“Mom, I’m going to Kenya.”

July 28, 2008 at 12:22 am 37 comments

This afternoon Orison got a gift bag and told me he was packing his things.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m going to Kenya,” he replied.

“Wow, what are you going to do there?”

“I’m going to see my friend Eli. I’ll be gone for three days.”

He proceeded to pack all kinds of essentials, like kazoos, blocks, toy cars, and a train whistle. He went in my room for a spell, told me he was getting on the airplane. All the while I’m playing along and encouraging this little game.

He came out of my room after a few minutes with a big grin on his face, proclaiming, “Mommy, I’m back in Minneapolis!”

I can only hope I’m that willing to “play along” when God really does call him to far places. I have no idea what the future holds for our firstborn son. He may be called to the hardest country in the world for the glory of God. Will I be ready for that?

That’s why I love the words of dedication that our church uses for our child dedications. The pastor says something like this:

Orison, together with your parents who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claims upon your life, in the hope that you will belong wholly to God forever.

“Surrendering… all worldly claims upon your life.”

Is my highest hope that he will belong wholly to God forever? Or is it that he’ll go to a good college? or behave well in preschool this year? or have nice friends in adolescence? or marry someone that I approve of?

I felt like I got a small glimpse into my parenting future today. Though I don’t know if he’ll be a missionary, whatever he does with his life will require me to let him go and pray my guts out that he be God’s, above anything else.

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Chacos or flip-flops? We have feet in both camps. Summer in the City

37 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Megan  |  July 28, 2008 at 7:26 am

    our girls talk about going to india all the time. i’ve had your same thoughts. i’ve often felt it must be so very difficult for MOTHERS when their babies grow up and go a world away. mostly, i’m reminded of the mamas in missionary biographies from the 1800s- sweet children boarding a ship, letters taking months to travel back and forth! talk about surrendering control! it’s always a good heart reminder for me- ah, i don’t have control over them, and it’s all His!

    Reply
  • 2. What Great Friends « J. Scott Alexander  |  July 28, 2008 at 7:29 am

    […] ACTION International Ministries What Great Friends July 28, 2008, 7:29 am Filed under: Uncategorized I love these friends, Molly & Abraham.  Here’s just one reason why. […]

    Reply
  • 3. J. Scott Alexander  |  July 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

    And all God’s people said, “AMEN!”

    Reply
  • 4. Michael Paine  |  July 28, 2008 at 8:10 am

    I hope that when that day comes…we will say take your banner hold it high so that all the world might see our God and learn and know of His saving power. Molly, if we don’t raise the future missionaries who will? God has called us as Godly parents to do that for His glory. When the time comes I fully know God will allow us to let them go. I have been thinking about this very thing recently. Thanks for the blog.

    Reply
  • 5. jamsco  |  July 28, 2008 at 8:14 am

    May God bless us all with children who make life harder for themselves so that God will be glorified

    Reply
  • 6. Pam  |  July 28, 2008 at 10:59 am

    When I put my firstborn on the school bus for the first time I felt the Holy Spirit telling me “get used to it, I am slowly preparing you to let him go completely”. I’m glad we have the opportunity to start praying for strength when they’re still preschoolers. For his part, Josh thinks being a missionary is the coolest job on earth since they are the “true super-heros” and when I ask him what he would do should he meet with opposition he replies: “that’s simple, just use my cape and fly away!!”

    Reply
  • 7. Dolores Bowers  |  July 28, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    That was really good.
    I blinked my eyes and my babies became men, then
    1 year ago my oldest told me that he and his wife were
    “flying” off to far-way MN to live! I couldn’t breath, then
    I fell on my face before God. In His sweet grace He
    poured peace upon peace over me, come what may.
    Then this summer my oldest said that he and his wife
    were going to go to Syria to serve God for 2 weeks.
    I couldn’t breath again, then I fell on my face before
    God. In His sweet grace ……

    Reply
  • 8. shawnda  |  July 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Oh, AMEN, sister!!!!!! Oh, save our precious little one’s Jesus, and give them a heart that adores you and treasures you and gives up their lives for you that your Name be praised in all the earth!!!!

    Reply
  • 9. carissa  |  July 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    i like this post. good, good, good.

    Reply
  • 10. Kellie  |  July 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I think of those dedication words alot. When we were medically evacuated to Istanbul with Owen those words were what kept going through my head.

    Reply
  • 11. stacey  |  July 28, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Thank GOODNESS he was NOT going to leave the kazooooooo….I can only imagine what a trip to Kenya would be like if he had FORGOTTEN the kazoooooo. Good thinking O! My oldest is off to NE in 2 weeks……..and although I will miss him, I am so excited for him. I am excited that he is emotionally ready to make adult choices and do what he feels is best for himself. I will make sure he packs a kazoo also!

    Reply
  • 12. Crystal  |  July 28, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    This is definitely a difficult part of being a parent. I pray that I will be willing to let go when God calls, but I realize that my heart wants to hold back so much.

    Reply
  • 13. carrieloveskeith  |  July 28, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Molly,
    I have 3 little boys, and I think about this ALL the time! Oh, how I want to be prepared to let them go when the time comes! Two pastors’ wives in my church gave a message on Mothers & Sons at a Sovereign Grace Leadership conference that I listen to often to be encouraged in this. You can download it for free at http://www.sovereigngracestore.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=A2092-03-51. It is totally inspiring! My senior pastor is the son of one of the women speaking, and he surprises her at the end by honoring her, or “rising up and calling her blessed.” It makes me cry every time!

    Reply
  • 14. lb  |  July 29, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Hi Molly,

    i live in Central Asia. a friend was telling me an interesting story about her brother-in-law who also lives and serves here.

    when he was younger he did something similar to your Orison. he packed his bags as he was going on a journey. when his mom asked where he was going, he responded, “God told me to go, so i’m going.”

    in 1998 he moved to Central Asia to become a part of the Father’s plan to reach an unreached people group.

    may the Father give you grace and courage as you raise your son to boldly follow in the path laid for him.

    –lb

    Reply
  • 15. greenchickadee  |  July 29, 2008 at 2:57 am

    What an amazing mom you already are! And you got me thinking about the same thing. Will I be ready to play along with God’s plans or will I hold them back by my own selfishness and dependency? Thanks for your deep thoughts, wise advice, and great blog!

    Reply
  • 16. Julia  |  July 29, 2008 at 6:35 am

    As a girl, I told my parents I was going to Germany to be a missionary. They smiled, patted my head, and said ok. At 24, when I came back to them and told them once more that I was going to Germany, for a year, as a volunteer… it was a bit harder. They were ok with me going, but it was harder for them than they thought because I was going unmarried…. I think they always thought I would get married first, before going to do the work God called me to do.

    Now, I am married, living back in the states…. and it is so wonderful to me that God blessed me with parents, who allowed me to follow what God had for me even though there were times that it was hard for them to ‘let go.’

    I only hope I am that kind of a mom one day!

    Reply
  • 17. Joan  |  July 29, 2008 at 6:48 am

    My “babies” are now young men and women ages 20, 21, 23, and 26. I agree with Stacey who said this is a most exciting time in my life as I watch them each take wing. I wish now that I had not wasted time pre-mourning their coming of age. I am asking God for grace to be open handed even with my children, to enjoy each stage for what it is, and to understand my time and work here is temporal but God’s eternal. May we each be missionaries wherever God places us – even we moms.

    Thank you for this fine article, Molly.

    Reply
  • 18. John Piper and Kenya « Here I Am To Worship  |  July 29, 2008 at 6:48 am

    […] John Piper’s daughter-in-law posted on their family blog about her son’s (make-believe) desire to go to Kenya. It’s really cute and precious, and Molly does a great job of drawing out the application for […]

    Reply
  • 19. Elizabeth Chene  |  July 29, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for your thoughts. It is great that God gives us those glimpses now to help us be ready for whatever lies ahead. My son will actually be doing that with mom and dad sometome this fall, Lord willing. So we pray that he will also have the heart to follow after God in this next adventure of our lives. By the way my 21/2 year old son enjoyed the video clip of Orison sing, My son is a singer also. God bless.

    Reply
  • 20. Dick Mutai  |  July 29, 2008 at 8:34 am

    And those of us reading from Kenya Say “”Amen and Amen”.

    Reply
  • 21. Melissa in Misouri  |  July 29, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Molly,

    I love your perspective on this and I totally agree. We have three girls, 11, 9, and 5 months (yes, we started all over again). I watch as our girls grow and dream about their future and wonder, will I be ready for what God calls them to? It is a definate call to ALL mothers and fathers tio remember that this precious gift God has placed in our lives is His, totally His. I often have wondered if other moms sit and think about the same things I do, and this was encouraging to me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Reply
  • 22. Carmen  |  July 29, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Fabulous!

    shalom aleichem!

    Reply
  • 23. Sunshine  |  July 29, 2008 at 11:36 am

    LOVE this post – I absolutely love the dedication prayer at the bottom – if you do not mind I would like to post that on my blog with a link back here! Sunshine

    Reply
  • 24. Kathi  |  July 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks, Molly! How good of God to give you this glimpse! Surrendering our kids to God’s will for them is the only path to peace in the turbulent storms.

    Reply
  • 25. Caryn  |  July 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Amen Molly! I desire the same thing for my kids. I have a hard time with this having a child with severe mental disabilities. My surrendering of my son is more like accepting that …
    * he may never talk.
    * he may never be potty trained.
    * he may never feed himself.
    * I may never be an Empty Nester.
    This is my life. Very different from most; similar to many. Many days I wish I just had to surrender him to the Lord in “typical” ways, but I too must trust God in WHATEVER my surrendering may look like. Thanks for this much needed reminder!

    Can’t wait til we can visit with each other in person again. :-)

    Reply
  • 26. Ronnica  |  July 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    How cute! But how hard will that be when he says that (or something like that) for real.

    Reply
  • 27. CarolinaMama  |  July 29, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Pretty priceless! Thanks for the insight. God Bless!

    Reply
  • 28. philthecarl  |  July 29, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you Molly. You’re thoughts here were sweet to me as I think about the future of Corban. John Paton has helped me immensely with this issue already. His parents gave him up for the work of the ministry when he was born, and stuck to it! Look at what he did for the Kingdom of God! Emily and I are hoping to do that with Corban, as much as it depends on us of course. We pray a psalm over him each night before he goes to bed and we say things like “use him for your Kingdom,” but your post really hit home for me whether I meant it or I’m just praying it to sound pious.

    Thanks again sister!

    Reply
  • 29. draabe  |  July 29, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Having a daughter who now lives and works in Germany, I totally bought this. My little girl talked about moving to Germany around the age of three – and it’s been on her radar ever since.

    Get ready….

    Reply
  • 30. beranibaca  |  July 29, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    i’m a muslim , live in indonesia… you are a good mother who very care about your son.. keep on that way mam…. would you kindly visit my blog and read page wonder woman? but sorry i write it in indonesian language..

    Reply
  • 31. Amanda  |  July 30, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am glad I found it! A wise man told me about 6 months ago when I had been really struggling with some issues (long story) with my little guy- only a year old at the time. He said “the things that you are the most concerned about in his life are not the eternal things. One thing you will never be able to control is the salvation of his soul” It jolted me back into the reality that “perfect” sleep schedules, play dates and health concerns are not the primary focus of our lives for these babies, while important, I need also to be praying my guts out that he’ll just be God’s.

    Reply
  • […] here for the whole thing.  Read his Grandma’s comments about Orison’s trip to Kenya […]

    Reply
  • 33. Kristen  |  July 30, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Molly,
    I recently stumbled upon your blog and have really been enjoying it. My parents (who are 60!) are moving to Papua New Guinea next month as missionaries. Every time my daughter plays “travel”, she tells me she is going to Papua New Guinea. I think it’s so neat to have grandparents who bring the world to our kids so that they think it’s normal to travel to Kenya or Papua New Guinea!

    Reply
  • 34. Tracy  |  July 31, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Orison is welcome to come to Kenya anytime!!!! And so are his parents (smiles).

    Reply
  • 35. joditucker  |  July 31, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Greetings from Akron, OH. Our son is leaving soon with Mission Year for Philadelphia and inner-ctiy ministry. He is 23 with two college degrees, but his real heart is for Jesus and people, esp. the inner city. While we will miss his physical presence greatly and I will shed some tears here and there, I know, we gave him to God from the day I knew I was pregnant. It thrills my very soul to see his passion and love and patience for others. He is a joy and his leaving to serve Jesus elsewhere will bring that joy to others.
    I hope his evident fruits of the Spirit are so contagious that God will use him to touch lives ALL of his days wherever he lives!!

    Reply
  • 36. kristi  |  August 3, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    we just had a baby dedication at our own church, and i never thought about that aspect of it…little future missionaries. thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 37. safari  |  November 5, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Very good post. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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