The REALLY Empty Nest... A Parents of Missionaries Post

The house still has evidence of Miss J being here all last week, and grandkids Norah and Isaiah a few weeks before, and to have these 2 pop up in my memories this morning makes me miss them (and their brothers and sisters). 
Yesterday, on our way home from dropping off Jac, the dad of these 2 in the picture (Ryan), was doing a Facebook live video from a visit to their friend’s village, where they buy charcoal for ones cooking and their coffee (growing on the side of the road!), and pick berries in season. In the video, he turns to Bella (pictured here) and asks her something in Spanish, and she answers back in Spanish. It was beautiful to see her not hesitate, just to speak it so naturally. I knew the littlest would pick it up quickly, but didn’t know what that would look like time wise.
Although we get to talk with them via video calls nearly weekly, we miss this family so much. All the good stuff that goes on in our lives doesn’t replace them not being here. We miss them. It’s hard.
It will be a year in December since we saw them last. A year since we had giggle-filled hugs, walks, played games around the dinner table, had bedtime devotions and said goodnight prayers together. When we do these things with our grandkids living stateside, it so much fun, but it reminds us of how fun it was to do it with all of them too. I’m thankful for the memories, but sometimes it makes my heart hurt a little more.
I’m so grateful for technology, for getting to see how they’re growing and learning, even though it’s a tiny snapshot. I’m so thankful to get to talk to them and hear about the good and the bad in those few minutes each week, but it doesn’t take the place of making memories with them.
I’m not sure if we will make it there before they visit here in a year or so, but I know that I already dread the goodbyes, no matter where or when we will meet again.
God growing my faith this way keeps my heart tender. It takes a lot of exercise to keep my faith bigger than my fears, and those fears loom just around the edges of my heart, looking for any opportunity to sneak in. But God is bigger.
I’m reminded of the first all summer mission trip my then 16 year old daughter was taking to Mongolia, and the phrase that God etched on my heart, “I’d rather have her in the center of God’s will than in my own backyard against His will.” So I pray God’s will for these kids, for this family. I ask God to refine the parents wisdom, and that they can discern the heart of our Father for this family. To do what’s best for His Kingdom, not only to help others hear about Jesus, but also in nurturing their own children’s faith and physical health. And yes, for me to continue to trust Him with each of them, grown ups and grandkids alike, because He loves each of them too.
And when bad stuff happens, because it does, He is with them in the midst of it all, and I pray that their FAITH > fear too.

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