I am a mother. First to my own 5 children, then to at least 20 young boys at any given time. Many of our boys come to our program having never had a relationship with their mother. Many come simply motherless. Abandoned, abused, alone, and astray. These have become my sons.
It is a constant challenge to parent, never mind to parent boys who are not even really, truly yours. They each have their own personality, their own problems, fears, wounds, and dreams, and they are boys. Boys just have a different vigor for life, a strange calling to the wild and crazy, an innate need to fight everything.
More days than not, I have cried myself to sleep over their stubbornness. There have been days I have felt on top of the world after a run away has come home. I have quit too many times to count, feeling so terribly inadequate. I have often argued with God that I am the wrong person for this job.
But children grow. Some faster than others but they do mature, in time. And not only are my own children changing and growing little wings but my boys are too. The dreams that God planted in their little hearts when they were so very new to this world are sprouting and I see the time coming to let them try a few steps on their own.
Looking for somewhere challenging to send 4 of our boys that have been with us for many years, we decided on YWAM (Youth With A Mission). A 6 month discipleship training course held on one of the islands in the south. Globally recognized for their specialty in training youth for mission work, we applied and they were accepted to start January 18th.
They packed their bags
and I could hear them
talking late into the
night so full of
Their first time away from “home”, the only home they have ever really known. They are so full of hope. They have all seen too much of the ugly side of life. They have made good choices and have worked hard to change behaviours and attitudes.
I suddenly panic. Have I done enough? Have I loved enough? Have I taught them enough so they wouldn’t fall? Would they manage on their own? Would they make it?
They smile excitedly and climb into the van and I stand bravely, waving goodbye, tears brimming my eyes. I stand tall and strong for them.
I didn’t know it would be so hard to let them go. I didn’t expect my heart to ache as they drove away. It’s not the help. Not the endless ways they work around Gentle Hands or the shifts they take in the nursery and ICU. I will miss coffee in the wee hours of the morning. Debriefing in the evening after a long, hard day. The joy of watching them learn and grow and turn bad habits into good decisions
And now it is someone else’s turn to teach and I can only pray and trust that I have done enough. I have given all I knew to give and now I must trust God to hold them, keep them, and never ever leave them.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.
Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Some day, these boys will be men. And they will make a difference in their generation. Their God-given dreams will become a reality and they will be leaders to those around them.
I wipe my eyes and say a quick prayer. As I start up to the stairs to check on the boys that are left, I realize years of hard work is finally showing fruit. I grab the bouncing ball from a boy in the hallway and shut the lights off in someone’s room. I push the many pairs of shoes out of the way of my door and realize I am proud.
I am proud to be a mother of sons.
We have sent these 4 boys to YWAM in faith. They each need support of $1000 for 6 months, including a 6 week outreach to IndoChina or among the southern islands of the Philippines. If you could sponsor one of them or your church could, or someone you know, please let me know. They will need our prayers.
Invest in one of our boys. They are so worth it.