Letting go

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In 1999 I became a mother.  Just 15 months later, Daniel met his new little brother, Andrew.  (We also have two more children that I love dearly, but this post is about my oldest boys.)  Being a mom was a dream come true!  My days were filled with keeping my boys fed, changing diapers, wiping runny noses,  kissing chubby cheeks, and all the other tasks that come with being a wife and mommy.  

brothers - (November 2000)
At a young age, each of my kids were dedicated to the Lord.  Bible stories, Sunday School songs, and teaching obedience was a part of our daily lives.  Ron and I have always had a desire to raise our children to love and serve the Lord.  But honestly, at such a young age, most of my worries and concerns were about sickness, teething, choking on a piece of food, and such things as that.  I wasn't concerned about them hanging out with the wrong kids in the nursery :)

Krasnoyarsk, Russia (April 2003)
The next stage of life brought with it riding bikes, sleeping in big boy beds, zooming around on scooters, and climbing on everything.   

in Moscow to meet grandpa and grandma at the airport (November 2005)

Our boys continued to grow and reach new stages in their lives.  My job of being their mom kept me busy , but I was loving it. 

daddy's helpers - Shela, Russia (June 2007)
We praise the Lord that each of our boys made a personal decision to trust the Lord as their Savior.  Those were exciting steps in their lives.  What a blessing it was to see the Lord answer prayers and give us fruit that we had been praying for since our boys were babies.

camping out in the living room - Rakvere, Estonia (July 2009)
So, as you know what happens with time, the boys continue to grow and reach new milestones and stages in their lives. 

the {frozen} Gulf of Finland (February 2010)
Then the day came when my boys became teenagers!
Having two teenage boys in the house has been an adventure for sure.  One challenge that I face continually is filling them up completely at meal time.  They love to eat!  The teenage years bring other challenges too and honestly, they can be a little more complicated than when they were babies.

love my boys - Estonia (May 2010)

The older my boys get the more independent they become.  Part of me wants to protect and shield them from the hardships of life, while another part of me knows that those things are a real part of life and part of the growing up process.  So Ron and I continue to teach and train them with the Bible as our guide.  Then I remind myself that when they were just little guys in diapers, I gave them to the Lord.  They are His and He loves them more than I do.     

having fun on a trip to Finland (April 2011)

I'm thankful that even though my boys are almost head and shoulders taller than me, they still say "I love you" and give me hugs.  But life is changing once again for us.  For example:  as we think about when we will take our next furlough, we are having to consider things we've never factored in before.  Things like looking at Bible colleges, getting a summer job to save money, etc.  In just 3 years we will be sending Daniel to the states to start college.  To be perfectly honest with you - when we arrived on the field in 2003 with a 3 1/2 year old, 2 year old, and 8 month old I had not even thought about the day I would send one of my kids back to the states for college.  Now, I know many parents have done it and I know of older missionaries who have gone to the field and left grown children and even grandchildren in the states.  I have a much deeper respect for those people now than I did before.  That day is not so far away for me anymore. 
Whenever those thoughts overwhelm me, I remind myself that when my boys were little guys still in diapers, I gave them to the Lord.  He knows the stages we are in and the ones we face.  They are His and He loves them more than I do.

Resurrection Sunday - Johvi, Estonia (March 2013)
We are all excited about the next adventure in their teenage years.  Daniel and Andrew have an amazing opportunity to spend a part of the summer with their grandparents in California.  They will be flying out of Tallinn Tuesday, June 3, at 6 a.m.  They have lots of jobs and activities waiting for them.  Their grandpa (also our sending pastor) will be using them to help around the church.  They will also get to enjoy hearing preaching in the English language.  A couple highlights will be attending our home church's family camp and teen camp.
  
my boys - Johvi, Estonia (May 2014)
This is a new stage in life for us as parents too.  I guess God is giving us a practice run for sending them to college in a few years.  Even though I am very excited for my boys, I am going to miss them like crazy.  I am confident that this is what God wants for their lives this summer, but sometimes it is just hard to let go.  I must remind myself that when they were just little guys in diapers, I gave them to the Lord.  I want His will in their lives.  They are His, He knows what is best for them - He loves them more than I do.

It is always best to let go and trust God.



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8 comments:

  1. Thank you for another beautiful post, Mrs. Winkler! I have huge respect for parents who are thousands of miles away from their parents. It was difficult enough for mine for me to be 800 miles away in college. God bless you and your dear family!

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  2. I am not really looking forward to that day either. I'll be praying for you. God will take care of your (our) boys.

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  3. No one loves our children more then their dad and I. I find your statement very sad.

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    1. I really loved reading this I makes it.not seem so scary with my.own children!

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    2. Dear Anonymous,
      If you are going to post a comment like that, you should be able to post it with your name. I know it seems hard to believe that anyone could love your children more than you do. Sometimes when I look at my two children, I love them so much it just hurts. However, it is just a fact that God loves them more. I'm sure that in some ways it is a different kind of love. At any rate, there is nothing sad about Rachel's comment. It is a comment of wisdom and understanding. It is not a comment that means either God loves them or she loves them. They both do. It's not a comment that means she loves them less because God loves them more. She loves them with all of her being, and yet there is something about God that goes beyond our comprehension. The Bible tells us that God IS love. Her comment is one of faith. It is a comment that ultimately brings her greater joy than if she didn't realize the fact of God's great love for her and her children. It expresses a realization that can lift many burdens, doubts, and worries.

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  4. This is sooooo beautiful, but it also is so bitter sweet... Sigh... They belong to Him and that is comforting.

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  5. Wonderfully written, Rachel! MKs who have loving supportive family or "adoptive" families when they go back to the USA are BLESSED. So glad your boys and girl DO!! I had an adoptive family after my first year in boarding school that remained a truly accepted into their family for then and onward. Just in July, my precious "other mother" joined her husband in Glory. I am and was blessed by these godly folks!

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  6. I love seeing all of the pictures in progression. Don't you wish you could just freeze time?!

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An encouraging word is always welcome and much appreciated!

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