In a few days, my husband and I will be driving to Monterrey, Mexico, with my daughter. She’s serving there for at least a year as a full time missionary. Those of who who have been following the blog for a while or who have heard my testimony know how much God has worked in her life and our relationship.
She was a senior when I first learned about her heart for orphan care while proofreading her scholarship applications, how spending Christmas Day in a Mexican orphanage at 17 first influenced her.
Then, I saw her life changed after a summer in Guatemala as a college student. There, she was heartbroken over children like Tono, Marleny, and Andy who will remain orphans because their country is closed to foreign adoptions. Seven trips back the those children tells me orphan care is not a passing fad.
Last August, she moved home to raise support as a missionary with Back2Back. Since then, I’ve learned my new role is on my knees, interceding, and encouraging her when going to the mission field feels overwhelming.
Releasing your child to full-time ministry is an honor, but it’s not easy. Here are 5 things I’ve learned have impacted a child who answers the call:
- Prayer. I didn’t pray for any of our kids to be missionaries. Instead, I prayed they would love God with their whole heart. I prayed these prayers when she was a baby as she’d fall asleep on my shoulder. I prayed them by her bed on nights when I couldn’t sleep. I prayed them during the tumultuous teen years. God heard every single prayer.
- I realized she wasn’t me. She was in preschool when I realized she wasn’t my clone, that her temperament and personality were different than mine. Through the elementary and high school years, it was a challenge to step back and let her grow into her own skin. I’ve learned it’s essential for kids to do so to find their passion and gifts.
- She had friendships grounded in Christ. Our daughter was blessed with close friends who similarly loved God. She built those friendships through church camp, youth groups, and like-minded families. These girls still encourage and support each other today.
- She had opportunities to serve. Serving on short term mission trips placed orphans and underprivileged children on her heart. Though my instincts wanted to keep her close, I had to surrender those fears to God so He could work in her life (There’s a section on this in Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All if you haven’t read it.)
- She needs support. She was five when she first evangelized to our unsaved neighbors after hearing about sharing the gospel at Bible Club. I wondered what would they think, but I cheered her on as she rode her bike up their driveway.
When she wanted to date God her senior year, I wondered what she was forfeiting. But I when saw her intimate relationship with her Savior, it changed me. When she said she’s going to Mexico, I couldn’t question her.
God says we’re to raise our children to be arrows (Psalm 127:4), releasing them where God has called them. There’s contentment knowing your child has answered God’s call, though it’s risky and frightening. But God’s peace is a greater assurance than homeland security or the status quo.
Even so, you’re welcomed to pray for us the week of August 3 as we release her on this new journey, where life will never again be the same.