I have found that the love and support of our parents is an essential part of our life and ministry here.
We aren’t able to talk every day. We might get to see them once a year. They don’t get to be our on-call baby-sitters and sanity savers. They don’t get to hug and hold their grand babies often.
Milestones are hit. Memories are made. And they are miles away. But they cheer on from afar, loving us and our babies in any way they can. They get creative with their Facetime calls, send videos and pictures, and blow kisses that float across oceans to my children’s rosy cheeks.
My mom sends text reminders to take my vitamins. She enlists her co-workers and friends to rally around me in prayer. She shops yard-sales and clearance racks year-round for clothes and toys for my kids. She rejoices with me in victories and cries with me in my in defeats.
My dad sends me “Just because I love you” texts and videos singing “The Cow Kicked Nelly” just to make my daughter laugh. He uses conversations about his daughter’s family and mission to share the gospel with anyone who will listen. That means so much to us.
My mother-in-law sends boxes full of fruit snacks for the biggest sweet-tooth toddler I know and makes regular video chat appointments. She wrangles the dog for the kids to see just because they love it. She inquires regularly about our and the kids’ needs and does everything she can to meet them.
My father-in-law hangs his grandkids’ pictures in his office and prays fervently for all of us. He takes every opportunity to talk about his far away family and looks for ways to improve our life and ministry here.
They all wake up to late-night texts and phone calls and never complain of the inconvenience. They pray for us, keep up with us, and always encourage us. They pinch pennies to visit us here and never mention the things they sacrifice to do so. And when they get here, they deal with all the craziness spending time with us entails and do so with a smile.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas will be different for our parents. Fewer gifts under the tree. A less populated and quiet holiday home. No squishy baby toes crammed into red and green footy pajamas scrambling down the steps with unbridled anticipation for breakfast pie and gifts we know didn’t come from Santa.
Thankfully, my in-laws will be visiting just a few days post-Christmas. We will extend our festivities a little while longer. Certainly, this celebration will be different for them as they navigate the many challenges of this country and its’ unique trials. I don’t think they truly understand what a necessary blessing and encouragement this will be to us.
I’m thankful to God for our parents who love the Lord and taught their children to do the same. Who encouraged us to serve Him no matter the cost and make the sacrifices needed to help us carry out our mission. No doubt it’s hard and it hurts. They feel the pain of loss and sacrifice just as much as we do. I pray and trust that God will give them the joy that we feel too.
Even if we can’t be there, we know they will always “be there” for us just as they’ve always been.
Do your parents support your calling despite its effect on them?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!