Here she is. Send her.


I was in a church service, worshipping God. The preacher stopped, and said, ‘there are some here whom God is calling to mission. If you think that’s you, then come to the front.’

 
My spirit leapt within me as soon as I heard those words, my heart bursting with love for God and a desire to serve Him, to give my whole life over to Him, whatever the cost. I couldn’t stop my legs from moving – I came to the front, weeping tears of worship and humility. The preacher prayed over me, that God would confirm that call, and that I would test it by doing some short-term mission.

 

In my heart, I resolved to do just that, and decided that that would be the summer when I would begin to test God’s call on my life.
 

******

 
There was just one problem. I was fifteen.
 

As I searched through all the leaflets and information about mission opportunities, I became increasingly dismayed. There were no opportunities for someone my age. It was all sixteen and above. What about Samuel, and David, and Timothy, called when they were super-young? Did mission agencies not know that God had called me NOW?
 

Finally I found one. I could barely contain my excitement as I showed it to my mother.
‘Look, Look! World Horizons are doing a short-term mission to Liverpool, and they take anyone aged 14 and over! I think God is calling me to go on this mission trip.’
 

Immediately, my mother started in with the questions and reservations. Who were World Horizons? What kind of church was it based with?
 

I answered her impatiently with the information I had.
 

“Where did you say it was?” she asked.
“Toxteth, Liverpool.” I replied.
“You’re not going,” she said simply.
*********

Me, aged 15. Ignore the mess and the dead spider plant

Unbeknownst to me, Toxteth had been known in the previous decade for its riots, and the footage of looting, stabbing and burning cars had horrified the entire nation. Toxteth was a terrible place to go. You would not send your friend there, let alone your fifteen-year-old daughter.
 

As all good teenagers do, I wheedled, I whined, I nagged. I also prayed, and hoped that Mum would realise that this was God’s call on my life, so He would protect me.
 

She eventually agreed and I went to Toxteth on mission. I stepped out in faith, and I had an amazing time. I learnt so much from the love and witness of those who were working in that tough inner-city environment. Through the barely-comprehensible Liverpudlian accents I found people who were poor and bored and who needed the gospel and needed love.
 

I was stretched in my faith. I did things I thought I’d never be able to do – drama and street evangelism and leading worship. I was still scared, and way out of my comfort zone, but I saw God use us, in our weakness and youth. I had stepped out, and God had caught me and led me on.

 

Me (far right) doing street evangelism in Toxteth – it was trendy back then…

*******

 
It took me almost twenty years and becoming a mother myself to realise that the person who had most stepped out in faith was not me but my mother.
 

It is one thing to give your life to God’s service, to say to God, ‘here am I, send me’, but it is the deeper and more costly sacrifice to say of your daughter, ‘here she is, send her.’ I am thankful for the faith of my Mum to trust in God for me. Young and naive and eager as I was, she recognised my heart for God and desire to serve and she helped fan into flame the gift of God in me.
 

True discipleship is hazardous. Discipleship always involves sacrifice and trust in God, but for those of us who are parents, there is a even greater challenge here: If God calls, will we let them go, whatever the cost?
 

Deep down, are we prepared to trust God with our children?

 


I’m sharing My Hazardous Faith Story as part of a synchroblog connected with the release of Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. To discover more about the book and to read others’ Hazardous stories, click here.
 

 
 

 
Also linking with Life Unmasked and WIP Weds.
 

Life Unmasked

WIPWednesday
 

Over to you:

  • Have you ever stepped out in faith like this?
  • If you are a parent, what do you think of the challenge of trusting God with your children?
  • Is it easier to say ‘Here am I, send me’ than ‘Send him/her’?

 

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32 Responses to Here she is. Send her.

  1. Amy Young 16th September, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    As one who has been overseas the majority of my adult life, I am painfully aware of how much this call on my life isn’t just about me. It has cost my family and friends as well. I do tell them thank you for being supportive of me … but probably not as often as I should!!! And it has definitely changed over the years — it was easier when I was in my 20s and my folks were still young and there were no precious nieces in the picture. I love this piece!

    • Tanya 17th September, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Hello, lovely Amy! I’m SO glad you enjoyed this!
      Actually, your reminder about friends making the sacrifice has prompted my thinking. One of my closest friends is considering going to be a missionary in Japan. I really really don’t want her to go. I know I’m meant to want her to go – but I don’t… I wonder if God is reminding me again of my priorities.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I love your blog!

  2. Donna 7th September, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    I have a good friend who sent her only child – beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed girl – off on a missions trip to the Philipines… which resulted in a wedding last year. Her beautiful girl is now married to one of the pastors at the church she visited on her first ever missions trip and is living there permanently. This girl fell in love with the people there, and then the pastor fell in love with her!
    That was the first wedding I’ve ever cried at. It was a beautiful wedding, and I knew how proud my friend was of her daughter, but I also knew the price she was paying, and will continue to pay, for not standing in the way of the call of God on her daughter’s life.

    • Tanya 9th September, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Wow – this is an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  3. ro elliott 2nd September, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Great post…oh yes…a parent’s heart must be yielded…I just had a face to face with God…my whimpy heart…My daughter/SIL are involved with campus ministry…they thought when their first child was born it would be time to step away…well God had different plans…they are taking a step in deeper…well this made me getting to see my new little grand love a lot less…I was whining in my heart…God challenged me…is this where I have them? I had to release my “rights’ as a grand mother…and would it be any different(oh the heart ache) if they were overseas serving God. Thanks for this~

    • Tanya 4th September, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      I think the sacrifice of grandparents is one that is often underrated. I am thinking of a couple in our church who have just seen their children off to do mission work in another continent – it’s hard not being able to see the little ones when they grow so fast. May God meet you in the midst of that.

  4. Genevieve 1st September, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    You are so, so right! When I think about my faith as a girl, as a young woman, I am always reminded of a line from one of George MacArthur’s great sermons, “How lightly I invoked so great a spirit”. I flippantly entered faith – although the tears burned hot on my cheeks and my heart was on fire – I had NO idea what faith would require of me before life was done. And going on mission trips was a walk in the part decision for me – but never for my parents, even when I was in my 20s and traveling to places of the world where white Americans were often kidnapped and held for ransom by guerrilla warriors.

    Thanks for this…I’ll have to find the synchroblog and add my story…

    • Tanya 2nd September, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Great to hear of your mission experience! I’d love to know more about it!
      ‘how lightly I invoked so great a spirit’ – that quote is amazing – so haunting. Thanks for sharing it. And thanks for hosting Life Unmasked so well this week!

  5. Mary Beth 1st September, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I spent 7 weeks in Thailand as a summer missionary when I was 19. I realize now what a huge step of faith that was for my parents. Thanks for sharing your story with WIP Wednesday!

    • Tanya 2nd September, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Great to hear that you also had an early mission experience! Yup – I think that would have been pretty huge for your parents too…
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Melanie 31st August, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    How did I miss this post?
    Oh, yea, that’s right it was Wednesday, the first day of kindergarten…Practicing my own letting go.

    “True Discipleships is hazardous” It is. I think sometimes we do a bait and switch at church. Attracting and then saying take up your cross.

    I love you looking at this through your moms eyes!

    • Tanya 31st August, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Oh yikes! That’s huge! How did it go?
      Argh – I don’t think I’m ready to let my son go off to school in a few years’ time, let alone a foreign country! Parenting is all about letting go, isn’t it?
      Thanks for stopping by, friend!

  7. Jill Richardson 31st August, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Oh yes. We watched our daughter go off to Guatemala last fall for three months. First time away from home, and I knew it was not a safe place. But I can’t preach and write about empowering and encouraging young people (and old people!) to be what God wants unless I’m willing to believe that might mean my own kid takes risks I don’t like. She’s not mine. I think I’ve finally accepted that because of Guatemala.

    • Tanya 31st August, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

      Ah – the challenge of practicing what you preach – it’s tough!
      So awesome that you gave your daughter that opportunity – I’m sure it’ll be a life-changing one for her. Great to see you on here- I really enjoyed your hazardous story this week!

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