And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. (Genesis 24:59, 60 KJV)
Rebekah’s family here in this chapter is sending her off to go get married. The way it is written, it almost reminds me of a missionary wife leaving her family so that she can help her husband in the Lord’s work. And what her family does is so important. They obviously want her to stay!! But they LET her go!!! They realise that God has an amazing plan for her life and He can’t fulfil it unless she leaves. Yes, they will miss her, but they know God’s will is more important. They could’ve made her feel guilty for leaving. They could’ve pressured her to stay. They could’ve talked to her about all the things she will miss if she leaves. But they don’t. They release her.
When I first arrived on the field, I wanted my mom to miss me and cry for me and tell me how hard it is for her that I’m gone. It actually hurt me that she wasn’t this way. Or at least she didn’t show it. She hardly acted like she even noticed that I was gone. My mother is very Godly. And I knew she was proud of me for being the wife of a missionary. And I think that God just really helped her deal with my living so far away. But I wasn’t happy that she wasn’t yearning for me.
It took me several years to understand what God was doing. His grace had worked in my family’s heart so that they could release me. And I needed that probably more than they did.
When they released me, it helped me stay on the field. It helped me make Northern Ireland my home. It helped me love living abroad and raising my children away from “home.” It helped me focus on the work instead of what was happening “back home.” It helped me look forward with hope instead of sadness. It helped me realise that God is more important than my family. It helped me cleave to my husband and the Lord. It helped me keep my eyes on Jesus.
If they had not released me, I would’ve been miserable. I would’ve been bitter at God and my husband for tearing me away from my family. I would’ve hated living in Northern Ireland. I would’ve constantly compared my life in America to my life in Northern Ireland. I would not have opened my heart to the people here. I would never have stopped needing my mom. It would’ve been evident to the people here that my heart never left my family. It would’ve been a serious detriment to our ministry.
So now I respect my mother for how she handled those first few years. And I’m so grateful that she allowed God’s grace to do such an amazing work in her life. What she did was not normal or easy. Only by divine power was it possible for her and the rest of my family to release me, even when I didn’t want to be released. God knew what was best. And He worked it all out, just like He always does.