Grace makes the hard stuff doable!

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After our dinner cruise on the Nile River – probably one of the most unforgettable moments of my life – we stayed over in a nearby town with a missionary couple of some friends of my son and daughter-in-law’s.  This couple lived in a sufficient and charming home with two lovely daughters.  I always find it interesting how as Christians you can meet other Christians for the very first time and feel an immediate bond with them.

After enjoying a tasty breakfast and catching up on our email and facebook posts (one of the last opportunities we would have for such activity for quite awhile), we set off for a quaint mountain lodge (a mountain top retreat unspoiled and seemingly hidden away from the rest of the world).

I am a mountain girl at heart, so I was in my element around the happy little  stream that  trickled through the lodge property.  Got my toes wet as is my custom whenever I spy a clear running mountain stream:

Wet feet!

Sipi Lodge

This is the building that housed the restaurant which served some pretty impressive and tasty meals for us during our stay.  Located beside the eating area was a reading/visiting area where we went to visit and relax.  We affectionally called it The Hobbit room b/c it was just that cozy.  Here’s my husband and grandson spending some quiet time together.  Well, maybe not so quiet for the little guy looks like he’s crying.

Grandaddy w/Shep

Grandaddy w/Shep

The cottage hidden by the trees is where we stayed.  We could sit on the back porch (you can see it peeking out from the trees) and have a full view of that beautiful waterfall just beyond.

Our hideaway!

Our hideaway!

There's two!

There’s two!

The above view reveals two waterfalls.  This photo was taken at a different angle from the cottage porch.

Baby on the outside!

Baby on the outside!

On a trip to this lodge before our grandson was born, our daughter-in-law had a picture made in this very spot.  So when she returned after he was born she had another picture taken with baby on the outside!

Here I am with my son after hiking with a guide all the way to the top of the waterfalls.  It was a strenuous hike but well worth it for the memories we made.

On top of the world!

On top of the world!

So what’s my take on all of this?

As I think back over the days I spent trying to prepare myself to deal with having a son living on another continent, I took to heart the thought that God would bless us for our sacrifice.  It didn’t make the pain go away, of course, but that kind of thinking made it more bearable.

So above you see the visual representation of those blessings.  Not only was it a happy time that we packed with memories, those memories continued to sustain us after we returned home.

If you would ask me, which would you rather have–experiences in exotic places with my son or memories with him here at home?  Of course, what mom wouldn’t rather have her children close by.  

BUT that is not what God called my son to do!  The temptations to ponder thoughts contrary to what is reality for us are destructive and would place a burden on all relationships concerned.  

So what do I do instead?

I choose to submit to God’s will and thank Him for a son who loves Him with all his heart and desires to live in the center of His will, and for a daughter-in-law who feels the same way.  When God called my son to missions, He had already begun preparing my heart for the sacrifices it would require of me. Over and over again I have found God’s grace to be sufficient.

Not only have I found peace in all of this, I have experienced more joy than I could imagine.  I know that there will be much to enjoy in the future and God’s grace will continue to be sufficient making the separation that is reality for us doable. 

Abundant Life Indeed – Even though miles apart!


As God would have it, I am adjusting to being a long-distance grandmother.  Not saying I like it, just learning how to deal with it.  After the initial punch in the gut that my new grand baby is going to be born in a land far away, God has had mercy on me and is providing me with the grace I desperately need to accept this.

Sending my son off to this far away land is especially hard for me and now adding to an already hard situation is the fact that his sweet wife is expecting their first child.  Why is this so hard?  Well, several reasons. My son and I are close and over recent years, we have shared many memories and many heart-to-hearts.  He is my only son and came along at a time when I had given up on having a boy.  My husband and I had been abundantly blessed with 3 wonderful (in every way) daughters.  So when I realized that my cup was full to overflowing, I was able to release my desire for a son to God and peace reigned in my heart. Shortly, thereafter, we found out a 4th baby was on its way!  Honestly, I thought I was going to have another girl for I felt that was why God had conditioned me to release my desire to have a son!  Sometimes, God’s ways are past finding out! (Romans 11:33)

Raising Bobby has always been an adventure; not just for me, but for his dad and his sisters as well.  An adventure that has been downright challenging but a whole lot of fun at the same time!  When my son was 10 years of age, we moved to the family farm.  So during some very formative years, he had the privilege of growing up in an environment that reinforced a lot of what we were teaching him in our home.

And as wonderful as it was to raise my children on a farm, it sort of had an adverse affect on me eventually.  For you see, Bobby, for years, felt God was preparing him to become a farmer and that made perfect sense to me.  It gave me such peace in my heart to think that I would not have to worry about him moving off someday, but would have the joy and comfort of him being always nearby.  But that was not to be.  For when Bobby was a senior in high school, about to take up the responsibilities of farming, it was made clear to me that he was not to have that opportunity.  I had to break the news to him and he took it in stride.  His acceptance to this turn of events was my model to trust God to keep Bobby in the center of His will; even though events weren’t working out as we had expected.

After that time in my son’s life, God set him on a completely different course–working for a local industry while being heavily involved in youth work at our church filled up my son’s life.  Then while taking classes at a local community college he met and became friends with a family who would prove to be major figures in his future (his future wife’s family).  This relationship introduced him to an out of state Christian camp where he eventually went to work and live.

After that initial move, life for us became a series of goings and comings.  From camp, to hiking the Appalachain Trail, to 2 years in South America, then marriage, followed by graduation from college for both of them, leading them to replant their lives in Africa. All along the way, God empowered and enabled me to release my son to His care and keeping.  No easy task, let me tell you, but a task that by God’s grace was doable.

I think that one of the reasons I have found the strength to release my son has to do with God allowing 2 of my daughters and their 5 children to live only a few minutes drive from my home.  While my other daughter lives way off in Florida, I have had the privilege to visit her several times.  Unlike my son, we are able to email and video chat often which makes up for a lot.

So when I’m asked if I find it hard to deal with my son, daughter-in-law, and now grand baby being so far away, I have to say, “Yes.”  And for all of the reasons which I have shared with you in this post.  But like my son learned several years ago, I have learned to take things like this in stride.  When God calls your child to serve Him on the foreign mission field know that is going to require sacrifice.  But also know that when God places that calling on your life then He will equip you to be able to make those sacrifices.  Oh, it won’t be easy.  In fact, my adjustment has been characterized by a flood of tears, accompanied by an ache in my heart that I have found a way to live with, but a willingness to do what God has called me to do.  My heart is full of peace and as God continues to amaze me in how He provides ways to maintain that close connection I have with my son, I find that I can praise Him for the calling He has placed on my son and daughter-in-law’s lives.  They and we,their families, have an abundant life indeed!

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