Our oldest son, Michael, was a first time participant at an all-Spanish youth missions training; his dad and I were there all week to lead some sessions. As I came alongside my fifteen year old son to better explain in English the different sessions, I knew, without a doubt, that he was going to select some of the sessions on a country in SouthEast Asia.
As I stood there, I tried to figure out a way to not mention the sessions to him, but as he listened to me explaining all the sessions and the speakers, he didn’t even think twice. He said, “I want to go to ______’s sessions.”
It was time for me to practice what I believe and say and entrust my son to God.
Entrusting means giving over the responsibility, putting something into another’s care or protection. – Lee Nienhuis
Michael chose four out of seven sessions about SouthEast Asia, and I clearly remember him telling me after the first session, “Mom, I am switching to all of the ones about the country in Southeast Asia.” With a smile on my face (and a battle going on inside of me), I said, “Sounds good. Learn all you can. Have fun.”
God was at work in my son’s heart, and God was at work on my heart. I was in the process of learning one more aspect of what being a brave mom means, and let me say that being brave is not easy, but …that’s what brave parents do—the hard thing—the commissioning and the releasing of their children with great expectation—to fulfill the destiny God has in store. (Lee Nienhuis)
That evening, as I laid in the tent, I began asking myself the hard questions: How will I respond when he comes to tell me about the ministry opportunities in SouthEast Asia? What if he says he wants to go there to serve? Will I be able to say ‘thank you’ to the speaker (who also happens to be a good friend of ours) and to God for a son, whose heart is burdened for the lost?
During the six days of youth missions training, Southeast Asia seemed to be talked about everywhere. The speaker had lots of opportunities in the main sessions to share, and then, others referred back to what he said. My son took every opportunity possible, and at meal times, he sat and listened to two men talk about the country, the people, and opportunities to be involved.
As a parent, I could see my son excited and changing in front of me. I began to realize what my parents must have gone through – happiness yet also torn – that their first grade daughter, Trisha, decided that she was going to be a missionary in Papua New Guinea among tribal people, and there was nothing that would hold her back.
All throughout my childhood and teen years, my life verse became:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14,15 NIV
My passion and heartbeat for tribal missions didn’t diminish. I invested time and money into missions, attended a Bible Institute, and found a man with a heart for God and missions, who I asked to marry me at age 17 (and we weren’t even officially dating yet!). Missions was my heartbeat, and it never even crossed my mind what it would mean for my parents and siblings.
And now 17 years later, here I am, a mom, and I can honestly say that I am seeing missions in a different light. We live in Paraguay, a country that we call our own, and our children see themselves as part of the team. Living overseas is nothing scary to us, and there isn’t a month that goes by that we don’t have conversations with our children, dreaming about the countries that we would go to someday, either to visit or ones that they would like to live. But now, they are getting older. Their love for God and missions continues. It is changing from a dream, to a reality. It is time for dad and mom to step back, and entrust God in a whole new way with our children.
Michael is ready to go – learn, and experience missions up-close, on another continent 12,000 miles away from Paraguay and see what God has for him. A few days ago while I had written most of this article, we were walking together, and the first thing that came out was, “Mom, I want to go visit the country in SouthEast Asia.”
As parents, it is a joy to see him excited to serve the Lord, and I can say that wherever God takes him, we will be there to support him.
Our children need us to believe God created them to know Him, walk faithfully, and serve Him boldly in the next generation. As we equip our children for the road of following hard after their God, we need to ensure they know we believe they were called to the task ahead. We need to speak words of courage over them, charging them with the task of carrying the gospel of Christ into the next generation, which needs Him desperately. And with that charge, we must give them our promise to stay engaged. – Lee Nienhuis
Parents, I want to encourage you to:
- build your family’s foundation on Christ and His Word.
- be faithful to teach God’s Word to your children.
- be the example.
- equip your children in order to empower them to do the same.
- be brave, encourage your children to obey God, entrust them to their Heavenly Father, and to stay engaged through it all.
If I want to raise a hero, I’m going to have to become a hero, because brave kids need brave moms. Heaven help me if my fear keeps my child from serving the Lord and becoming a change agent in our dark culture. The sacrifice is real. The danger is real. Let’s do it anyway. – Lee Nienhuis
You are not alone in raising this generation. God will give you wisdom. There are other parents just like you and me, facing the exact same things. Being brave is not easy, but let’s do it together.
“Brave Moms, Brave Kids” challenged me to the core, and I just have to say, “I want more books by Lee!” Lee Nienhuis is an amazing writer. I loved her personal stories and from the beginning, she emphasized the need to first be transformed by God’s Word – through reading and prayer – as a mom and to raise our children to do the same.
This book is a tool and a guide for any parent or mentor ready to train and equip the next generation to know their Creator and Savior, to obey His Word, to know WHO they are, and serve Him wholeheartedly. Parents, we have to lead by example and empower our children. Order “Brave Mom, Brave Kids” today!