17 May 2016

 Constant or Culture: Raising Our Kids on the Mission Field
{ This article has also been published on www.calvarychapel.com }
“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but You remain the same…and Your years will never end. The children of Your servants will live in Your presence” (Psalm 102:25-28).
There are plenty of reasons why I wouldn’t be first in line to share about raising children on the mission field, because I love what I have learned from the ones that have gone before me. I don’t feel like I will ever stop discovering new things on this path. I have been handed such rich treasures over hot cups of coffee in hand and tears flowing into prayers. Those prayers flow into a river of transitions, and cast out the daily life preserver to sustain me for each new change. I can only share from my point of view.
Despite being on the mission field for over ten years, things change when kids come into the story. As a mom, I find myself most content when my children are safely at home. But our kids have experienced homeschooling, American public school, and Hungarian public school. I know that cannot be a continual reality, so I lean into God’s presence and ask Him to hold them close. And with that, I am able to let go of the things that would place a barrier in my natural mind’s path. With all of the woes that can swirl around in this mother's heart, I fix my eyes on Him.
Every day I send my kids out to a village of possibilities. In that village, the language barrier is broken, the social culture is counter, and everything I had ever learned as an 80s and 90s child falls like dust in the wind. The only thing that has never changed in the most foreign of times is the constant, the One, Jesus Christ. He teaches me daily how to walk alongside my kids. He stands true, staying the same at the most turnstile of moments. When I look back, I see what He's done for me and trust what is ahead. This is why I am able to send my kids out knowing that "He's got this."
One of the concrete staples that I stand on is knowing that God has called us here, and if He called us here, then He called our children too. And that doesn’t necessarily just mean Hungary. It’s wherever God posts us.
I do believe there is mutuality all over the world that doesn’t change for parents. No matter what culture we are from, we want our kids to have the best life. None of us want our children to feel pain emotionally or in any way, and for most of us, we want them to develop and maintain an intimate walk with Jesus.
When I was a child, we children were shaded from the social cultures we faced. We turned the other way in a lot of things, even though we still caught eye. But we didn’t wrestle very much it seemed. Our culture today is reading us a different storybook. How often can we shield our kids from the evil and sinful nature of this world, when it is already right at the doorstep of our own hearts? How many times can we pull our kids away from the world that has exchanged the truth of God for a lie? These days, we cannot.
So what are we to do? I am believing God to raise our children, this next age, into a Daniel generation. “With his windows open toward Jerusalem, Daniel knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). In this shaky world, we teach our children to know of the One who doesn't change, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer.
Those little moments matter, Mom and Dad.
Another thing that comes up is the unavailability of familiar things “back home.” I know it well, because I wrestled with it too. At times, like the Israelites, I looked back to the “leeks and onions” of the journey. Having been raised in Southern California, there are quite a few things that can be missed when you’re overseas. But I believe as time goes on and you move past the stuffing, and get to the real stuff of God’s faithfulness, the satisfaction in Christ’s leading proves stronger, and far outshines what we’ve left behind.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
Just as an astronaut ascends through each sphere, to the outer layers of the galaxy, it is a hands-down, indescribable gift to spend our lives for the sake of His heart’s desire, His people. It is not a loss, but a gain.
Our children are growing up in a castle in a village of many fields to run and play. They are meeting new people, learning different cultures, history, and many new languages. They are excelling in it. Sure, things like the Reading Comprehension may be shaky, but we just rejoice with them, never trying to put pressure on them. What they have accomplished is something I am not even close to mastering myself! That’s God’s favor for our children. We often tell them that it is hard work now, but it is the salt and pepper of the years to come. It will be worth it.
The best for our kids is flourishing in His courts, wherever they are. To enable them to define their satisfaction in the best opportunities, performance, things, and friends, is to settle for less. When those things are not always there, we are able to keep the main thing, the main thing. The very best is learning to lean on Jesus and as they do, watching them take the torch and learn of their calling too.

  • Kimberly Beller is a mom of 4, and the wife of Caleb Beller, the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe located in Vajta, Hungary. Originally from Southern California, her passion is to encourage the hurting heart and point the prodigals back home.
    Family website: www.Bellerlifesong.org
    Kim's Blog: www.KimberlyBeller.com

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