It’s my fault really. If I hadn’t chosen a curriculum that emphasizes missionary work . . . Or if I sent the kids to school instead of homeschooling them . . . Or if Don and I weren’t so heavily involved in missionary work . . .
How could I have known it would get implanted in her head to such a degree?
Around the Table
I’m not sure how the conversation started, but the four of us, Kenneth, Melinda, Don and I, were sitting around the table, as we often are. It could have been lunch or supper. At any rate, Kenneth asked a question, as he often does. He wanted to know what Don meant. The general topic of discussion had to do with trusting God and following Him wherever He leads. After Don’s explanation, he asked if we heard God instructing us in a particular area.
Very softly and solemnly Melinda began to speak. That in itself is unusual—she is typically quiet at the dinner table, mostly because she can’t get a word in edgewise—especially if the older ones are present. If she isn’t quiet, she’s giggling. But she wasn’t giggling now. I could tell by the look on her face she had given a lot of thought to whatever she was about to say. “How would you feel if I told you I think God wants me to be a missionary?”
I took a deep breath. I didn’t want my “reaction” to give any of my panicky thoughts away. (Selfishly I was thinking, Really? There goes my last hope of someone taking care of me in my old age.) This topic has come up before, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But this time it was more sincere, more final. Now, I realize she is only ten and may change her mind many times before she actually walks onto a mission field; but it’s her reality at present. I didn’t want to squelch or diminish her insight. I told her I’d be happy and sad, but we want her to follow God wherever He leads. (I also reminded her she may have to search for a husband who shares her calling.)
As I reflect on this discussion, I am proud. Mostly because she is contemplating the possibility of missionary work. At her age all I thought about was boys. I guess reading about William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and Hudson Taylor made an impression. Insisting on listening to missionaries speak at our church and observing her dad pack up and take mission trips all over the world impacted her life. Somewhere, somehow, in the midst of raising my children something sunk in.