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Releasing is Doable!

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When my two oldest daughters were in middle school and my two youngest were in elementary school, we moved to my family’s farm. It’s an idyllic setting to raise a family. Room to roam and plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Opportunities to bond and store up bountiful memories.

But over the course of time each ventured out to follow the course God had laid out for them. Mingled among the bounty of golden memories, were painful letting go memories. For me, the progression of releasing one then another was painful. Yet, as God guided and instructed my fledglings, I found Him guiding and instructing me as well.

At present I have a daughter in Texas, one in New Jersey, one a 35 minute drive from my house, and a son 1 1/2 hour’s drive away. And for the first time in 11 years we were able to celebrate Christmas all together. Worth the wait though!

Often I ponder where they will all settle. My heart’s desire is that eventually my two out of state daughters and our missionary son will, like their sister, find their journeys leading them closer to home. I talk to the LORD about this frequently. I’m grateful for His listening ear. And although He allows me to express my heart to Him concerning my children, I know it is His will that takes priority over mine.

I know that the safest place on earth for them is in the center of His will. Now I’m not naive enough to assume this means they will be free from trials and troubles. Not at all! It’s just that being in the center of God’s will ensures their spiritual safety. His resources are always accessible to them, no matter what they might be going through. There is an abundance of assurances throughout the Bible regarding the spiritual safety of being in the center of God’s will. Consider the following:

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

With a son and his family living in conflict zones, and daughters living miles and miles from us, I have known the comfort and assurance offered by God to carry me through these trying moments. And while releasing my children and grandchildren to follow His will never is easy, God always makes sure that I find it doable.

God’s continuing faithfulness

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   Being a pastor’s family, getting to meet real live missionaries wasn’t an uncommon thing for us. I was always inspired by their testimonies and was curious about their uncommon lifestyles. But I dared not allow it to go any further.

Why?

   Because I feared what would be required of me if God called any of my children as missionaries.  So, I just lived in the moment, cherishing the time & space that I shared with my precious children, and tried not to think too much about what God might require of them (or me) in the future. 

   But eventually, the day came when God tenderly and lovingly sat me down and had me face this issue. It was a crisis moment for me. But I vividly remember laying it out before the LORD, in this manner.

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Dear LORD, I believe with all my heart that the safest place on earth for my children is in the center of Your will. But You know that I can’t bear the thought that Your plans for them someday might be to transplant them somewhere far from me. (I was sobbing at this point in my praying) Nevertheless, I surrender each one of them to You, and I will raise them to seek to be in the center of Your will. But would you please make it possible for me to go and visit them wherever You might lead them? But if this is not to be, I will trust You to make a way for me to do what I cannot do in my own strength.

And the results of such a prayer?

   While that prayer of release drained me, at the same time it set me free. The fiery dart of fear that had held sway over my mother’s heart, no longer held me in its suffocating grip. For God kept reminding me that His love for my children was far greater than I could imagine. He had wonderful plans for them (Jeremiah 29:11) and my job was to encourage my children to seek God’s best. God’s grace empowered me to do this (Philippines 4:13) and His grace (in my weakness) has always proven sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

   Now, here I am, 3 daughters married to ministers, and a son, living with his family in a far off land as a missionary (with 2 of my grandchildren, I might add). And while it’s not easy to live life separated from my son, the fact that 2 of my daughters (and 5 of my grandchildren) now live less than an hours drive and the other daughter (and 3 of my grandchildren) live less than 5 hours drive, is my sustaining comfort.

  God has indeed been faithful in providing the way and means for me to visit each of my daughters when they lived in other states. And only God could have provided for me to fly half way across the globe to be with my son. (Philippines 4:19)

   To this very day, God’s faithfulness continues!

 

 

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. 

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