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a dream of goodbyes

August 26, 2012

Last night I had a disturbing dream. Usually I don’t remember my dreams, nor do I claim to have any special understanding or revelation related to dreams. But this dream caused today, which was already to be an emotional day because we worshiped at our home church for the last time and said goodbye to many friends, to be even more emotional.

In my dream, Lori and I were leaving for the Solomon Islands. So far, my dream was tracking with reality, since our departure is 3 weeks from today. In the dream, however, as we were saying goodbye to family and friends, I had to say goodbye to our 2-year-old son, Little D. (Don’t worry, contrary to the many questions we have gotten from people, yes, we are taking him with us.) I don’t remember many of the details, but I do remember the incredibly raw gut-wrenching emotion. I woke up crying.

Today Little D was in about the roughest shape he’s ever been. He whined a lot and had frequent episodes of non-stop crying. Is it a coincidence that today Lori’s parents go back home (they were visiting the past few days to help babysit the boys)? Or that we’re speaking at another church (it always seems that us speaking stresses Little D out)? Or is it because in 2 days we’re packing up and moving, again? Or that in 3 weeks we’ll fly across the Pacific Ocean? Or maybe it was just because crying comes with being a little kid who is being used by God to refine and sanctify his far-from-perfect or patient father?

Did I have the dream so that God could help prepare me to be extra patient and loving to this little boy today? I don’t know. But I do know that I need all of God’s grace to help me love and care for my family as we prepare for the big transitions over the next few weeks. Please pray for this for me.

Watching the clouds on a picnic blanket with the two boys.

Maybe God gave me this dream to better understand how hard us leaving is for our parents. While we stayed with my parents earlier this summer Lori starting reading this book on their coffee table “Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally“.  After finishing it she ordered a copy for her parents. Both of them read it within a few weeks.

As Lori shared in her post, we are compelled to obey what God wants us to do. But our parents also have to live with the effects of our obedience when it means they are thousands of miles from their grandchildren.

Do you know any parents of missionaries? Siblings? Aunts, uncles, grandparents? Will you please pray for them? Lift them up before our gracious and loving Heavenly Father. He is our compassionate Father, the God of all comfort who comforts us in our trials (2 Corinthians 1:3-11). Maybe give them a call or send them a note to encourage them. The family of a missionary probably needs that encouragement and support just as much as the missionary does.

-John

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 27, 2012 1:04 pm

    My sister leaves in a few weeks to be a missionary in the Canary Islands for a four year term, which I believe means she’ll be gone two full years before she comes back. It’s weird enough for me (and my kids who LOVE their aunt), but I can’t imagine how hard it is for my parents.

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