We spend the first part of our lives as parents protecting our kids from danger. It’s our whole job…make sure they don’t starve, do float in the pool, don’t put their hands on hot stoves, do look both ways before crossing the street and don’t run with scissors. The mantra is BE CAREFUL!
Then we reach a point at which we have to begin to let go. We have to let them experience a little danger, take risks – and it freaks me out! Not even going to lie.
It’s part of growing up. Even more than that it’s part of the Christian life. Contrary to what many believe or what our motherly instincts scream at us, our kids weren’t born to just stay safe, forever.
In order to follow Jesus, pursue their callings, to fulfill the gospel, risk might be involved, especially in the world we live in. It can be a pretty unfriendly place for followers of Christ. It can be pretty unfriendly for girls. It can be pretty unfriendly for everybody.
As parents we get to entrust them to God, who created them, gifted them and called them. We care for them for a time and then release them back to Him and trust that they can hear and follow Him, too.
Our current exercise in faith has Caeley staying in Mexico for 6 weeks. It’s a city that’s been associated with the word ISIS (whether it’s true or not, I don’t know) and where drug and human trafficking is prevalent. She is staying at a children’s home inside a compound but it’s a place I’ve never been and can’t be there to warn of impending danger. I can’t remind her to BE CAREFUL! (Well, I can by text, but it’s not the same.)
Allowing her to stay an extra month was a little hard, but then late last night I got a text letting me know she wanted to go to a block party downtown this evening, given by YWAM for men and women who are actively involved in prostitution. When you’re contemplating this at 1am all the worst case scenarios play out in the mind and all kinds of questions arise. Well, mostly just one.
You’re leaving the compound?
That’s not what we agreed to.
Where there are prostitutes there are pimps. Where are they while all this is going on?
You’re leaving the compound?
This could be dangerous.
You say you’re going downtown?
Off the compound?
Normally I’d say it’s an amazing ministry opportunity and I would support such outreaches. I’d even like to go sometime. But do I believe it’s important enough to send my own daughter out of her “safe” home into their world to reach them?
That’s the real test. How much do I believe these women and men matter? How valuable are they to God? How much do I trust God? Is the gospel worth the risk?
Caeley says yes. My girl has an adventurous spirit and heart that wants to see justice done; to see the forgotten be remembered; to let them know they are loved, valuable, beautiful, seen.
She is brave. So I will be brave. How could we say no to her desire to love? I am so proud of her and the woman she is becoming. She has a fierce, compassionate and loyal heart and is a pursuer of truth.
I love what God is doing in her and the way she is responding. It might not be easy for her to come face to face with the reality these men and women live with – to see it up close and personal. The pain, the hardened hearts, the hopelessness, the emptiness.
I pray grace is multiplied to her and through her and for mercy to flow. I pray for her to see and sense Jesus among them, because He is with the outcast. Remember, He said what we do for them, we do for Him.
I pray for her to feel His heart for them. I pray this trip sets her trajectory to fight for the underdog, the oppressed and the unloved.
And yes, Lord, yes. I pray for safety. Protect her. Surround her. Send someone to minister to her heart. Give her wisdom beyond her years.
And, Lord, remind that child to text me as soon as she gets home. Because I will be waiting, praying and practicing the art of letting go.