A well-meaning mom asked me the other day this question. "How could you send your oldest son around the world at only 19 years old for six months!? I could never do that!" I truly hope my face did not convey what my mind was thinking because if it did I am sure the expression offended her. I tried to quickly regroup and had to simply state, "Because he was not my son first, and I don't ever want to stand in front of our Lord and have to answer for why I stood in the way of his God-dreams." It is the truth. It is my role in my son's life. His dad and I are to basically move out of the way at this point. We have done the best we can in our flawed human efforts to steward this child well that the Lord gave us so that he can grow into a man that chases hard after God. Why would we want to stand in the way of this pursuit now? We are seeing the years of prayers, tears, defeats, and triumphs come full circle and for this we are humbled and excited.
But, if I am completely honest, this flesh still gets in the way sometimes.
This momma just misses her boy.
There are days that feel like I can't breathe simply because I want that 6' tall man-child to come barreling through the front door with that contagious smile of his announcing, "I'm home!" I so miss the way his little sister would squeal, "Austy's here!" anytime he would drive up. I miss hearing him playing video games in the other room with his twelve year old brother, all the while intentionally sneaking in tidbits of life that he feels are important to pass on to his younger counterpart. I miss the way that he made sure to always compliment my cooking and thank me for the meal prepared after dinner. I miss his political discussions he would have with his dad. I miss getting sneak peeks into video work he is doing and wanting to jump with excitement over seeing something that can move me to tears, or awe.
I missed my son's 20th birthday.
I miss my boy.
But, God is faithful. As time moves on until Austin's return (counted down by a little sister, a homemade calendar, and a purple marker) God is teaching me so very much. He is teaching me not only to let go of the way things were, but to get excited in the things to come. To embrace those wings He gave my son that are meant to fly wherever He takes him.
The wonderful thing is, the more we watch our son soar, the more we realize that our dreams are not so far from his. Every picture he posts, every video he creates of his time there is one more draw into dreams about places we knew existed, but never saw.
And more importantly, it gives a face to people we pray for but have never seen. Those same faces could be any where in the world. They may have differences in appearance, but the faces are the same. They are faces that need to look upon a great Savior.
Yes, as I cling to being able to Skype my son once every few weeks, wake up every single morning and check my Facebook and email before I even get out of bed looking for a message from 7,700 miles away, I can choose to rejoice whether it is there or not. I am watching my son grow into the man God wants him to become, and in turn, his journey is encouraging and challenging those of us that need to be stretched in our own way. This stirring in me for something more, something that is desperately fighting against complacency...this is because of a boy that stepped on a plane in answer to his call. In this, I can also rejoice.
My heart may hurt, but my heart is full.
(Photo Credit - Austin Wideman)