Don't you just get tired sometimes? I sure do! This post may relate to more of my "M" friends more than others, but I will let the Holy Spirit encourage whomever He chooses. The bottom line is that all of us get tired. Whether we are a working mom, stay at home mom, serve in full time or part time ministry, or in my case in overseas ministry. As followers of Christ, sometimes we just get tired. Life is hard, even when we live in so called easy places. Don't ever let the place fool you. Satan is a liar and a thief no matter where we live. The grass is not always greener in a different pasture, as a matter of fact, if it is greener, that just means there is more manure.
Well, whoever my audience is, this girl is tired. I'm tired of sickness and death. I'm tired of Satan's lies. I'm tired of my stupid feelings and emotions trying to dictate my joy. I'm tired of inward and outward battles (so grateful I don't have many, cause they sure wear me out). I'm tired of being away from people I love (physically, not emotionally). I'm tired of hearing all the bad in the world. And I'm sick and tired of sin, that so easily entangles me and those I love. When a southern girl says she is sick and tired, not just sick, or just tired, but sick and tired, you better watch out. So watch out Satan, you are the enemy, you are defeated and you are going down!!!
Okay enough, I didn't begin this post to rant, but to rave. To rave about God. To rave about His grace and goodness, especially the unexpected graces and mercies. I had an amazing time with the Lord in His Word today. I surrendered a few things that I have been holding on to, cleared out a shkaff or two (we don't have closets, we have wardrobes or shkaffs)in my heart. But that is a whole 'nother blog of it's own. I wish this auto correct would stop trying to tell me what I am trying to say. This Mississippi/Russian girl has a language all her own. Lord have mercy! (It's perfectly okay for southern women to say, "Lord, have mercy", so quit yer judgin')Especially if you follow it up with "Yes, He does."
Anyways, back to the purpose for my post today. Michael went to the post office and we had something super duper special in there. A letter from our girl. If you don't know our girl, then you are truly missing out. Our girl is Grace aka Gracie...Grace Marie...Gracie pie...Gracie poo...princess...girly girl...mess pot...sunshine...well, you get the idea. Grace is our 20 year old daughter. The most important thing you need to know about Gracie is that she is the ultimate servant and encourager. I mean seriously like you have never seen. She loves people, but she loves Jesus more. She is passionate about Him and those she loves and those she has never even met. She is just plain passionate. She hurts, loves and lives deeply. I'm sure if you look really hard really long you could find her faults, but don't tell me if you do, cause I will fight you over my kids (that's another southern thang.) Again, that is also not why I am posting today.
So back to the purpose...Grace is a Junior in college, so she has been out of our home now for over 2 years. We just had our first holidays without her, and actually one of the first without our older boys and our first without our grandboy, Eli. Our kids have seen,experienced, and done more than most adults my age (or your age if you are older than me). They were 12, 10, 6 and 2 when we left the states for the mission field. That was some 14 years ago. One of the things that I was most thankful for this year was/is our adult children's attitude to our life of service overseas, when they were here with us as children, and when we abandoned them in the states to return to the field without them...for over 7 years now, this has been our life and our feelings at times, and yes, I still well up with tears every time we leave, and every time I think or write about it. It's just not gonna go away, ever. One by one, we have taken our children back to the states to college. We still have Caleb until 2015 and don't you think this mama ain't already crying about it, being intentional with the time we got and feeding my soul with truth for the ensuing battle. We have experienced missed holidays,weekends, washing their dirty clothes from college, birthdays, spring breaks, missed big events (not many), watching them struggle in various ways, and even sometimes listening to Satan's lies that their struggles are our fault somehow (the joys of parenthood, right?) I am really trying to put into practice what my mama once said to me (after raising six of us hoodlems) "No credit; No blame" she said it joking, but I don't think she was joking. I am blessed to say that If I wanted to, I could really have a problem with pride and brag like no other and take alot of "credit", because we really do have the most amazing kids. His grace is so marvelous, and I know this very well. So back to the point...
I asked Grace if she minded if I shared part of her letter as an encouragement to someone who might need it, like I needed so much today. If you know me, you know I love to give and share (unless it is a pack of chips or some sort of salty snack; I will buy you your own, but I will not share mine, sorry) She said if I felt like it would be an encouragement to others, of course. It was written 2 months ago, and we just got it in the mail, this also makes it super special, when she could have just emailed it: I pray it is encouraging to your heart as if she wrote it specifically to you !!!
Mommy, Daddy and Caleb! AHHHH! :) <3 (HEART) and MWAH (something I made up years ago (it's a kiss) I love y'all so much! Thank you for serving the Lord faithfully! Remember to not ever forget the urgency for the Gospel to be spread among all the nations and tongues! Thank you for teaching me what this kind of obedience looks like. I really don't think words could ever express my gratitude. Praising the Lord for y'alls lives and the things He has done in and through y'all and what He will continue to do! I miss y'all so much...I miss being with a family and in y'alls home...I miss all of us all together and the classic moments we would all have. I think, though, that how much I miss you must attest to the fact that we have the best family in the world. PRAISE THE LORD! Three months has actually flown by so 6 more will do the same...Keep pushing on to the goal and the prize...There is nothing else to live for on this earth, except that people may hear, repent, live and have everlasting life with Christ. She ends it with 1 Corinthians 9:24-27- RUN THE RACE AND FINISH WELL; SO OTHERS MAY HEAR AND LIVE! lOVE YALL BUNCHES <3 (HEART) Forever Gracie <3 (another heart) FEEL BIG OLE HUGS (I think she managed to get just a little southern in here even though she was raised in Russia) And to think I was worried about that at one time BAHAHAHA!!
I know, isn't it precious? I can't tell you how many prayers I have prayed for our children to grow up to love Jesus, love people, love telling people of all tongues about Jesus, and for them to have a clear understanding of why we did what we did and do what we do.
After I read this letter, I had a really long good cry (yes, it's okay to have a "good" cry) I have alot of "good" cries. I wanted to share it today, because I want you to understand that when we are obeying the Lord, wherever we are at, or how old our children or, or whether you have children or not, It is going to be OKAY. He is going to do above what we could ever hope or imagine and whatever is necessary in our life and the lives of those around us, especially those we are telling about Jesus, wherever we are. If by chance your young or adult children aren't at a place in their lives where they are able to tell you, then just know that God is speaking TRUTH to you through our girl: There is nothing, absolutely nothing more important than your relationship with Jesus, continuing on, finishing well, persevering for the cause of the Gospel.
I read this in my Bible study this week: "Mercy morphs into depression when we take God's responsibility instead of our possibility."
It doesn't lessen our responsibility as parents, as believers, as servants, but it also doesn't put us in the position of God. We simply cannot choose for others, but we must choose to obey ourselves, and leave the rest up to Him. He is trustworthy. He can and will handle it.
A note to those doing hard things for Jesus or considering it: If we have young children, or teenage children or adult children, the best thing we can do for our children is to live a life of obedience to Christ. There is no greater joy. He is enough! He is with us and He will never forsake us, or our children. I get sick and tired (uh oh, watch out) of reading blogs or notes from missionaries talking about being sorry about what their children had to give up or go through. That's baloney. That's ridiculous. My daddy didn't ask my permission to be a mechanic. Our parents didn't have a family meeting and ask us if it would be alright with us to buy a 30,000 laying hen egg farm, or a 3 acre stumpfield for a garden, or ask my husband if it would be alright to run a dairy farm. For heaven's sakes, parents, be parents and quit compensating for the choices you are making, especially the "following Jesus wherever He leads" ones. And while you are at it, stop apologizing for it too. It's really embarrassing, especially for your kids. Someday they will thank you, and if not, just come back and read Grace's letter. Better yet, just imagine Jesus' words: "Well done, my good and faithful servant." He is our reward !! FINISH WELL, MY FRIENDS