Today is the day I will proverbially “put my money where my mouth is.”
When I committed my life to serve Christ as a young teen, I promised him I’d go wherever he wanted and do whatever he wanted – I gave him all that I was, all that I had, and all that I ever would be. God blessed my willingness then, and throughout my life. I cant say it’s always been easy, but it has always been GOOD. There have been times of intense passion and thirst for God and there have been times of acute dryness and dullness. But through the years, regardless of how I “felt,” God has held me to my commitment: all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever will be is all HIS.
When my children were born my husband committed them to God as well: They are His, on loan to us. When I’d listen to other parents complaining about their kids, I’d cringe a little – I love my kids! They are not perfect, by ANY sense of the imagination, but they are God’s gift to me – so how could I complain. Then I’d hear other parents clinging to their kids – afraid to let the kids out of their sight for fear they’d lose them. Again, I’d cringe: They are God’s kids: he will protect them wherever they are, and nothing can happen to them that is out of his plan. Someone once said to me, just wait, your kids are going to end up living on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world. And my answer was “cool, if that’s where God wants them, that’s where I want them.” It was easy to say when they were little, and that possibility was such a long way off.
So last winter when my daughters (ages 15 & 13 at the time) asked my husband and me if they could go on the “Never the Same Mission trip” to Guatemala City, Guatemala, sponsored by Brio Magazine and Big World Ventures (http://www.bigworld.org/briomissions/pages/about.html), a part of my wanted to say no way, you are too young, it’s too much money, it can’t happen. But gently, God reminded me of my commitment – they are his. So I agreed and told them we’d pray about it, if God wanted them to go, He’d make it happen. And secretly I hoped “not yet.” They were accepted, they raised their money in record time, and all of the doors opened.
Since March, we have known it was happening – my daughters were going to Guatemala, but it remained sort of “unreal” to me. It was far enough in the distance, and I had enough other things (like school) to occupy my mind, so it still seemed a long way off.
But last Sunday I realized it was not a long way off any more! As I sat in the Worship service at my church, we sang “The Stand”
So I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandonedI have said it for years, all I have is Yours. As I sang on Sunday a voice in my head said even your daughters? Are they Mine too? What if something horrible happens, are they still Mine? It literally took my breath away – but I had to say, YES, they are yours, and I am going to let go.
In awe of the one who gave it all
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I have is yours.
I cannot explain the feelings all stirring around in me then (and now) as it hit me: There is a sorrow as I realize I AM letting go of something – my daughters’ childhood and utter dependence on me. They are stepping towards adulthood. Sending them to camp has never been an issue – it was 5 days and they were 20 minutes away!!! But this is two weeks and another country. Joy just finished her freshman year, and the reality is in three short years, she will finish high school and go, and Hanna is only a year behind her. This trip is a huge step towards their independence.
At the same time is a joy unspeakable: My girls are young women now and they are going out into the world to make a difference. They WANT to serve the same God I serve. They are praying and growing and doing things that I have prayed for years that they would do. I am so blessed that God would use me – and now my children. THIS is my passion: that my love for God would grow in the people following me. And I’m seeing it happen. And I’m humbled, and amazed and awed by God.
So today we will drive from a lovely condo in Naples, Florida (provided as a gift from one of the families sponsoring the girls on their trip), to Ft. Lauderdale. We will do our best to meet some of their leaders, and then we will leave them, come back here for a couple more days with Brent, and then we will drive home. The girls will fly back to NJ in 2 weeks.
I have said I surrender all to God, but now I get to put it into practice:
- I surrender my maternal “control” – making sure everything is just right and everyone is taken care of
- I surrender my worries – several “loving” friends and family members have made it a point to let me know all the possible things that could go wrong.
- I surrender two of my most valuable possessions – my daughters, and I acknowledge that it won’t be long before I surrender my son as well.
- I surrender my heart: I’m going to miss them.
The end of the song “The Stand” says:
But what can I say?
What can I do?
But offer this heart, oh God,
Completely to you.
I am doing just that, offering my heart, in the form of my daughters, completely to him.