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Accepting Reality

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   Now and then the separation gets to us. Just being honest here. Having moved well on down the path of this missionary parent journey, I have been empowered by God’s grace and mercy to accomplish the letting go process. “Yes, I can do this!” 

     But I’m learning that while I CAN DO this, it’s a process that is ongoing. It’s not a one time experience. Having to let go of my son and his family, did help me when the time came to also let go of two of his sister’s and their families. I had done it before, and I drew on the strength I was given then so I could do it again. 

     Yet time and time again the pain of missing my children and their families keeps reoccurring. Confession time, “I’m not a super Christian.” I see other families who live close to each other and sometimes I envy them. Yep, I do!

     However, what I keep coming back to is, “This is MY reality!” This is what God has chosen for me. My children have made their choices to leave, based on what God has called them to. 

     He has called them, therefore I MUST continue in letting them go! Not letting go will result in problems for them and for me. My unwillingness to release them, places me and them in bondage to my disobedience. 

     Not going to do that folks! Most days, I can accept my reality. But on those days when I am not so successful, I focus my thinking on God’s gifts. Gifts of children who love and obey God are at the top my list. I make a huge mistake when I compare my gift to the ones He has given others. Their gifts are not mine. My gifts are custom designed just for me. It’s important to remember that!

 

     

 

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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. 

Just ask God!

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Our first send off!

   Getting use to (all over again) staying in contact via electronic media with my son and his family. With all that got thrown at me over the summer, I am beyond grateful that this was not the first send off for my son & his crew. I imagine it would have been overload for me.(But I’m pretty sure God knew that!)

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Our unwelcomed visitor made a fatal decision the day it decided to crawl around the ceiling of our school room!

   At present they are caught up in a big training. However, it’s not taking place in the bush (remember those posts of my time in the bush during one of those trainings????? See above picture!) this time. This time the training is taking place in the village where the team’s basecamp is located. Not nearly as rustic and creature comfort deprived. 

Home Sweet Home!

   I share this because as I hear about their training, I can visualize them in their surroundings. I visited there in 2013 and became familiar with the surrounding physical features and quite a few of the locals. Especially the people they worked and lived with.

  God has been faithful to make it possible for me to make visits to where my children are. Years ago I prayed a prayer of release for my children to serve Him wherever He called them. I asked God to make it possible for me to visit them, if that led them far away. And He has done just that! 

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   Financially, it would have been impossible for me to have come up with the finances for these many trips I’ve been able to make to be with my children. (Just returned from a visit with my daughter in San Antonio). Yet God made it happen!

   If your children wind up living quite a distance from you, I hope you will pray about visiting them. The memories made will sustain you when you are apart. For some of you, this will be a matter of traveling for a few hours here in the good ole USA; for others it will require an expensive airline ticket. Either way, it can present  a crisis of faith. The fiery darts of doubt attack and undermine our faith at times like these. But remember,  you have made a great sacrifice in releasing your children to God. Be assured He desires to bless you abundantly for your obedience. 

 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

So, just ask God and (oh yeah, make sure you have a passport ready if your travel demands)

Here we go again!

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   My son and his family have been here with us since the last of July. On August 31st they will be returning to Africa. During his stay with us, he finished his dissertation! Writing the word ‘finished’ took seconds and in no way reflected the intense scope of the work involved. 

   I will write more about all of this later, for this blog will focus on a surprising bend in the path God has me on at the moment. My youngest daughter along with her husband and two daughters, moved to San Antonio recently. (Aug. 18, as a matter of fact). My son in law is the new Next Gen pastor (abbreviation for Generation) in a church in that city.

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 My daughter first mentioned the possibility of this move way back in April. Emotionally, I was devastated. For 8 years I have savored every moment I had with them. Their firstborn daughter was about 19 months when they moved here from Kentucky. While here, their 2nd born daughter arrived. Those two set about filling my life with joy and laughter. Now all this was coming to a screeching and painful halt!

   Two of my daughters gave birth to girls about 4 months apart. Those little girls formed a friendship from the get go. With a full heart, I have watched their ‘bff’ friendship blossom over the years. I could only imagine how hard this separation would be on them. I hurt for my precious granddaughters as much as I hurt for myself. 

  In an attempt to seek solace, I pulled out the hard copy of my first blog post of Jan. 4, 2012. I spent some time reading over the posts of when I first released my son and daughter in law to the mission field. I was reminded that obedience can be painful but God would not allow it to overwhelm me. 

   I write another blog about the attack of fiery darts or negative thinking. During this summer of extreme highs and lows, I have fought off a barrage of negative thoughts. Past experience kept me grounded in the truth that these attacks would not overwhelm me. Yet, I am battle worn and my strength has been depleted.

However,God in His ever so tender concern (also referred to as grace) has given me the following encouragement.

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

That is my anchor these days! 

  For once again, God understands that this is a painful process. He knows that in spite of the pride I feel for my son and daughter and their spouses for their willingness to go where God leads them, this separation from them (and my grandchildren) is a hard thing.

Dreams, God covers the details!

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You Can’t Buy Happines but you can go to Scotland and that’s pretty much the same thing 

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 For many years I had a dream of traveling to Scotland. Can’t really explain why I became intrigued with that  extraordinary country. Maybe it had something to do with her breathtaking scenery

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or those happy clear water streams of the Highlands. Perhaps it was the appeal of quaint and misty isles that allows one to step back in time to a slower paced life. Possibly it is the lure of the castles, and the images they inspire of knights and jousts, lords and ladies, or kings and queens dressed in medieval array.

   I just know when listening to the captivating music of the kilted bagpipers something deep within my innermost being is stirred. I am at a lost to explain it. But bagpipe music and that lyrical Scottish brogue never fails to draw me in. 

   I did explore the possibility of Scottish roots using the DNA test. While it did not reveal a direct Scottish ancestor, my roots could be traced to the area of Ireland/United Kingdom. I felt I had a good reason to hope my roots could be traced to Scotland, albeit more likely Ireland. But I hold on to that small hope.

   But come Friday, I will travel to Scotland for my third time since 2016. My son and his family have lived there for the past 9 months while my son has been working on his master’s degree in linguistics. We will all return together in early June as his term of study is almost up. He will finish his dissertation in the States and return to the mission field in August. 

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   About 13 years ago, my dream led me to establish an e-pal relationship with a precious pastor’s wife, named Ruth, who like me had 4 children. We formed a sweet friendship. So when my son told me that he was considering studying at the University of Edinburgh, the dream of going to Scotland and seeing my friend face to face began to materialize.

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   Alas, a year before Bob and I, along with our son and his family, actually made it to the shores of Scotland, my dear friend passed away. But her legacy to me was two beautiful daughters that opened their home to us for a visit. My friendship with her blossomed into a friendship with her pastor-husband, an older missionary couple, and the family of a church member. 

   These new dear friends welcomed us to Scotland and went above and beyond in helping our son and daughter in law to get settled in Edinburgh. It would have been so much harder on them were it not for the support of these new friends.

   I wonder, did my dream of going to Scotland have more to do with God providing a support group for my missionary son when he arrived in Edinburgh? I think so, and He granted the fulfillment of a life long dream for me in the process. God covers the details!

Good news for 2017!

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   With all the resetting going on in our mission organization of late, I confess some concern as to  how the organizational reset plans were going to work out.  I was concerned as to how it would affect those, who I have become friends with through my son, who opted to take the volunteer retirement option and how their retirement would affect those continuing to serve. 

   I have been keeping up with my friends who have returned home and are busy resetting their lives here in the United States after serving on the mission field for several years, and I am encouraged by their reports. Thanks to technology, my own missionaries can stay in contact with these seasoned missionaries via long distance to benefit from the wisdom they have gleaned over the years on the field. 

  Therefore, I am grateful to pass along to you this updated report from the IMB concerning the organizational reset process.

Thanks to Southern Baptists, IMB in ‘much healthier financial position’

RICHMOND, Va.—The International Mission Board expects to operate a balanced budget for 2017 due to its 2015-16 organizational reset processes and the generosity of Southern Baptists who have given sacrificially, IMB President David Platt told the organization’s board of trustees during its February 22-24 meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

“IMB is now in a much healthier financial position,” Platt said. “Due to increased giving from Southern Baptist churches, Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering giving are trending upward.”

Click on the following link for more details:

http://imb.org/updates/storyview-4471.aspx#.VuG454Rb_FI

Living apart; not desirable but doable!

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   When I think of my beloved son, daughter in law, and 2 young grandsons (one about to become a 3 year old) living on the other side of the world apart from me, I stand amazed at the work of grace in my heart enabling me to manage this. I recall those early days when my son and daughter in law first said goodbye to us and those lonely empty months afterwards. At times I felt such a heaviness I almost couldn’t breathe. But time keeps a steady pace and eventually the darkness of my grief gave way to the light of God’s grace. So, I know what you mom’s are going through when you send your precious treasures, your children, off to a land far away.

 

(If you are fresh into this life experience and you need a lifeline as you travel this painful path [no sugar coating here; it hurts], refer to my initial post, The Journey Begins, 1/4/2012. The the posts thereafter give you a transparent view of how God’s grace and comfort established my bearings. If you are having a hard time and need to communicate further, just send me a comment and I will give you my email address.)

 

   Now here I am 4 years later and in 6 months my beloveds will be returning home for a few months. No more video chats (for awhile) for we will see them face to face. No more mailing packages and wondering if they will ever get them. When we want to give them a gift, we will simply hand it to them. Ahhhh, how I look forward to that! When I want to read my grandsons a story, I will pull them up into my lap and let the enchantment begin. When I want to listen to my son play his banjo, I will simply ask him for a concert. When I want us to have some mother and son time, we will plant ourselves on the front porch swing or take a walk down the mini replica of the Appalachian trail near our house. My daughter in law loves to go grocery shopping and with a Kroger and a Walmart within 10 minutes from our house, we will shop till we drop!

   During those first few months, I couldn’t imagine if I would ever be able to talk about my son and his family without crying. But you know what, I can. Oh, I might still choke up a bit now and then. But after experiencing the constant love and care from my heavenly Father throughout these past 4 years in enabling me to live life separated from my son, I know a peace that passes all understanding. And it’s all a part of God’s plan to give us the kind of joy that causes the pain to subside and become manageable. And while I may not have desired to live so far apart from my son, I am finding that by God’s loving grace it is doable!

 

 

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