By Lorie Newman
Our son, Ian, is spending his summer in Swaziland, Africa. Last Saturday we made the long drive to the Adventures In Missions headquarters near Atlanta to leave him at training camp.
I have been so excited for Ian as he has sent out support letters, collected mission supplies, and packed two suitcases jammed with stuff for this trip. Seeing his excitement and knowing God has specifically called him on this trip has given me such peace in knowing he is right in the center of God’s will.
But what I experienced as we left him in Gainesville was something for which I was not prepared.
As we drove down AIM’s long driveway on Saturday, I thought I had a firm grasp on my confidence in God’s protection for my son. I thought I had a firm grasp on releasing my son completely to God’s divine plan. I thought I had a firm grasp on letting him go to be his own person in Christ.
But as we turned the corner to the training camp, something happened.
I began to physically shake as a million ‘what ifs’ began to cloud my spirit. All the dangers of the mission field in Africa closed in on me like a dark menacing cloud. The thoughts of all the horrible things that could happen to my son were overtaking my senses.
For a brief moment, I felt a horrible weight of protection that I knew I was never intended to bear and yet, it was all encompassing. It felt as though I would sink in hopelessness. I forgot how big God was. I forgot that God is the ultimate protector. For a moment, I forgot that Ian ultimately belongs to the Lord and not to me.
God just loves those sweet words from scripture. In the Bible, whenever God’s people felt overwhelmed and hopeless, we see those wonderful words of life in His Word.
Those feelings of protection that were clouding my spirit were very quickly squelched by the resurrection power that lives in me. As a mother, when I start feeling as though I must be the protector of my children, I start to feel weak and hopeless. I have six children. Soon to be eight! Don’t ask me how I do it. I give their protection over to the Lord each and every day. Who in the world am I to think I can protect eight kids? Especially Ian, he’s six feet tall and weighs 175 lbs!
Satan tried to lie to me and show me that I was to be Ian’s protector, his defender, and his guide. For about thirty seconds I believed that lie. The weight of that lie, as I was about to send Ian to the other side of the world completely away from my physical protection, was more than I could bear. If God had not intervened and reminded me very quickly that He alone is my son’s protector, my son’s defender, and my son’s guide, I’m convinced I would have crumbled under the weight of Satan’s lie.
I was still trembling under this lie as the car stopped in the AIM parking lot. As we got out of the car at training camp, from a distance I saw a beautiful young girl that I thought I recognized from my trip to Swaziland last year (the same area of Africa where Ian will spend his summer.) Our eyes met and we both smiled. It was she. We hugged and caught up with each other. She is now working with AIM to help young people like Ian get a taste of international mission work. I remembered her specifically because of how she loved all of the orphans in Swaziland and how she took such time with each of them.
God knew I was hearing Satan’s lies at that very moment. As I hugged and talked with that sweet girl I had met in Swazi, God used her to remind me that I can’t possibly protect Ian as he’s away in Africa, but that He alone would protect Ian. He alone would guide Ian. And He alone would defend Ian. Most of all, He alone would be the one to work in Ian’s life. Just as I had seen Jesus in that sweet girl in Swaziland who now stood before me as an AIM worker, I would soon see that in Ian. And the Lord reminded me that I was not to be concerned about his protection. That was His job.
I am convinced that while in Swaziland my son and his team will see how high, how long, how deep, and how wide the love of Jesus really is. I’m so thankful that I don’t have to protect Ian. If that lie Satan whispered in my ear on Saturday were true in my life, and if what I felt for thirty seconds on that long AIM driveway was my reality, my son would not be boarding a plane for the mission field. He would be safe and sound right here with me.
God loves Ian so much more than I ever could. How freeing it is to just let the God that created Ian be his defender, his protector, and his guide. That job is much too big for me. And you know what? Something horrible could happen on this trip; something tragic and awful could happen to my son. But if I’ve taught Ian anything in his 15 years of life, it is this: we have absolutely no control over where we die or how we die. But, we do have control over how we live.
It looks like my son has heard that message loud and clear, and I’m so thankful he’s choosing to live life to the fullest! Who am I to stand in Gods way as He proves Himself faithful to my son?
If you liked this article, check out Facing My Fears in Africa
Lorie is a busy homeschooling mother of six children, including twins and two children who were internationally adopted one from Haiti and one from Liberia. She has taught and ministered in Bible Studies for over ten years. She and her husband Duane are founders of Reaching Hands Orphan/Adoption Ministries. Through a partnership with Childrens HopeChest, Reaching Hands Ministries enables nearly 300 impoverished African orphans to receive regular food, clothing, and education. You can visit her website at lorienewman.com.