“There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number–living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” Psalm 104:25-28
For a missionary mom, one of the hardest things she ever has to do is to leave a child thousands and thousands of miles away. In March 2005, we left our oldest daughter and went back to Indonesia for a second term.
In our first term I never felt like I sacrificed anything… our family was together in one place, I loved Indonesia, our friends, and our work. But now, if home was where my heart was, pieces of my heart were walking around 10,000 miles away on the other side of the world.
Furlough was always a constant struggle of putting down and tearing up roots. I sometimes allowed myself to dream about rooting deep where I would never have to be pulled up again. Right or wrong, I longed for home… for my heart to be whole again.
What is home? In my home country I saw pretty houses with beautiful gardens. A garden says “home” to me. I saw cozy houses with lamplight in the evening. Lamplight says “home” to me. I didn’t own any lamps in Indonesia. I struggled with those longings. I wanted to guard my attitude and not be covetous.
Added to the furlough root struggle, every time we were home in America there seemed to be serious reasons why we might possibly have to stay home, both financial and family reasons. It was tempting, each time, to choose the easy way out… to just stay home and be close to our children. But God always sent us back through His miraculous provision for whatever the need was.
I always knew that as long as God sent us back, obedience was the only way to be content.
Three years ago when a longer-term stay at home became likely, I began to think again of “home”. Could I hope to have a house with a garden and lamplight? Should I dream about having a house of my own and my children not 10,000 miles away? (By this time I had left two daughters behind.) I wanted to buy wholeheartedly into my home dream but I sensed it wasn’t right.
One day alone on a long drive, I felt the Lord ask me to give to Him my dreams for a home and a garden and lamplight in the evening. On that drive I laid every single thing – one by one – into the hands of Jesus.
With tears I gave my Lord Jesus my dreamed of house. I gave Him my garden. I gave Him my lamplight. I gave Him home… and I cried the whole way home.
When I was done I was free.
My Father God desires for me to know Him and to trust His good hand. It was only by His grace that I was ever able to leave parts of my heart 10,000 miles apart.
Because of His goodness and because of His grace, He made me His child. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is a good Father. He WILL use every circumstance in my life to accomplish His purposes, making me more like Him. These are lessons already learned… once… twice.
Obeying my loving Father God is far more important than having my dreams fulfilled, even my dreams to be near my children. He loves my children far more than I do. They are in His good hands.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”