5 Lessons I’ve Learned about Raising a Missionary Daughter

by Brenda Yoder

5 Lessons Missionary DaughterThis year my daughter became a missionary.

It was while proofreading her high school senior scholarship applications that I learned about her heart for orphan ministry. I read how spending Christmas Day in a Mexican orphanage when she was 17 gave her a passion for children without families.

It was seeing her heart, captured by the kids she connected with in Guatemala during her summer there as a college student, which told me, to her, home was just as much on the Mayan mountains as it was in Indiana.

Last month, when she began raising support as a full time missionary with Back2Back, I learned that my place as her mom is on my knees, interceding for her and encouraging her when it feels overwhelming.

Raising a daughter called to full-time ministry is the joy of my heart, but it’s not an easy thing. Here are five lessons I’ve learned about raising a daughter who answers the call of God’s plan for her life.

  1. Prayer is the foundation. I didn’t pray for my daughter to be a missionary, but I remember praying that she would love God with her whole heart. I prayed in those moments when I picked her up while she was sleeping and felt her breath on my neck, while I sang hymns of prayer and hope. I prayed in the wee hours, when I couldn’t sleep and would pray beside her bed while she slept. There were the prayers her dad and I prayed when we didn’t see God through the stubborn, rebellious spirit. God hears every single prayer.
  2. Let her be herself. She was in preschool when I realized she wasn’t my clone. It was a wake up call that my only daughter didn’t have the same personality and nature I did. Through elementary and high school, it was a challenge to step back and let her grow into her own skin, but it is essential to allow your daughter to find her unique passion.
  3. Encourage friendships grounded in Christ. Kate was blessed with a handful of friends who similarly loved God. She expanded those friendships through church camp, going to other youth groups and not being in the most popular clique. These girls went on youth trips and mission trips together, and similarly love God in their own ways. They still encourage and support each other today.
  4. Give her opportunities to serve. When she first asked to go on short term mission trips, my fears were natural, but allowing her to serve God in these settings placed the burden for the orphans and underprivileged on her heart. When my instinct was to keep her close, I had to surrender my fears to God.
  5. Support her call. She was five when she first evangelized to our unsaved neighbors after she heard about sharing the gospel at Bible Club. I wanted to tell her she couldn’t because “what would they think?” When she wanted to date God her senior year, I also questioned what others would think, but I saw her develop an intimate relationship with her Savior that changed me. When she wanted to go back to Guatemala again and again, I wanted to question the practicality of it, but I had to support her.

God says we are to raise our children to be arrows (Psalm 127:4), shooting them into the air to go far away, perhaps, where God has called them. There’s beauty and contentment in knowing your daughter has learned to listen to God. That’s a great reward.

“I Used to Love…”

By Kim Chaffin

I Used to LoveGrowing up I loved Holly Hobbie, roller-skating, and playing flashlight tag.  As I grew up I grew away from my love of those things and found new passions.  I think it is a normal process for all of us. As we grow older, our likes change with the seasons of our life.

Recently in my quiet time with the Lord while praying about what I should write for you, I was reminded of my love for Holly Hobbie. I know that is a strange thing to have come to my mind.  I believe God was trying to tell me that He did not want to become like Holly Hobbie. He did not want me to ever come to a point in my life when I would say, “At one time I loved God but I have outgrown Him now.”

I know so many teens and young adults that were raised with the love of the Lord in their lives but as they went through high school, into college or jobs, God no longer played much of a part in their lives, if any at all.

God is the one constant for all the seasons of our lives.  As teenagers or young adults you will be faced with so many new and exciting things; some good and some not so good.  As you make room for new dreams and passions, please do not put God away in a box with your childhood toys.  He doesn’t want to be something you used to love but outgrew.

Although I used to love Holly Hobbie, roller-skating and playing flashlight tag, I have outgrown them but I will never outgrow God. I pray that you will not either.  Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

Don’t let God become someone you used to love.

un•STOP•able

By TakielaBynum©

UnstoppableThe LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.” Isaiah 14:24 NIV

Droplets formed on the rim of her brow and she clenched the life in her belly. Her body quivered while uncontrollable sobs escaped her petrified soul.

Again…he spun the barrel of the gun, gave a quick flick of the wrist and pressed it against her temple.

He enjoyed the game of life and death, also known as Russian Roulette.

Before I took my first breath, while in the secret most inner parts of my mother’s womb, evil attempted to murder me at the hands of my father.

This was the first of many attempts on my life, but my God had a plan and a purpose that would not be thwarted (prevented) by anything or anyone according to Job 42:2 which states:
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

God can do ALL things. There is nothing He can’t do, including preventing a bullet from leaving its chamber. Although we may sometimes forget there is (absolutely) nothing He can’t do, don’t you simply love being reminded of what He can do (and has done)? The world is full of miraculous displays of love and power that can only be accredited to our majestic Lord and Savior.

God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, not even death can touch us without the Lord’s consent. Isaiah 46:10 says “I make known the end from the beginning…I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ The Lord has made it quite clear that He is in control and His plan and purpose will prevail. Not our plans, not the plans of those who hate us, not even the plans of those who love us, but only the Lord’s plan will stand. The Bible states in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. This Scripture gives me peace during the unsure moments in life. God Himself is quoted saying His plan is not to harm us but to prosper us, to give us hope, and a future.

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father we love You. We absolutely adore You. We believe with all our heart that You can do all things. We believe that You have a plan and purpose for our life and no plan/purpose of Yours can be stopped by anything or anyone. You are all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere all the time, there is none like You. I trust that Your plans are what’s best for me and You are not out to harm me. Forgive me for the times I’ve doubted You. Forgive me for the times I’ve thought You didn’t care or love me. From this day forward, if I ever doubt, please bring Your loving words back to the forefront of my heart to remind me that Your plan is one of hope and prosperity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Childlike Faith

By Kim Chaffin

Do your kids take what you say literally?  Ours have and we’ve had some great laughs over the years because of it. Sometimes it was their limited understanding of who God was that brought us the best moments of laughter and some very important lessons. Our children are adults now but those lessons and the laughter they brought us will stay with us forever.

2015.04While flying with our very young children, we had one of the best laughs about God. My husband and son were sitting one row up and across the aisle from my daughter and me. To their right and directly in front of me was a priest. When our son was little, we tried to explain to him who God was, to the best of our ability.  This was a few years before we really came to know God.

As the plane was taking off, my son very loudly said, “Dad, you told me that God was above the clouds so how come I can’t see Him?” I watched the priest in front of me shake with laughter.  I was laughing along with him.  My son had heard us say that God was in heaven. He asked where heaven was and we said, “up in the sky.” My little boy had held that piece of knowledge in his head and he was sure he was going to see God because the plane was now in the sky.

Let’s back up.  I said that sometimes our kids’ limited understanding of who God is can bring us the best laughs.  That is true but maybe their understanding of God is not really limited.  Maybe it is our understanding that is limited.

My son believed there was a God.  He believed God was in the sky because that is where we told him heaven was.  He took what he knew to be true and believed it with his whole heart. He had faith and he expected to see God.

Shouldn’t we all have that kind of faith to expect to see the hand of God or at least feel God in every situation?  Shouldn’t we have the kind of faith to believe that God is there even if we can’t see Him?  Our son had never seen God but he knew He was there and he expected to see Him.  He had childlike or uninhibited faith that had not been clouded by the world.

We had to explain to our little guy that even though we can’t see heaven with our eyes that it is still real. And even though he could not see God out the window of the plane, God was always with us.

As the years passed, our son still believed that to be true. One day he found himself in a spot where he had to overcome a fear.  He pressed into God with that childlike, uninhibited faith. My husband cried as he told me the story of watching our son overcoming his fear on the ropes course by saying and believing, “All things are possible with Him.”  He could not see God but he EXPECTED that God would hear him and he EXPECTED that God would be with him as he did the course. That day our son finished that ropes course knowing that God was helping him.

I think as adults it is so easy to forget what childlike faith is and our prayers become limited to what we know to be true in the here and now.  We forget to really “expect God to be God.”  I think that children have a much clearer view of who God really is and I want to encourage you to take a look at God through the eyes of a child.   We should all want to have childlike, uninhibited faith that has not been clouded by this world.

{under}Cover Girl

By Takiela Bynum©

2015.04-underCover-GirlNothing easy, breezy, or beautiful about it.

When I was about 5 years old, I learned to use makeup to cover the bruises and scars left on me at the hands of my father. I was taught at an early age to pretend that everything was okay, even if that wasn’t true. I knew never to discuss what was going on in our home to anyone. “Whatever happened at home stayed at home” is the motto I lived by and honored.

It’s a game, I convinced myself, I was working undercover to protect the secrets of my family. My mission was to make everyone believe we were the perfect family, like the Cosby’s on the Cosby Show. If I were to fail my mission, our family would be ripped apart and it would be my fault. Naturally, I did what I had to do to keep our secret safe no matter what the cost.

I became skilled at working undercover. My techniques were flawless. It was magical the way I learned to use foundation to hide the ugly truth of what was really happening to me. No one ever suspected anything.

It’s amazing how a greasy skin colored paint was the only barrier that kept my truths a secret. It was my camouflage that allowed me to blend in with the world around me. It masked my scars, my bruises, and my brokenness. It enabled my imagined sense of normalcy to continue undetected, just below the radar.

Are you living the double life of an {under}cover girl too? Hiding a terrible truth by any means necessary? Held prisoner by the dark shadows of a secret lurking just below the surface? Have you grown exhausted of this masquerade?

Come and meet my Savior.

The Bible tells us that God has indeed seen the misery of His people. He has heard them crying out. He is concerned about their suffering. So He has come down to rescue them. Exodus 3:7,8 (summarized)

Are you in need of rescuing today?

He is waiting for you to come to Him regarding your dilemma. He wants you to be free from this burden that you were never meant to carry. Your victory is only a prayer away. He is already executing a rescue mission for you. He is deliberate in His process. His plans are strategic and precise, specifically tailored to fit your needs. God does care and He is concerned about you. His love for you is without measure, beyond what you can understand. It’s time, {under}cover girl, it’s time to reveal the real you.

Let us pray…

Lord I need your help. I don’t want to be an {under}cover girl. Forgive me for covering up the truth, for lying and denying whenever the secret I carried threatened to be exposed. I trust You God no matter what may come. Even if it hurts, even if I cry, even if things don’t work out how I think they should, I trust You. I know You love me and you’ve already planned out my escape. Although this may be hard, I know You have mapped out my future and given me purpose. Therefore, what seems impossible, I will believe. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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