One of the greatest gifts I have ever received in ministry came from a veteran missionary mother and wife. This missionary, to this day, probably has no idea what a blessing her words were to me. But she gave me that day the unexpected blessing of commendation.
After a busy day of homeschooling for me and language study for my husband, we were excited to be hosting a veteran missionary couple for dinner. We wanted them to share with our boys, ages 14 and 12. So we asked them to share their experiences on the mission field, as we anticipated our own departure in a few short months. My husband had heard some of their story in class. He felt that our children and I needed to hear what they had to share. In fact, he had asked our boys to come up with ten questions each to ask this couple. Then he e-mailed their thoughtful inquiries ahead of our meal together. We were all looking forward to conversing over dinner.
The conversation started out simply enough. It started with stories of their early years in ministry and their family’s experiences on the field. Our boys were extremely interested in what they had to say and eager to ask some of their questions. One of our sons asked directly about spiritual warfare, and the couple hesitated at first to share freely. My husband encouraged them to do so honestly. Our boys’ attention was riveted as they heard firsthand accounts of demonic activity. But they also heard the miraculous power of God to intervene for His children. Our guests were careful to explain that their experiences were not the norm; however, as followers of Jesus, we should be prepared to experience spiritual warfare and not be afraid.
Conversation flowed freely.
As our boys neared the end of their lists of questions, the wife asked them if they had any fears or uneasiness about moving overseas. Neither of our sons had much to say to that. But her next words were the balm that my heart needed. I was contemplating the big changes that were about to occur in the lives of my children as we moved them halfway across the world. She said, “I know you are going to be okay, because of the parents God has given you. Now that I have gotten to know your mom and dad, I know they will lead you well.”
Hearing this spoken out loud to my children in my hearing was such a gift to me. In those few simple words, she validated my role as mom and commended me to my children. It felt like God Himself was telling me everything was going to be ok. I will forever be grateful for the unexpected blessing of commendation given to me that night. And I will never forget it.
“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:18, ESV