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Defeating the fear, one day at a time.

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I can remember as I was raising my four children the conflict of emotions I had about how to pray for their future. I prayed like most Christian mothers that God would keep them in the center of His will. That nothing would distract them from the path that God has chosen for them. Yet I harbored a fear of where that path might lead them. The thought that God might plant their roots far away from home made my heart tremble. And the most troubling thought of all was, “What if God called them to a foreign land?”

I think that I’m not alone in confessing such a fear. But who wants to be this transparent? People might criticize us for not having enough faith. So I hid this fear deep within my heart. I remained quiet during conversations about children venturing on paths that led them away from home base .

For some of us releasing our children to move distances away is like ripping out our hearts. I heard a father use just those words to describe his emotional battle of sending his daughter off to a foreign country as a missionary. My own aching heart went out to him.

Words like, “You must be so proud of your child,” almost made me angry. Of course, I was proud of my child. But do you think that proclamation alone would be the cure all for my heart’s traumat? Not for me it wasn’t!!!!

So allow me to share how I traversed the challenging path on which God led me. A journey that resulted in two of my 3 daughters living in far away states and an only son living the missionary life in a foreign country. It happened one day at a time. God comforted me with the assignment to make the most of the years He would be giving me in raising my children. Not to allow my fears to influence me to hold back in training them to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

God put my heart at ease. I continued praying for my children to choose God’s will for their lives. In this case, I kept my focus on cherishing the present and trusting God to handle their future .Therefore, as my trust grew, my fear subsided. So much so that by the time it came to release my children, my fear had been defeated. Without the distraction of fear, I was free to take advantage of the comfort I sorely needed to successfully release my children to follow the path God had planned for them.

Being Anxious=Crossing Bridges Before You Get to Them!

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My son and daughter-in-law are back in the capital and we are communicating online again.  About every 6 weeks they make this 2-day journey so between those times we get to talk on our cell phones (which works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t).  I was especially excited b/c their post on the family blog was enhanced by pictures of my beautiful daughter-in-law’s ever expanding baby bump.  My son’s smile in those pictures communicates a new dad who is eager to take on the daddy role!  My daughter-in-law is glowing.  She surely seems to have a grasp of the wonder of becoming a mother.

My days are now filled with the anticipation of my new grandson’s birth and eventually getting on that plane to travel 27 hours so I can hold him in my arms.  Lots of details to work out  b/c we still have to apply for visa’s, get shots, and gather all the Christmas stuff we want to take plus goodies for our grandson and his parents.  (Not sure how much room we will have to take personal items for ourselves! Oh well,)  Daily I pray for God’s help in working out all those details and that we would not overlook any important ones.

Sometimes I feel that I have no idea of how it’s going to be for my husband and I to make this trip, spend glorious time with our loved ones, then have to eventually return home.  I anticipate (more like dread) that parting time.  But I’m learning that trying to cross a bridge before you get to it is pretty foolish.  Not only that, but it spoils the time we have to enjoy in preparing for our journey at present.  But God, understanding the temptation I would have in worrying about tomorrow, gives me the following verses:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself.”  Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

So how do I not worry about tomorrow?  Please read the following:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippines 4:6-7 (NIV)

Therefore, between now and then, I will do my best at focusing on and being obedient to what God has called me; trusting Him to take care of the future and depending on Him to help me cross those bridges when (and only when) I get to them.

I say to myself–

Okay, Janet, take a deep breath, relax, and keep your focus!  God has always been faithful in your past; He will continue to be faithful in your present, and your future as well.  With God’s help, I can do this thing!

So to anyone preparing or hoping to make a journey to visit your loved ones on their mission field, I think the best advice would be to focus on the above verses.  He really has the hard part, doesn’t He?  But after all, He’s God; I think he can handle this one:)

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