By Guest Author Kim Ransleben
This December, students will join together for CrossCon 2021. Speakers will tell them about God’s heart for the nations, and then plead with them to carry the good news across the world. Students will be confronted with all the obstacles that must be overcome. And for many of them, the obstacle that looms largest is talking to mom and dad.
On one hand, there are things students should do to let their parents join in the joy of their calling, and on the other hand, there are things parents should do to support their kids. Since I am the parent of a daughter who served overseas, my heart is burdened for those parents who may be surprised to hear their children express holy ambition for the nations. Here are a few thoughts which have helped my husband and me.
1. Hold tightly to God’s sovereignty over them, and hold loosely to your plans for them.
We must go into this season of parenting with our hands wide open. There are things that we may have been wanting to see our kids do, expectations for their lives that we have that are not what God wants for them. As my girls grew up, of course I thought of the sons-in-law I’d someday have and the grandbabies. But God has birthed into my daughter’s heart a love for a people half-way across the world. And through it all, I’ve had to put to death my dreams for her and for us.
This life here and now was never meant to be home for God’s people. There will be a day when my girls and I will stand together on a new earth. Our Father calls us as parents to be patient for that day … like him, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But He’s not just calling us to spread His good news, but to send our kids to work, too.
2. If they’re not ready, get them ready.
I do understand that even if you agree on the previous point, you still may be thinking that it’s great for someone else’s kid, but not yours. They’re just not ready. What do we often see in them? Eye rolling at coming to our family gatherings, lots of pictures of coffee shops and sporting events, pleas for more money, and a detachment from our family. If you feel like they aren’t ready today, then be specific in your concerns as you talk to them, tell them that you are excited about any movement of God in their lives, and that they can count on you to support them. Tell them that there are some areas of growth that you’d like to see. Then be committed to helping them get there.
3. Believe what you taught them.
If you are a parent who trusts in Jesus, realize with me that in a sense, this is “our fault.” We’re the ones who took them to church, told them that Jesus loves the little children of the world, and taught them that God would be with them even when we couldn’t be. We told them God could do anything he wants, and that He loves it when it looks impossible because then everyone sees how amazing He is.
So what are they doing now with all this missions talk? They’re just taking us at our word.
4. Great risk and great cost are only right for a greater reward.
All of this might be leading you to think, “Sure, they can go somewhere. But there? Do you know what they do to Christians there?” Yes, I do. I remember the days of standing in the driveway as my daughter walked about 20 yards away to get the mail. I also remember when she could drive down those streets, which eventually became interstate highways, and then a summer-long mission trip. Why would we let our kids do that? Don’t we know the risk? The cost?
Of course we do. But over time, as our children grow (and we grow), they are able to go further and further from us with our blessing and support because we believe the gain is worth the risk and cost. The goal of our parenting is to press on, to race ahead of our kids in how we trust our God and His plans for their lives. We know firsthand what a test of faith this is. We also know firsthand the strength of the grace our Father pours out to parents who retell His true story by sending out their beloved children to bring more children home. Let them go.
[Editor’s Note: This article has been modified for CHEC; the original article first appeared on Desiring God. You can find it here.]