We found ourselves in a repeat place as our son and his family finished up deputation and was off to the mission field. We’ve been through this before when our daughter left for the field. How would it be different? Would we go through the same things this time around?
Things were the same in some ways and different in many ways. We learned some things that made things easier and discovered how some things are harder.
We learned that we were again thrilled that our children were going around the world to tell others about our Savior. Yes, they are far away. I would not change that.
We have learned that leaving them is easier than sending them off. We have done both more than once. We were privileged to have been asked by our son and daughter-in-law if we could/would travel with them when they moved to China. We were able to help with the grandchildren on the trip. We were able to babysit while our son and daughter-in-law got their home set up and many of the details of moving to China taken care of. (You can read about that trip here.) Even though it was hard to leave them, it was still easier than sending them off.
We have learned that there is a type of grief process that occurs. Not because of a death, but because of a leaving. We missed them terribly. We mourned because they were not here. Time (and FaceTime) eases that somewhat, but it is still there. We found that this is a normal process that we must let happen and ride out the waves until they become manageable. We dealt with that both times following each of our children going to the field.
We have learned that it is much harder when there are grandchildren involved. Sometimes I miss those grands with everything in me. Not that I don’t miss my son and daughter-in-law but anyone with grandchildren will totally understand this point.
Before I go into the next things I learned, I must put in a disclaimer. I want to emphasize that I would not change a thing about where my children are and what they are doing. We, as parents, are honored that they are following what God would have them to do.
With that being said, the next thing I learned is that there can be what I will call an “ugly” aftereffect. Perhaps I am the only one that has or will deal with these “ugly” aftereffects but the Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun. They may seem minor and/or it may seem that these things are isolated within oneself, not affecting others. The following is some things that I have dealt with/am dealing with, that in the end, is flat out sin.
For my children, their safety, etc? Normal, right? However, that is not the fear I am/was encountering.
Last Thanksgiving began a journey in our family when it became glaringly apparent that it was time to deal with my father-in-law’s growing dementia. My husband and his siblings sat him down and told him that it was time to move him to an assisted living facility for his safety and care. All the emotion and grief on both sides of that move were difficult. My husband took on the responsibilities of my father-in-law’s finances. There was a house to clean out and sell (the house was 2 hours away from us on the other side of Atlanta), cars to sell, and many other details to deal with in that journey. In the middle of all that, we went to China when our son and his family moved. When we returned, it was still 3-4 months before all was taken care of and things settled down.
Why did that trigger fear? Both of our children are on the mission field, living on the other side of the globe. What came to mind was, “who will do that kind of thing for us?” It was not something that was taken care of in a couple of weeks. How would they be able to do this kind of thing? How would we be able to do this for ourselves?
The fear of not being able to care for ourselves. The fear of loneliness. Who will come see us? Who will help take care of us? Will we be the ones they find in our house days after we have fallen only because the once a week phone call with our children on the other side of the globe was not answered?
Another fear that creeps in is that my grandkids will not know me. We were around our granddaughter a great deal during her first 5 years. Our grandson was only a year old when they moved. They are so young. It’s hard (but not impossible) to have a closeness with them since we are not physically there.
These fears could be thought of as a legitimate ones. It is still sin. God has told us not to fear.
How and why jealousy?
Both of my children and their families are on the other side of the world. I have neither here. They are not here for Christmas. They are not here for Thanksgiving. They are not here to go apple picking or to the pumpkin farm. They are not here for birthdays, for family gatherings or just for a fun Saturday at Bon Bon and Papa’s house. They are not here to have beautiful extended family pictures done with all the kids and grandkids. It will be difficult to have them all here at the same time. Not impossible, just difficult.
I have a bit of jealousy when folks talk about being able to do these things. Some people may have one or more of their children on the mission field but they still have other children and grandchildren close by. I tend to have the thought of “at least you still have some of your grandchildren here”. That sounds bad. I am not sad that they have some or all of their children and grandchildren around them, but I can be jealous of that fact.
I am jealous of those around my grandkids every day there on the field. Will my grandkids love them more than us?
Jealousy and envy can go hand in hand. It can lead to discontentment, even bitterness. We have many stories in the Bible where jealousy leads to disaster.
These things could be seen as being normal and legitimate. Maybe they are. However, they are still sin. We are told in the Bible not to fear. We are told to trust. We are told to be content with such things as we have.
Matthew 10:31a-Fear ye not therefore….
Hebrews 13:5a-Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have…..
So how have I dealt with them? I try to hide it but the ugly truth is sometimes I don’t deal with them very well. Maybe I will be completely honest here and say a lot of times not so well. What I have to do is go back to the Word.
Isaiah 42:10-Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help
thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Psalm 9:10-And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalm 18:2-The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Psalm 56:3-What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
I Peter 5:7-Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
I have to bring every thought captive. I have to renew my mind.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Ephesians 4:23-And be renewed in the spirit of your mind
Phillipians 4 tells us to make all our prayers and supplications be known unto God and the peace of God will keep our hearts and minds. It tells us there to think on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, any virtue and praise (I wrote about this when my daughter first went to the field).
1 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Go to His Word.