Another Kind of Cost

It’s been an emotional day today. A mixture of excitement for the future while at the same time loss and grief for what that future implies. Twenty-five years ago, we were on the same path. Twenty-five years ago, we said good-bye to family and friends and took our little two month old baby boy to live far, far away from his grandparents in a foreign land.

We were following the call and adventure awaited us. We were excited to bring the message of God’s saving grace through Jesus to people of a different culture, and we were ready to face the cost. Yes indeed there has been a cost to following that call, but it has been worth it. What I don’t think I ever understood until now, is what it cost for those left behind. What did it cost our parents who only saw us every couple of years? How did they feel only hearing about their grandson’s milestones through letters and photos? I am beginning to understand how they felt.

Today, I am experiencing the cost from the other end. We raised our son to follow Jesus, and God has put a special call on his heart. God is calling him and his wife to a land even further away than where we went, to bring the message of His saving grace through Jesus to an unreached people group. Their adventure is just beginning.

As my son and daughter-in-law waited at the airport for their first flight on a week-long exploratory trip into foreign territory, we messaged each other. “Love you lots.” “…Bazillions.”  “Ok signing off. Love you.” “Love you all the way there and back.” That was the last message my husband sent before their transatlantic flight. With the luxury of Internet that our parents didn’t have, I pulled up their flight on Flightview to watch the progress until I went to bed. I awoke a couple of times in the night to keep them in prayer. In the morning I hurriedly picked up my phone to see if there was a message like, “made it safe so far,” but there was none.

Then it hit me. This is the beginning of the future. This is what our parents went through. It is a time when you are so proud of what your kids turned out to be and so excited that they are going places and sharing The Message where you would never dare to go. And yet it is also a time of loss and grief knowing that they will be living in a far, faraway place, and we will only see them every few years. And there may be many more times of silence without Internet connection. The cost of the call continues, but this time, I am on the other side of things as I watch two young adventurers be obedient to following God to hard places.

My son is living out what we raised him to do, and I couldn’t be more excited. Yet I am already grieving the loss of living so far away from my yet unborn grandchildren and relying on Skype and WhatsApp to keep us in communication. I am allowing myself to feel and express this mixture of emotions because I know that God created us as emotional beings and He understands. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

I wonder how God the Father felt when He sent His son to a far, faraway land to carry His message of saving grace to a broken and lost people. Did He feel excitement knowing that this was the path that would reconcile us to Himself? Did He feel loss and grief as He watched His only son suffer so much to pay the cost for our wrongdoings? In spite of this, the Father let go. He allowed His Son to go to this far, faraway land because He loved us so much.

It is time that I let go too and give my son back to the Creator who gave him to me twenty-five years ago. It will be worth the cost when one day, I am in Glory and I meet many others there who said “yes” to God’s message of saving grace through Jesus brought to them by my son and daughter-in-law.  Hallelujah.

What has the cost of your calling meant to those you have left behind?

Even though we have all paid a price to live this cross-cultural life, what have you experienced that reminds you that it has been worth the cost?

6 Comments

  1. sarah May 29, 2017

    NRM, thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into what it feels like on the other side. It sounds terribly hard… and yet, worth it.
    I definitely didn’t think about what my parents were feeling as I hopped on the plane to my exciting new life 12 years ago. But, then a few years ago, I heard my dad speaking at some church event, and he said something along the lines of, “And, the hardest day of our lives was the day we sent our 23-year old daughter off to Ch…” I was like, “What?!?! How did I not know that? How did I not know that it was that hard for them?” But, yeah, internet was nearly non-existent where I lived, and even just basic phone calls were a challenge. And, my parents, out of concern for me and my mental/emotional state, didn’t want me to see how hard it was for them. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the best way to approach it, but in some ways I so appreciate my parents’ bravery and selflessness.
    NMR, may you and your family be blessed with abundant opportunities and means for communication, may the Spirit inspire you with new ways to connect with each other on deep levels despite the miles, and may your faith rise up to meet this new challenge.

    1. NRM May 29, 2017

      Thanks Sarah for your affirmation. You know, I sent the article to my son and his comment was, “That was so sad.” I was taken aback. Yes, in some ways it is sad but in some ways it is victorious as I know that in the end it is worth it. Both the cost he will pay and the cost I will pay. I can’t wait to get to heaven and see the people whose lives we have touched.

      1. sarah May 30, 2017

        Yeah, I agree- Jesus is totally worth it. My parents agree, too. I’m glad you see the victory!
        I think that my family’s sense of His worthiness has increased the longer I’ve been on the field and as the number of challenges Jesus has brought us through grows. We had a family tragedy last year that made that first time leaving for the field seem like a happy picnic in the park. As I was getting ready to head back to the field, I had a small fear that my parents wouldn’t want me to go. But, amazingly, my whole family’s reaction to the tragedy (in addition to deep grief and mourning) is that we need to live even more for Jesus, even more purposefully making disciples and expanding the Kingdom, because, really, He’s all that counts, the only real substance in life, the only hope and definitely the only permanence. In Him is real victory!

  2. NRM June 1, 2017

    Sarah,
    I am sorry that you had a family tragedy. You sound like you have an amazingly supportive family but even more than that, a family that sees beyond meeting their own needs but rather is looking toward the eternal goal. Praising Him with you in that!

  3. Nancy Stewart June 7, 2017

    My calling was somewhat different, as was the conclusion. I went overseas in 1994, and worked in several countries in my profession of librarian, fixing up the sad little libraries of various MK schools and training someone to maintain them before I left. I spent my longest time in Pakistan, 11 years. Every time I said goodbye to my parents, I wondered if I would see them alive again or not, as they dealt with cancer and heart issues. They wondered the same with me, as Pakistan had coups, riots, major earthquakes, and my school was attacked by terrorists. In 2007, my mother for the first time said she wished I wasn’t going back, as I packed after 2 months at home. And my father did not shush her and say I needed to go where the Lord led me. That was my sign. I had told my sister and only sibling some 20 years ago that I would take responsibility for our parents, as she had so many kids and her husband to demand her time and attention, so now it was time to act on that promise. I went back to my school and told them I would be leaving for good the following summer, and in 2008, I came home to care for my aging parents. It was hard to leave a place I loved and the job I loved and come home and give up independence, but it was definitely the right thing to do, and I have no regrets. My mother died in 2010, and my father in 2014, both at home with home hospice help, as they desired. I was considering going back to Pakistan, but then found out I have cancer, so I am now tied to MDAnderson Cancer Center–but that’s a whole other story! When I came home, I didn’t want to stop being a M, so I set up as a long-distance librarian and I provide cataloging, buy books, process and laminate books, and mail out books to folks working in Asia, all of which I can do via computer (and mail service, of course) from my home here in Houston. God is good, and provides exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think!

    1. NRM June 7, 2017

      Nancy,
      That is a lot of loss that you have experienced. Wow! I applaud you for choosing to leave the place you loved to care for your parents. That was paying a cost as well. And yet, you were greatly rewarded with the precious time you had giving back to them. May God give you grace and peace as you walk the road of cancer and may you continue to touch lives at the cancer treatment center like you did in Pakistan.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>