In December, our pastor preached from a passage in 1 Samuel. I've always like the story of Hannah, but this day was different. Our pastor talked about Hannah's prayer for a child and then promising to give him back to the Lord. He talked about how God used Samuel to call out King David and later how Jesus was born of that lineage. It all began with the heartfelt prayer of a mother.
That morning, the Lord reminded me of a prayer I prayed many years before. I was a new Christian as well as a young, single mother. While learning under the preaching of Al Gilbert and the mentoring from his wife, KK, God began to develop a passion for missions in me. I really wanted God to call me to the mission field, but I knew that I wasn't supposed to go. I remember clearly one Sunday when I felt God asking me to pray for Tori. She was just a baby at the time. That morning I prayed, telling the Lord that if He wanted to call my child to the mission field, I would do everything I could to raise her with a passion for the world and that I wouldn't try to keep her with me. I never told her about that prayer, or anyone else that I can remember. The call needed to be from the Lord and not from me. I watched over the years as the Lord molded and shaped the heart of my girl.
Now, as I sat in our church, I was seeing the answer to that prayer unfold. God did call my daughter to the mission field. We were deep in preparations to send her to the other side of the world. My heart ached as I thought about fulfilling my promise not to try to keep her with me.
One of my daughter's favorite foods is a strawberry smoothie. In the time leading up to her leaving, I made sure that we had enough supplies on hand that she could have one every morning if she wanted. On our final morning together, I asked her if she wanted a smoothie. She told me that she did but that she could make herself. "I'll make it for you." I replied. She thanked me and walked away. In my mind I finished the thought, "Because tomorrow I can't."
While I've always enjoyed the story of Hannah and Samuel, I look at through a different perspective now. When reading the part that talks about how Hannah made a coat for Samuel each year, I feel like I know some of the emotions that went into making it. I wonder how many tears joined with the material in the making of each coat. Tears of joy as well as sadness.
After my daughter left, I found pleasure in being able to do things for her, even though she was so far away. Putting away her laundry, making her bed (the morning she left was really busy), and being her secretary so to speak all became ways to show her love until my arms can reach her again. I'm not comparing myself to Hannah or my daughter to Samuel. However, I do take comfort in Hannah's story. Her love for God and the way she trusted Him is a testimony to us all. So many emotions went along with sending my daughter off. Joy in seeing her serve the Lord. Sadness at the thought of not being able to see her for so long. Excitement when I thought about how much she'll grow in her relationship with the Lord through this journey. God has been telling His story all throughout history. He invites us to be a part of it. It isn't always easy, but it is always worth it.