There was silence in the car as we drove away from the college after saying our final farewells to our two oldest children. My husband and I and youngest daughter were each thinking of what the upcoming separation would mean to us. I was reminded of a song I had recently discovered. It talks about “calling” and one line goes like this, “when you called my name, I didn’t know how far the calling went.” I said to my husband, “I don’t think I can do this again.” Since we have five children, I knew in two years time, I would be.
Over the past 22 years in global work, we have seen a lot of transition and in many of these changes, I have had to reexamine my calling, not just as a global worker but even as a wife and mother. But, by far, the most challenging transition has been leaving college kids in the U.S. The uncertainties of when we would see them again were faith stretching, to say the least. I knew, theoretically, that God could care for them far better than I can, but I still wondered if my children knew that. Would they need me and I wouldn’t be there or would I need them and they wouldn’t be here? Where would they go for holidays or to find jobs? Would they find a place for themselves in the U.S.? Did I want them to? I could go crazy with all the questions and uncertainties I have felt through this transition. But the Lord taught me something early on that I have hung on to, even now as I anticipate sending off our fifth and last child this August.
When we took our first child to the U.S. to start her college career, she needed a new backpack. Her old one had a lifetime guarantee so we went to exchange it. Unknown to me, she had prayed that she could replace it with a green, leather-bottomed backpack—nothing like the one she had originally. When we asked about replacing the old one the cashier said, “I’m really sorry but we don’t sell this type of backpack anymore. All we have are these green ones with leather bottoms. Will that do?” When we got out of the store my daughter told me what she had prayed. I know God used that to show me that He would care for her and my other children, even in the little things that really didn’t seem so important, but were an evidence of the Lord’s love for them and for me.
Psalm 94:18-19 has come to mean so much to me. “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” My feet do slip and anxiety can get the better of me, but for nine years now we’ve been sending kids off to college and the Lord’s love has supported me and His consolation has brought joy to my soul many, many times. May you be encouraged by this testimony of how God has shown me His love during these difficult years of our children going off to college while we have remained on the field.
View the original print magazine where this article was first published.