Things I have learned (and continue to learn) along the way?

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When our children stand perched on the edge of our nest, ready to take flight towards their adult future, it’s a breath holding moment for parents. For you see, we have made that journey. And the memories (good and bad) still linger coloring our perspective of what our beloved children might encounter. We question ourselves. Did we do all that we could to prepare them to be successful in their new independence?

And then, coupled with the ominous effort of the ‘letting go’ process, we may question, if we will ever breathe normally again. It takes a mountain of strength to send our fledglings off and then again to let them go. Honestly, I don’t posses that measure of strength in and of myself.

Various phases such as graduating from high school, then college, then marriage, then grandchildren, or moving to far away states and even countries demands strength and wisdom beyond me. So, as a survivor of a quartet of various phases on both the sending off and the letting go; I have a few tips to pass along.

Here’s a sampling of those tips:

Acknowledging that the hill of my personal strength and wisdom were no match for the mountain of challenges I was facing.

Turning to God at every phase of my children’s journeys, gathering the tools that He would supply to meet these challenges. Praying for them, being foremost.

Asking for God’s wisdom in discarding the familiar garment of parenting for the unfamiliar garment of counselor. Thanking God for the grace of time. Time to allow God to school me in adjusting to my new garments.

Visualizing them walking towards God’s future for them; not walking away from me.

Learning to focus on what I have gained; not on what I have lost. And keeping my thoughts planted there. I was overwhelmed at times of how God enriched my life experiences via the path He called my children too.

Learning how to lend my full support even if their journey leads them further and further away from home. Tempering my prayers with “God’s will to be done, even over my will.”

Focusing on the incredible blessing of the technology God has provided, allowing my children and I to maintain a sense of connection no matter how far apart we may be.

Trusting God for not only the details of their future; but mine as well.

Accepting Reality

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   Now and then the separation gets to us. Just being honest here. Having moved well on down the path of this missionary parent journey, I have been empowered by God’s grace and mercy to accomplish the letting go process. “Yes, I can do this!” 

     But I’m learning that while I CAN DO this, it’s a process that is ongoing. It’s not a one time experience. Having to let go of my son and his family, did help me when the time came to also let go of two of his sister’s and their families. I had done it before, and I drew on the strength I was given then so I could do it again. 

     Yet time and time again the pain of missing my children and their families keeps reoccurring. Confession time, “I’m not a super Christian.” I see other families who live close to each other and sometimes I envy them. Yep, I do!

     However, what I keep coming back to is, “This is MY reality!” This is what God has chosen for me. My children have made their choices to leave, based on what God has called them to. 

     He has called them, therefore I MUST continue in letting them go! Not letting go will result in problems for them and for me. My unwillingness to release them, places me and them in bondage to my disobedience. 

     Not going to do that folks! Most days, I can accept my reality. But on those days when I am not so successful, I focus my thinking on God’s gifts. Gifts of children who love and obey God are at the top my list. I make a huge mistake when I compare my gift to the ones He has given others. Their gifts are not mine. My gifts are custom designed just for me. It’s important to remember that!




Letting Go; Pain with a Purpose

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bobby & me

The Pain

     Recently I had the sweet privilege of meeting a brand new missionary’s mom. A few days after Christmas her daughter, son in law, and one year old granddaughter will leave for the mission field. She is about to embark upon a difficult journey. The same journey that I began January 4, 2012. I have been where she is about to go. And because I was standing there in front of her, living and breathing (and smiling), she has reason to hope!


    I remember that Christmas in 2011. We had enjoyed a Christmas for the memory books. All 17 of us (at that time) sharing, laughing, cooking, then snacking and overeating, watching White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Christmas in Connecticut, Muppet Christmas Carol (that’s just the short list). Oh, we packed as much as was possible into those few days before my son and daughter in law left for the mission field. We had a bulging album of pictures and memories before it was all said and done.

     But the dreaded day came, nevertheless! It’s strange how; yes we can feel pride for our children for answering the call to missions. But honestly, when describing the feelings I felt on that day when we stood on the porch waving our last goodbye, the feeling of pride evaded me.  I kept thinking about how life here was now going to happen without my son and daughter in law.  And their lives were now going to happen without us.

     Yet through it all, I never felt abandoned by God or that all of this was impossible for me to deal with. He was faithful in sending me to verses that addressed my pain. (like Psalm 30:5b, Weeping may be for a night, but joy comes in the morning) Verses like this and so many more empowered me to keep putting one foot in front of the other and breathing in and out consistently.

The Purpose

     My new friend has God’s faithfulness to look forward to (and so does anyone facing a similar situation). God’s grace will enable her to do the difficult things she will be called upon to handle. God’s word will guide her, lift her up, sustain her, comfort her, and bless her with peace that passes understanding.

     The beauty of it all is that by cooperating with God in the letting go process, we are being prepared to serve God more effectively. Our letting go serves a purpose! We are not hurting in vain. For the comfort we receive from God can serve to help others who are hurting as we have. 


Willing to Go; Willing to Release!

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    I write this post for the benefit of the parents of a young couple I know who with their two small children are about to leave home to spend some time in training prior to moving to a foreign land as missionaries. 

     The separation these parents are about to experience is painful! And no amount of pride in their children for what they are about to do can lessen the pain they will encounter. 


     Having walked the path these precious parents are about to embark upon, I can assure them that even though the pain will be intense, the pain will not overwhelm them! That truth was my mainstay during those days and kept my heart from shattering. I refer my readers to the post below. (I have already referred it to the parents.)


    It’s been almost 3 years since our son and daughter in law left for the mission field (and blessed us with a grandson almost 2 years later). I have discovered some pretty wonderful things about God since that eventful episode of release.

God’s grace is sufficient in all things!

God will never leave me nor forsake me (nor my children)!

My joy can only be described as ‘indescribable”!

I have peace that defies explanation!

I have a new purpose (ministering to other parents of missionaries)!

I have been to places that most people only get to dream about! (and we are making plans to visit yet another dream place) 

     And all of this is ours (my husband and I) to know because our son and daughter in law were willing to go; and we were willing to release them!

Note to parents:

     There have been more truths that God has lovingly revealed to me but I don’t have room left in this post to list them.  So, my dear parents, just suffice it to say, that I wouldn’t change places with anyone after what I have experienced since my son moved to the mission field. You won’t either, I am confident!



We can do this hard thing!

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Bound for Missions!

When God called my only son to serve Him on the foreign mission field, as his mom I received a call as well.  It was my responsibility to support my son as he prepared for his calling and when the time came, to give him up and send him off to follow God’s leading.

Many years ago, I settled something with God about my children (my 3 daughters and 1 son).  The safest and best place on earth for them was in the center of God’s will.  I raised them with this in mind.  This was a scary thing for me to do because immediately I was tempted with a powerful fiery dart, “What if God calls them to Africa?”  That was a significant question for me because years earlier when I was 21 years of age I had  proven to myself and God that I was serious about my renewed commitment to Him by declaring, “God, even if you call me to Africa, I will go.”  As it turned out I became a minister’s wife, raised 4 children, and taught in public school.

Was I relieved that God didn’t call me to Africa?  Honestly, I think I was.  Mainly because I don’t think my parents would have been able to handle me doing something like this and then to take their grandchildren so far away would have been too hard for them to understand.  Yet, in spite of that, I know that if He had of called me there, I would have gone.  How do I know this?  Because when God called my son to leave his birth land and establish his home on this “dark” continent, I understood the importance of being willing to follow God no matter what and I was empowered by my own experience years ago to release my son.

This was confirmed as my daughter-in-law hugged me for the last time and whispered to me, “Thank you for supporting us like you have.  It makes it so much easier on us to do this.”  I understood what she meant because Bobby had served for 2 years in South America and making sure he did not have to worry about how I was doing was a burden I was determined he would not have to carry.

This time then would be no different.  I faced this test with a strong trust in God that not only would He equip my son and daughter-in-law with everything they needed to be successful in following God’s will, He would give me everything I needed to let them go.

God has been faithful and 4 days after I tearfully hugged my son for the last time, I find that I AM stronger.  Two days of severe emotional pain taught me that surrender is often painful but not life threatening.   I know I have a ways to go before the tears are not always on the verge of spilling down my face, but I am confident that day will come.  Sometimes you are just going to hurt. But like the Scriptures promise, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

You see, in my church there are several young people who have answered the call to foreign missions.  Therefore, the mom’s of these young people are approaching the path on which I now find myself.  So as Bobby, in a sense, is blazing the trail for these young people, so must I blaze the trail for the path their mom’s are facing.  I feel that for their sakes I must  depend upon the LORD to  minister to me as I walk this path so that I can minister to them when their time comes to surrender their children. And by God’s strength we will all discover that we too can do this hard thing!

Pam & Evan - One of the mom's I posted about!

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