Five weeks from today, our oldest daughter will begin a new season. She will be furthering her education in the areas of Bible and worship. For the first 17 years of her life, I had envisioned my sweet daughter finishing her high school education, maybe attending college from home, and finding a wonderful husband so that they could pursue a life together serving God. But God challenged my ideas for her future while the two of us were serving on a missions trip to China just before her senior year. Close to the end of our time in China, we had the opportunity to take a short hike to an overlook in a remote village. As I stood gazing at the expanse of the incredibly beautiful mountains piercing the sky, I heard in my spirit, “This is your Mount Moriah.” Immediately my mind flashed to a picture of Abraham with his son Isaac, standing before an altar. His heart may have been filled with pain and grief, but through his surrender came great blessing to him and the world.
God: Are you willing to give me your daughter? Me: I did that years ago during a baby dedication service at church. Of course she’s yours. God: But this is different. Will you surrender her to Me—and to China? Me: But she can’t go to China. She’s not married yet. Certainly you don’t want her to be here alone (God had clearly called her to China during a Kindergarten geography lesson in our homeschool, but we had imagined that would be after she was married.) God: Must she wait until I send her a husband? What if she never marries? Can she not return to China? Do you trust me to take care of her? Silence. Me: (through tears) Yes. I trust You. She’s yours.
This whole conversation was a surprise to me. When our children were babies we understood that it was important to commit them to God’s care and follow His direction for them. It was no surprise that our children belonged to Him, but I had imagined that our girls would stay at home, learn a skill that could bring in money from home and then they would be married. I had not considered the possibility that our creative God might have other plans. When we returned from China, I shared the revelation with my husband and with Victoria. Together my husband and I released her to follow God’s direction for her life—whatever that looked like. She continued to pursue her love for China and training for worship while she studied graphic design at the community college.
Fast forward two years. Victoria was about to finish her studies at the community college. Clearly God was growing Victoria’s passion for worship and expanding her gifting. Leaders in the church confirmed her gifts and gave her opportunities to grow. Victoria sensed she needed further training beyond what she could receive in our area, but she was reluctant to even dream about what might be beyond our community. We could see God’s hand guiding her and knew He was expanding her vision. After prayer, long discussions, divine appointments, confirmations, and our blessing, she applied and was accepted to a program to study Bible and worship. I knew it was God’s will but my heart held a seed of fear that I was losing my daughter—and my friend.
One day in my quiet time as I was praying about this situation, God showed me that my daughter was like a bird. “She’s a bird made to fly and it isn’t good if she was allowed only to sit in your nest and sing. She has a gift and she will bless many ‘nests’ with her voice. A captured bird becomes unhappy and unfulfilled. As she fulfills her call, joy will overflow—both in her life and in yours. There will be some who prefer birds in cages and they may not understand. But I created birds to fly. Some fear the birds will never return, but I created migratory birds to fly away for a season and then return to the same location, a safe place. She will always treasure the safe place of your home.” I realize that only outside the cage can she fulfill the purpose of her Creator. First and foremost she belongs to God and I know He loves her so much more than I ever could. I trust that He is guiding her and that she is following His voice.
The next five weeks will pass all too quickly. We’ll spend time together, sharing quiet moments, shopping for necessities and making more memories. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the day Victoria checks in at school is three years to the day we departed on our life-changing missions trip to China. She may be thinking of her new adventure, but I’ll be thinking of the mountains of China and Mount Moriah. I know that through surrender will come great blessing.
Note: Victoria is currently recording her first CD. It will be available in the Daughters 4 God Shoppe in early August.