July 2, 2007

Come Follow Me

Well she is gone. The day was sort of tense for all of us. Trying not to cry knowing that if one did we would all start! Excited too about the adventure that lies ahead of Heaven and Balei. I am so thankful that Heaven's friend Balei is going on this trip with Heaven and that they didn't have to fly to Miami alone. They held hands as the plane took off and there was a gentleman who didn't speak English very well that laughed at them. They have landed and will be in training until late Wednesday night when they will be flying into Peru.

As we were driving to the airport I had random thoughts running through my mind. I was thinking that I had lost my mind and wondering how in this world I could allow my 16 year old baby to leave the country. Then I had the fleeting thought that I couldn't do that, nope no way....not alone. As a matter of fact if left up to me she wouldn't be going at all. This wasn't about me though, this was about Christ our Savior and He is the one who called her and He was the one equipping me and strengthening me to send her off. He was the one who kept me from changing my mind. Because after all it is because of Him that we are here, because of Him that we live, because of Him that we can face our tomorrows. I wouldn't want to take one step without Him.

As we approached the airport I felt like losing it, so I opened the book that I am reading now by Beth Moore called John the Beloved Disciple. I haven't read alot of it lately, I just haven't had the time and to be honest I simply haven't felt led. For some reason this morning before we left I picked it up to take with me to the airport. Then at the moment that I felt as though I were going to lose it the Lord led me to open it and read. This is what I read.

Begin quote-

Jesus walked up to the four fishermen at the shore. How do you picture Christ's expression and demeanor as He called them to follow Him? How do you think Peter and Andrew felt about Jesus also stopping by the second boat and calling James and John? Keep in mind the partnership they shared in business. Do you think the sight of Peter and Andrew accompanying Christ had any kind of impact on the response of James and John?

Mark 1:20 tells us, "Without delay he called them {James and John}, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." How do you think Zebedee reacted? Just so you're exploring all the options, keep in mind that Zebedee probably had some familiarity with Jesus. At the same time, don't forget he was a strong Jewish father with his own plans for his sons. What do you think?

I'm so glad God chose to include the names of James and John's father in Scripture. He wasn't just any man. He wasn't just any father. He was Zebedee. He had a name. He had feelings. He had plans. He was probably close enough to each of his sons' births to hear Salome, his young, inexperienced wife, cry out in pain. He probably wept when he was told he had a son. And then another. No doubt, he praised God for such grace. Daughters were loved, but every man needed a son to carry on the family line, after all.

Two fine sons. That's what Zebedee had. He named them himself. They played in his shadow until they were old enough to work; and if I know anything about teenage boys, they still played plenty behind his back even when they were suppose to be working. Just about the time Zebedee grew exasperated with them, he'd look in their faces and see himself.

At the time when Christ called James and John, I have a feeling they had never been more pleasure or more support. Life is curious. Just about the time you get to reap some of the fruit of your parenting labors, the young, flourishing tree gets planted elsewhere.

Keith and I are in the season of life I'm describing. Our daughters have never been more delightful, never been any easier to care for, and never had more to offer in terms of company and stimulating conversation. The summers of their college years have been great fun, and we never secretly wanted to push them back to school or down the aisle. They are simply very little trouble right now. I wonder if Zebedee felt the same way about young adult sons.

Just when Zeb was reaping a harvest of parental rewards, James and John jumped ship. All he had to show for it was a slimy fishing net. What would happen to the business? What about Zebedee and Sons? No matter how Zebedee felt, I have a pretty good feeling God had great compassion on him. After all, He knew how Zebedee felt when John had to be called away from his father's side in order to fulfill his destiny.

Chances are pretty good Zebedee thought their sudden departure was a phase and they'd get over it. Glory to God, they never did. Once we let Jesus Christ really get to us, we never get over Him. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

End quote from Beth Moore's book John the Beloved Disciple from chapter 4.

Tears streamed down my face as I heard my Father speak directly to me. I wasn't the first one to go through this and He knew exactly what I was going through and was WITH me every step of the way. Not only was I not the first one to go through this but here He took me through another man's journey, a father who lost not one but two sons. He brought to life Scriptures I had read but didn't know existed. How is that possible? That we can read the same word over and over and then that one day the blinders are removed and He gives us revelation knowledge. It comes only through Him.

He knew that I felt like I was losing my daughter, the daughter that I have so faithfully raised in His word and done my very best to train up in the way she should go. He knew that I felt like we were so bonded and so close but now somehow I was left alone, abandoned. He knew in secret how I honestly felt as though I was losing her to Him and how part of me rejoiced but part of me was screaming wanting to hold on. He also knew how I wondered if this were just a fleeting phase that would pass and that deep down inside how I knew that it wouldn't.

Let me tell you what He spoke most boldly to me. It was this, yes, I am not the first, and no, I will not be the last and yet it does not make me and my pain any less important to Him. My pain was the same as Zebedee's. My pain was real. I wasn't just any woman. I wasn't just any mother. I had a name. I had plans. My Father spoke to me and told me that He knew my pain, He understood it and He let me know in a mighty way that He was right here holding my hand. He is my comforter. He reassured me that I was not losing her but gaining her, that He was sharing her with me and that we are going to be with Him in eternity and that in reality we would never lose one another. He reminded me that we are on a journey and this is but another path that must be taken.

I heard His voice saying, "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Wednesday night this week in the class that I teach our lesson was called " A Call to Follow." Our memory verse was Mark 1:17 "Come, follow me,"Jesus said,"and I will make you fishers of men." The Lord had been preparing me before time and I didn't even know it. I thought I was teaching my children but in reality my Father was also teaching me. I just didn't recognize Him. My prayer is that I recognize my Father more and more everyday. He is always in control, there are no coincidences. He loves us more than we could ever know or realize.

Don't you hear Him? Don't you hear His call? "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men!"


Joyful Days said...

This was a beautiful post and brought tears to my eyes. I will pray for Heaven and her friend. Your strength in the LORD shines in this post.

Penless Thoughts said...

This was a wonderful post and one of the best I've read!!!! It is so wonderful to "watch" and recognize the hand of God in our lives and that is what you've truly captured in this post. I trust many young mothers, experiencing the same things will read and be blessed by your words.

Irritable Mother said...

Oh, Jenileigh! I just love reading your words here! How wonderful of God to prepare you and love you as He has done. You DO have a name and He knows it. He loves you. He understands your heartache and you DO matter to Him. Isn't He wonderful???
Thank you for so freely sharing your heart and experiences here.

Karen said...

How awesome and timely that was for you. Thanks for your comments too. I found myself praying for your daughter again last night. When I was 19, I left my homeland to do a DTS with YWAM. As an only child it was hard for my parents, especially my Mum. Now at almost 40 I live in New Zealand, married to a Kiwi, and my parents are in the UK. I am a regular at home Mum of 2 now, working part time, so not in Missions, but your postings have given me much deeper understanding in to what my parents have felt and where they have had to let me go. I look at my own 2 children aged 6 and 4 with more understanding now.

Irritable Mother said...

Please come over...I have an award for you!

KarenW said...

God always gives us what we need when we need it. My children are growing up way too fast also. I don't know how I will handle their leaving but I guess I don't have to worry about that. I have grace for today and He'll give me what I need when the time comes. Thanks so much for your encouraging post.