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Peace in the Storms; Courage in Crises

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Having to love and support family from afar is never so difficult as when our loved ones are caught up in a time of crises. It is the intensity of such times that they and their families back home are all called upon to perform acts of courage they really did not think they were capable of.

For how does one sort through the myriad of decisions that requires a sound mind to guide one’s family safely through risky and at times even dangerous situations? And for those back home holding their breath as they wait for assurances their loved ones are safe? How do they keep from worrying themselves sick?

I mentioned previously that situations like these bring forth courage. But how does one put aside the fear, worry, and stress long enough to take on courageous? The reality is that in the face of such challenges the temptation to give into the fear, etc. is stronger than we realize.

Personally, I discovered the only way I could reject fear and worry was to tune my hearing to only one voice. When I did the peace that passes all understanding calmed my heart and ruled over my fear. That kind of peace is only accessible from God.

How, can one avoid being overcome with fear and worry during such turmoil? But if I have discovered anything in sending my children off to answer God’s call upon their lives is this. “When we answer God’s bidding to follow Him, He equips us to carry out His plan. And as God called them to go, He just as surely called me to let them go.” And though it is hard, it is doable!

So when His calling places us in difficult and even dangerous situations we have the confidence that He is in control. That He will never leave us or forsake us. That we can have peace in the midst of the storm. And for me, that the safest place on earth for my children is in the center of His will.

But this assurance isn’t just for those who are in full time service to God. It’s for any of us who have Christ as our Savior. It’s not an easy life we should pray for. We should pray for a life that knows how to turn to God and seek His purpose for the crises we find ourselves in. That is true for any Christian; not just those on the foreign field.

Safe from Fear!

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     In light of the horrors inflicted upon innocent Christians, Jews, and now US citizens in hotspots across our globe, it seems safe havens are in high demand. Those in dangerous areas are seeking places of safety and security, uprooting their families and enduring hardships beyond imagination to find it. Yes, the temptation for me to fear for the safety of my loved ones and friends living in these foreign lands weighs heavily upon me.

 

A dear lady came to me yesterday in church and asked me, “Wouldn’t you rather they just come home?” 

Whoa! good question but consider the following?

 

     God began teaching me how to deal with fear as my first born daughter  (9 years of age at the time) was home recovering after being hit by a car. I became afraid to let any of my 4 children leave my sight. Fear debilitated me until God got through to me with the realization that I simply couldn’t live in a state of fear! He reminded me, He had a better plan. (Jeremiah 29:11) 

     Then again, as my son through-hiked the Appalachian Trail, He gave me fresh insight on how to trust my child’s well being to Him and built again upon the lessons that released me from the suffocating grip of fear. (Isaiah 41:10)

     Now, God has added new instruction on how to resist the debilitating force of fear. First, He helped me to RECOGNIZE that fear is a fiery dart, a weapon of the evil one to undermine my faith. Second, He empowered me to RESIST it. Third, He supplied me with a Truth thought to REPLACE the thoughts of fear seeking to manipulate me.

 

The Truth Thought that extinguishes the fiery dart of fear?

 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7

 

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     It is a scary thing at times to place your children in the center of God’s will!  The fiery dart of fear will attempt to convince you to do otherwise. But I have learned repeatedly throughout my parenting life that being in the center of God’s will is the safest place on earth for them. I have tried God in this and He has proven over and over that He’s got their well being foremost in His plans. 

     Yes, I am tempted to fear and plead with God to bring my son and his family safely home, but knowing they would have to step outside of God’s will to do that would be asking God to remove His protective hand.

No, I am not willing to ask God to do such a thing. 

It’s a process, so hang in there!

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The Original Six

The Original Six

     The above picture was taken only a few hours before our son and his sweet wife left to head toward a new land and a new life far, far away from us and all that was familiar to them.  You can’t tell by the smiles on our faces that our (especially mine) hearts were breaking. 
     Just a few months later, we welcomed a baby girl into our family as our youngest daughter was pregnant when her brother left. Oh the blessed distraction this little girl was during those struggling days. That was three years ago and since then a new grandchild has been born. But this time we didn’t get to jump into our car and travel to a nearby hospital. Instead, my husband and I jumped aboard a big ole’ jet and flew hours and hours to where our baby grandson, who was a little over a month, lived to hold him and rejoice with his mom and dad. That was a little over a year ago! 
     I compare my life of emails, phone calls, sparse video chats, and a singular visit with my son and his family now, to my life when my son and his wife left to live so very far away. You know, those first days (weeks, no months) there were times when I thought I just can’t do this–it’s just way too hard and it just hurts too bad. But here I am today, 3 years later and my heart has slowly grown stronger. Oh, it’s still painful. I see my little grandson growing up and knowing he has no idea of who I am or that I exist, yes that’s hard but God has equipped me to deal with that so that it doesn’t overwhelm me. 
     The peace that is constant and has been ever since my son first told me he was leaving is with me today, was with me then.  I think of dear young people I know who are heading off to distant lands to serve God and of the families that are having to release them.  Let me remind you, dear people, you can’t do this alone. You MUST hold on to God every minute because without His grace & mercy, the pain will overwhelm you.  Remember, the safest place on earth is in the center of God’s will, and that’s where you and your children must be firmly set. As you and they abide with God in the center of His will, you will be supplied with ALL that you need to see you through the initial goodbye’s and life to be lived apart.
     It’s a process but I speak from experience, it is worth every moment! If you are fresh to this process, I recommend that you go back and read my first blogs after my son left. I hope it will encourage you and give you hope, that your pain won’t always be so constant and will become more manageable. Camp down on the following verse:

Philippians 4:6-7New International Version (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Keeping my focus! Or I will go into panic mode!

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     Just the other day, while sitting beside the creek running through the Christian camp where my son served for several years, I got a call from him.  During the time I had spent at this camp attending a ladies retreat, he had called so that I could tell him all about what I had been doing and who I had talked with.  This place is like a second home to my son and daughter in law.  

     So I filled him in on my activities and then he told me he had some news. Fighting had broken out in the area where he, his family and his team mates serve.  There has been fighting going on in the country for months, but this time it had moved in closer to where they lived.  He told me they were in exit mode while the situation was being monitored.  Their future there is uncertain at present.

     I notified my husband of our son’s news and instead of delivering the sermon he had prepared, he called the church to a season of prayer instead.  All over the sanctuary people were rising to their feet, taking their turn to pray for my son, his family, and their friends who are serving alongside them. When I found out about this, (a friend in the service texted me to tell me what was going on), my mother’s heart was calmed beyond understanding. I camped down on the following verse,

 

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 

     I had my mother’s moment as I shared my son’s news, but God in His loving care, had ordained that I would be sharing this moment with two of my best friends. (They had come along with me to attend the ladies retreat)  Their support and comfort was God’s plan to sustain me during those uncertain moments.  Later in the evening I attended the church that meets at the camp.  They were faithful to ask their members to pray for my son and crew.  

So, why do I share all this with you?

     I want you, my dear readers (especially you mothers of missionaries) to know about God’s faithfulness and loving care to sustain me in this uncertain moment.  Of course, Satan stood ready to shoot those destructive fiery darts which were designed to stir up fear and doubt in my mind concerning my son’s phone call.

 

Read all about fiery darts on my blog:

http://fierydarts.wordpress.com

Or read my book: (you can find it online)

Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

     Satan tempted me with visualizing scenarios that could have pushed me into panic mode, if I allowed myself to ponder them.  But I was wise to his tactics, therefore, I did what I have been trained to do concerning fiery darts. So I did the following: 

I asked God to help me:

1. Recognize the fiery darts

2.  Resist the fiery darts

3. Replace the fiery dart  

with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.          (Philippines 4:8)

     I fought those temptations with the weapons God had given me and a blessed peace came over me that passes understanding. (Philippines 4:6-7)

    It’s a little hard to explain the outcome of the work that God had and continues to do in my heart and mind with my son’s present assignment.  It’s like my heart and mind are in a bubble, protected from thoughts that would serve to take my focus off of God and all that I have entrusted to Him. Sure, I would love to know that my son and his family have been removed from the tense situation they live in.  But I think of the people God has called them to serve and of how desperately they need to receive this news.  My son and crew love these people.  The love they have for them motivates them to do all they can to tell them about Jesus.  

    Therefore, as I trust God to care for my son and his crew during these tense times, I also pray for the people they have been called to serve.  Keeping my focus here, protects me from panic and in its place God provides His peace.

 I could want nothing more!

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