A friend in ministry gave me permission to share her blog from a few days ago with you. Linnea’s daughter recently married a man from France. The couple is returning to France with the specific goal of reaching Will’s family with the good news of Jesus Christ. Would that more of us would be so intentional in winning our families for Jesus! They hope to get work, Anya will spend time learning French, and they both hope to plant a church, somehow tapping into Will’s love of sports as a vehicle for connections and divine appointments.
These are the reflections of a mom who is learning to let her child go.
MY DAUGHTER IS MOVING TO FRANCE
“I’ve had varying responses from people at the news. Some people have been sad and some have been overjoyed. I get that. I’ve experienced both. It’s human. I have had 2 months to process the news. There are moments when my mama heart tightens at the thought. But in those moments I immediately give thanks to God for being faithful and answering the prayers I have prayed for my children.
“I have spent years releasing my children to God. Releasing your child/children doesn’t happen in just one moment when your child moves to Colorado or to France. It is a daily process. Each time I pray for my children I say out loud for my own ears to hear, “They are Yours and not mine.” And so in those mama moments when my heart tightens I say, “They are Yours and not mine.” For years I have prayed that God would do amazing things in the lives of my children and take them where He needs them to serve Him, knowing it could be in another country. And every time I pray that prayer I add, “And keep me out of the way.” In praying that prayer, I again release them. Many of you have heard me say, “God will never look at me one day and say, ‘I had great plans for your children but you got in the way.’”
“I am amazed at God’s goodness. Anya was a little girl who would scream when I would walk away from her. She never wanted me out of her sight. I did dishes with her on the carrier on my back, cleaned with her on my back…..she did not want to leave me! Anya was shy and never wanted to make eye contact with anyone and if you said anything to her, she would just stare. She is the one who caused me to get on my hands and knees and crawl out of the bedroom when I put her down for a nap so she wouldn’t wake up and scream for me. She is the one who on the first day of school got one step up into the school bus and put a death grip on the bar, screaming bloody murder because she didn’t want to get on. I could hear her inside the house with the door closed and ended up taking her to school. Yes, this is the child that God has transformed into someone who feels an urgency to tell people about Jesus, who loves God with her heart, and who is willing to move away from family and what is comfortable and familiar and go across the ocean to a foreign country to follow Him. When I see the transformation I have to praise Him for answering my prayer that He will do something great in the life of my child.
“Anya will be loved in France. God has blessed her with a God-fit for life. We love Will. We love Will’s family. We had a short but wonderful bonding time with them at the wedding and very quickly grew to love them. They love Anya and will take great care of her. We will be able to call her, facetime her and watch her on Facebook. Yay for social media!
“I reminded Anya of something she told me that Will said when she was telling him about Jesus. He said, “Why don’t people come to France and tell us about Jesus?” And there you have it…..And so again this morning I released Anya to go where He leads…..it just so happens to be France.
How well I know Linnea’s conflict. I have one daughter in the military and another daughter who has gone overseas three times, twice for mission work. We raise our children, pouring into them the wisdom and knowledge of God as best we can, then we release them, praying that God will use them wherever HE chooses, not where we choose. It’s tough, my heart longs to hold them close, yet how deeply humbling it is that God would choose our children to go beyond the boundaries of comfort and community to serve Him in another culture.
Would you stop and pray for this dedicated couple? And pray for Anya’s parents too, that the Lord give them strength and courage. Thanks.
If you are a parent of a global outreach worker, here are some resources that might be of help:
Facebook group: Parents of Missionaries
National Network of Parents of Missionaries
Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally (book)