During half-time of our alma mater’s season opener Baby Girl and #2 Son, both in their early 30s, asked to speak with Mr. Bob and I at the dining room table. My mind raced. Were they pregnant? Were we the objects of an intervention? As #2 Son began this long, drawn-out back story, Mr. Bob said, “Just cut to the chase.”
My first prayer partner, Chantal, and I spent several years in our time in New England fasting on Tuesdays for our children and their walks with the Lord. We would pray our children, mine then 4 and 6 years old, would love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. We prayed they would be sold out for sharing the gospel with the lost in their worlds and speak of Jesus as their ‘best friend from way-back.’ We prayed for their future spouses. Wayne Watson’s songs, Watercolor Ponies and Somewhere In the World as well as Cheri Keaggy’s Little Boy On His Knees played on our walkmans. We also prayed that God would give us the strength to endure whatever it was He had in store for them as He used us and them for His glory.
To make a brutally honest confession, I really thought that God would answer that prayer like this: Our kids would be healthy and safe. They would get good grades, have good friends, go to a good college, get a good job, meet a good boy/girl, have good children, buy a good house, and have a good life. When at 20 years old Baby Girl heard God calling her to serve in the mission field in Senegal, Africa for 4.5 months, we really didn’t think it would happen. Well, it did. One phone call to her Daddy and he’d have been on the first plane out of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta to go and get her to bring her back. Instead, I asked the Lord to stop/wake me when she needed prayer. He woke me at 3am each day she was gone. When she returned, I thought, “Whew! Glad she’s gotten that out of her system. She’ll finish nursing school and be back on that ‘good trail’ of loving the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength… right here.” The Lord had given us the strength to endure.
Since then, she married a young man who was looking so hard for the Lord that young man found her. After finishing Bible College they served in youth ministry in the Everglades until the nonsense being sprayed on the sugarcane fields began taking a toll on their bodies. They moved here sick. They found a great church. They found great friends. They found ready babysitters. They found peace. They got well and healthy. They purchased a home and rescued a dog. All right here. The Lord had given us the strength to endure. All right here.
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God, that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” Max Lucado
Back to the present: #2 Son has been invited to serve as the associate pastor at a church… in Oregon. They have friends there who were part of a new church start and have grown to the point they need more help. For this gal who never got the geography peg in Trivial Pursuit, I had to Google a map of Oregon. It’s nowhere near here! “Mama, there’s a Bible believing church on every corner here, but not in Oregon. They need the Lord.” Be still my heart. But I can’t keep the tears at bay.
I’d like to write that we jumped for joy, but we didn’t. We will at some point, but not yet. Mr. Bob got up from the table and started doing the dinner dishes.
Baby Girl and #2 Son wanted to continue their back-story. They want to tell us about the prayers, the affirmations they’ve experienced through God’s Word and circumstances. We want to hear all about that, but right now, they’ve rocked our world. Right now I want to climb into my savior’s lap and rest my wet cheek on his chest and just cry. Yes, I trust in our Lord and His leading them. Yes, I want to have a spirit of YES when it comes to following God’s call. But this Mama and Mimi is just sad right now at the thought of them being ‘not right here.’ The cousins not growing up together. Us not able to share in their homeschooling, ball games, pool days, the daily celebrations, the family gatherings which make for traditions and connections. I’m just being truthful.
I wonder how the Mamas and Mimis of missionary saints like Mother Theresa, Lottie Moon, Hudson Taylor, and Evelyn Christiansen did it? Mail was sketchy. There were no smart phones, Facebook, nor Instagram. I feel like a big cry baby just thinking about it. I’m so grateful the Lord saw fit to have me born in this era and in this country. Just sayin’.
I’ll probably feel better in a week or so. Right now it’s 3:36am and I can’t sleep. We just found out five hours ago. This I know: The Lord has indeed answered our prayers that she’d love the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. She is indeed sold out for sharing the gospel with the lost in her world. God has given her a partner, friend, and co-laborer as they live out before their children the example of discerning and following the voice of God. AND the Lord will give us the strength to endure whatever He has in store for them. He’s a good God like that. He loves like that. He’s a Father with a mother’s heart, so he gets my sadness right now. For THIS is what we’ve raised them for…..WHO we have raised them for.
Pray for them. Pray for us. Looks like we’ll be finding out more about Oregon. But right now, keep the tissues coming.
“But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27