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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.

Not just another homecoming!

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  My excitement builds as we get closer and closer to April (that’s when I will lay my eyes on  and wrap my arms around my son, daughter in law, and my 3 year & 1 year old grandsons). Plans are in the making and for some of them we are running out of time. I suppose I will probably have to accept that some things just won’t get done. I have a hard time with that but what will be will be. I purpose to  keep my focus on the important stuff!

   A lot of things are racing around in my mind. For you see, my grandsons have never seen most of the people in their family (this is not the land of their birth as it is for their parents), my son and daughter in law have been living in a new land (with new people, new climate, new culture, new friends–most of whom we have never met). I’ve been warned that they will experience what is referred to as reverse culture shock. Sounds ominous doesn’t it!

   I’ve got a feeling we can’t expect just because they are coming home that this will  be just another homecoming, that everyone will just pick up where we left off 4 years ago! For during those 4 years we have moved forward without them and they have moved forward without us. Now our lives will be blended once more (but only temporarily; that’s an adjustment all by itself, sigh). We will all have to make the necessary adjustments, while always being sensitive to what each other’s needs are. But not sure at this point what that is suppose to look like!

   So in order to gain some insight into all of this, I am reading blogs about what this re-entry process (for them and for us) involves and am trying to prepare myself for the little surprises along the way.  We will learn from this (probably by making a few mistakes–I hope it’s only a few) and next time we travel this path we will possess a more realistic perspective about what to expect. So in the meantime,

there’s a verse that has always served me well for occasions such as this:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8 NIV

We certainly have that in abundance and,  in addition, we have a sufficiency of grace, 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

   Therefore we will depend upon Love and Grace to smooth the way before us as we anticipate  this ‘not just another homecoming!’

It’s a matter of obedience!

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Me & my boy! It's a mom thing!

Me & my boy! It’s a mom thing!

     I don’t know if you have noticed or not  that while my blog never plays down the struggles of living so-o-o-o far apart from my child, I always make it clear that God’s love, grace, and mercy champions me in those struggles.  Since releasing my son to the call of missions on his life, joy and peace have been my constant companions and have made what would have been an impossibility in my own strength a glorious possibility in His. (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13)

     I write this blog to encourage other parents who find themselves on a journey such as mine. I want to assure you that releasing your child to missions or whatever God has called them to is not something to fear. (Remember, the safest place on earth is in the center of God’s will!)

     Recently, a grandmother of a brand-new missionary shared with me that she had expressed to  her grandchild her heartfelt wish that she wasn’t going so far away. Her missionary grandchild responded with, “Granma, would you want me to disobey God so I could be near you?”  That grandmother began to understand with greater clarity the priority of obedience. 

     My dear parent, releasing your child to do the work God has called them to is hard, I know! But the pain of releasing your child should not be your focus. Instead, the obedience to release your child should be.  As you obediently release your child, God’s grace, peace, and mercy will wash over you as a soothing balm. Your heart will be comforted; joy and peace will be your constant companions as you make this journey. It’s a blessed life and you will be just as grateful as I am to be living it!

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

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