As you know, my husband and I (along with our 3 daughters and their families) recently sent our son and daughter-in-law off to the foreign mission field.  It’s been about 2 months since they left and surprisingly my heart is still beating!  I don’t say that flippantly for saying goodbye to them was the emotional equal of having my heart ripped from my body.

Back in September my husband and I attended the appointment service for our son and daughter-in-law.  The appointment service was the finale to a series of meetings held for the new missionaries to prepare them for their new life overseas.  As missionary parents, my husband and I, along with our daughter-in-law’s parents attended a meeting as well.  I will never forget the heart cry made by a missionary’s dad as he honestly and courageously spoke the words every parent in the room must have been feeling.  I know I was! This dad’s daughter was about to leave the country and take his grandchildren with her.  He had resigned himself to their leaving but in his words, “this is killing me!”

I’ve heard that it is harder on the missionary parent to send off their children and/or grandchildren than it is for the missionaries who leave.  From what I’ve experienced so far, I would have to agree.  There’s a book entitled, Parents as Partners, that gets ‘real’ close to describing the parent’s pain:

Family members left behind–parents, grandparents and siblings–feel a sense of loss when their loved ones go to a foreign field.  Someone has likened it to a death in the family.  There are often the mixed feelings of gratitude for children obedient to God and the real sense of loss when they leave.  Yes, even those who have prayed for missionaries virtually all of their lives and have asked God to send workers into the harvest still feel the hurt of separation when their own go. (p. 117)

My journey of 2 months as a missionary mom has been both painful and rewarding.  I don’t have room in this blog to describe all that God has done in my life to prepare me for this journey and to supply my every need along the way.  But suffice it to say that though my pain has been intense so has my joy.  God has proven to me over and over again that I need not fret for His grace is sufficient for my every need; not just for me but for my child as well.

So, for those of you who are desperately missing your children and/or grandchildren, I offer this advice, “Stay close to God through prayer and Bible study. For therein lies your greatest and most helpful balm for the pain you are feeling.  Be honest with God about your pain.  Cry out to Him as often as you need to.  Record those verses He uses to sooth your pain. I offer here a few that have sustained me.

Eph 3:20,  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD.  plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.(NIV)

2 Corinthians 12:9, 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.(NIV)

Know that His plan is to repay you for your sacrifice AND you can trust Him to give back to you in excess of what you have given up for Him. I leave this poem with you from the aforementioned book, Parents as Partners, for your comfort and encouragement:

Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious,

Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;

Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious,

And all thy spendest Jesus will repay. (p. 7)