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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. 

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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.

 

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. 

 

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!

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   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.
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   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!

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