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I Choose to Rejoice

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Celebrating with memories of when we were together.

     Birthdays are made for celebration! And I will be honest with you; I would rather celebrate my son’s birthday by baking him a cake, buying him a special present, fixing his favorite meal, or taking him to his favorite restaurant. I would love to be able to invite his sisters and their families and take family photos; lots of family photos. 

     But those options are not available! His living in Africa renders these beautiful ideas impossible. Therefore, I must resign myself to celebrating in ways that overcomes the distance that separate us. 

     And thanks to that splendid satellite that circles the earth, I can pick up my cell (smart) phone and delight in spending a few moments of face to face contact. Made possible through the technology of FaceTime. 

     It’s been seven years my son and his precious family have been living in Africa. So, I have had lots of time to figure out ways to celebrate birthdays via long distance. It’s my only option. An option I must accept.  I must open myself up to how God would want to bless us. 

     I know that God will shower His grace upon me, and supply all my needs. He will bless us in ways we can’t even imagine. The key is to be obedient. Cooperate with God as He gives us the desire and power to please Him. 

     My experience has been that I can accept God’s will and rejoice, or reject God’s will and be burdened with sadness.

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I CHOOSE TO REJOICE

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.

Communication makes hard things doable!

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 My son and daughter-in-law have traveled to a city where she can get a medical checkup concerning her pregnancy and to take care of all those things missionaries have to take care of to resupply.  Had to have some work done on their truck and get new tires for it.  Seems the wear and tear on vehicles there is monstrous!   But the great thing for me is that they are able to access the internet and our communication has increased abundantly.  Still hoping for a video chat and hopefully that will happen soon.

My sweet daughter-in-law did something pretty wonderful for her family back home and I highly recommend that if you have missionary kids you ask them to do the same for you.  She gave us a glimpse via the family blog of a day in their life.  She started with their wake up time in the morning and took us through a typical day.  She spiced the blog up with pictures of the things she was describing.  YOU MUST DO THIS FOR IT HELPS SO MUCH!

I can’t remember if I’ve shared this or not, but before my son and daughter-in-law left, we came up with the idea of a family blog.  The only readers of it are just us!  Often times missionaries have to be illusive about giving out information for security reasons, so a blog limited to just a few people is a helpful way to communicate and be protective of them.

Also, in my blog I deliberately try limiting the information I share on it.   The old adage, It’s better to be safe than sorry, is a good one to go by.  So when communicating online with your missionaries decide before they leave what to say and what not to say.  We live in a different day and giving out too much information could put them at risk, so get all that nailed down on the front end.

Tips:

I don’t use their names very often.

         I don’t give out place names very often either and when I do it’s broad.

         Know the security level for your missionaries.

3 is the highest; 1 is the lowest

         If it’s ‘3’ then you should come up with code words for the things you want to

communicate to them about.

If you blog, then be careful of the type of information you give out on it.  Don’t give out too many details.

Also, a blog like a family blog is helpful–limit the number of people who can read it and/or post on it.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Remember, you are going to have times when missing them becomes very hard, but being able to see their faces (pictures, video chatting)  and reading their posts online and through email are the ways God provides for you to be able to deal with the separation.  Even though there’s an constant ache in my heart (and now with a grandchild on the way, whew it’s going to be even more intense) God’s grace proves time and time again to be sufficient.  God didn’t just call my son and daughter-in-law to be missionaries but called their families to let them go as well.

When God calls you to something, He always equips you to be able to deal with the difficulties that calling will place on your life.

So while I would prefer to have my son and daughter-in-law living here in the United States, the reality is that they do not.  I’ve got to depend upon and trust God to help me with the hard things, especially with the separation that this reality brings.  Wishing it wasn’t so just complicates everything.  Accepting God’s will brings peace.  Therefore, I choose peace!On our sunset cruise!                                          A moment we captured of our sunset cruise.

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