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What’s hard about the holidays?

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   Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is only a few weeks away. People and stores (Who begin way too early. Ooo, don’t get me started) everywhere are gearing up for the celebration. Ever since my son and his precious family left for the mission field, spending holidays without them continues to present challenges. For I don’t get to see the enchantment of Christmas sparkling in the eyes of my 5 year old and 2 year old grandsons. The physical distance between us prohibits the gathering of family around the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Not to mention all the memories such an occasion inspires.

    Out of 4 children, their spouses, and their children (18 individuals in all) only 5 of them now live nearby (about a 30 min. drive away). That is, since one of my daughters and her family recently moved an 11 hour’s drive away. 

   Honestly, (just being transparent here) it doesn’t get any easier as the years and holiday’s pass by. I wish it did though! But, reality is what it is. Sure, I get more use to it. I find a routine that works and a mindset that obstructs the temptation (the fiery darts) to feel sorry for myself. And knowing those 5 individuals are close by reminds me that I still have much to look forward to.  But that is only part of my defense against such self-focus.

   Recently, I’ve been prompted to include in my prayer time a time of thanksgiving. So, I made a list of things in my prayer notebook that I was thankful for. After opening my prayer time with praise and before I begin my requests, I

Now spend a few moments thanking God that

my problems will not overwhelm me

He brings beauty from the ashes of my life

my problems can become my testimonies

my problems can work together for my good

I have His words to guide me

He is always with me and I can never loose Him

Next I thank God for

Jesus’s sacrifice and the sure hope of heaven

the life Jesus lived and the example He gave

the Holy Spirit’s constant companionship and the guidance, instruction, and encouragement He gives

   Being a missionary’s mom presents challenges that could be overwhelming. Yet I know God equips me with the necessary tools to prevent that from happening. Focusing on what I have to be thankful for is a powerful weapon against the fiery darts fed by self-focus. It corrects my focus and puts it where it needs to be (off myself and onto God). And I find a peace there that sustains me in this ongoing separation from  my beloved’s.

Facing a long distance crisis!

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   What do you do when you live in the African bush and your son tries to climb up a bookcase, falls to the floor and hits his head, resulting in grogginess and vomiting? First,you alert the prayer warriors then get busy about the business at hand. And in my grandson’s case, my son called upon the services of a missionary airline who flew close to where my son and his family lived and picked them up. Within a few hours my grandson was flown to the nearest hospital for a CT scan which revealed he had not suffered a concussion! X-rays were taken and the next day, the pediatrician read them giving the good news that my grandson was okay.

How do we (my husband and I, plus his sisters, plus great grandparents) handle such long distance crisis?

   In our situation our reaction mode was to fall upon our knees and pray, call the prayer warriors to intervene on our grandson’s behalf, draw from the strength of God’s Word, and rest in the knowledge that God is faithful and in control of every detail.  All this, while the crisis across the world from us was being played out.
   Then as we prayed, we stay glued to our computers, searching social media for any word as to how things were going. Or we may walk around with our cell phones in our hands to immediately respond to any news, not in a worried mode but all the time focusing on God’s power and faithfulness.

I ask one more question, “How on earth do we pull this off?”

   For me, it is possible because years ago, I surrendered my children to the only One who could always be with them, who would never leave them, and who would know exactly what to do and what to provide in any crisis situation. I prayed that they would always seek to be in the center of God’s will, and when, in my son’s case, that transported him to the other side of the world, the best thing to do for all concerned was to submit to the plans God had for him. In that submission, I was supplied with all that I needed as I walked this journey of release.
   When I put all this in its proper perspective, then I see the bigger picture. I see God working in my son’s life as he works to help build God’s kingdom, as He provides and cares for him and his family, as He imparts strength to us to be able to walk these times of crisis being so distant from our loved ones!

Never think that this is easy! We face those temptations of fear, worry, and despair. We are human after all. But we face them down with prayer and faith and those demons weakly retreat!

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