After my daughter left to spend a semester overseas in a hard place, far away, during which we had very little contact with her, a relative asked me the following questions: “How did you ‘let’ her go? Do you ever regret teaching her to obey God? Why did you show her those scriptures about the great commission?” The questions sounded humorous and maybe a little sarcastic, but she was a mom whose young son was beginning to show an interest in mission trips. He was hinting at a heart for future long term missions.
Her inquiry got me thinking. How did I get to the place in my faith and emotions to “let” her go? I believe that my husband and I were right in trying to develop in her a heart to follow Jesus anywhere, to encourage her to read and obey the Word, and to pray that she would have a heart for God and the lost. So should we be surprised that she developed that calling? Should we be reluctant to let her pursue it without our encouragement?
The journey to letting go and releasing your child, young or grown, is always a process. It can be difficult, but ultimately watching them take flight is satisfying, especially when they desire to serve the Lord and step out of their comfort zone to share Christ, and you get to cheer them on. On that journey, it’s important to be girded with faith and prayer and to partner in the giving and sending of your child. Your constant prayers for your child, your faith that God can provide, protect and use them for His glory sustains you as you release them into His hands and purpose. Having a supportive and loving family, and a praying/supporting church family also gives great courage and strength for parents to let go. After all, our children have been given to us as a gift by God and we can wholeheartedly give them back as a gift for His purposes, trusting Him completely.
This does not say we didn’t experience some fear and a deep loss of missing our kids and the heart-ache of giving them up to His plan. Think of what parents and grandparents go through when their grown children make a career of missions. It always involves surrender, but isn’t that what the Christian life is all about?
Here are ways to get involved:
- Research the organization she is going with.
- Look for credibility, accountability, their beliefs, goers testimonies, support and training provided.
- Share in this together.
- Let her go.
- Pray some more. Then give her the freedom to fly.
Whether you are letting your child go for his first short-term mission trip, a reoccurring or longer one, here are some things I would share with you. Mom to mom. Heart to heart.
- Remember God is sovereign. “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” Psalm 73:28
- He sees your child at all times and provides for their every need, physical, emotional, spiritual.
- God will comfort you and strengthen you when you let go. He will give you peace.
- Your prayers make a difference.
- Holding your kids with an open hand, releases them to do God’s will.
- You have an important part in their ministry.
- You will see them grow in ways they may never had if they didn’t go.
- You share in the eternal rewards of all God does through them.
- Your prayer life, faith and call to share the gospel will be greatly enriched and challenged in ways you never imagined.
- Your child will never be the same. But praise God, neither will you.
Joshua 1:9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Dani Cypert serves as the Customer Service Director for ShortTermMissions.com.