there is to know about him.  He knows what his needs are today. He knows what my son’s prayer requests are this day. I am confident that the Holy Spirit will interpret your prayers. 

    And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27

   This Mother’s heart is comforted by the knowledge and truth of the above verse. Never take for granted the power of your prayers as you intercede for our missionaries on their birthdays. Their mother’s depend on them.

 

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