Editor’s note: This blog post was originally posted on the blog, A Life Overseas. It is reposted with permission from the author, Abby Alleman. She previously served overseas as a missionary with her husband and three children. Now she and her husband touch the lives of refugees through the ministry of the Welcome Network. Learn more about Abigail at her blog and website (abigailalleman.com). Follow her on Instagram @abigail.allema.
Can I as a missionary parent well?
Somewhere between the 1,100-mile move and the wheels falling off (not literally, but figuratively) of our family’s parenting vehicle, I asked the question:
‘Is it possible for me, as a career missionary, to parent well?’
It seems I crucify myself between two thieves: Fear and Self-Doubt. And there are probably a million other places I can go which defeat me as a parent.
But, fellow cross-cultural parent, I am not writing this for any of us to stay in places of shame or defeat. I believe God has a fresh word for all of us amid the uncharted waters of loving our kids in new spaces, both figurative and literal.
Trying to protect your children from being shaken
When we were first considering a dramatic ministry change, I called a friend to pray over me and my family. She saw a picture of me trying to protect my kids from what this new call and accompanying relocation could do to them. As I released them, they were in scary places I had no control over, and they were shaken. Yet, my friend’s word of encouragement was that without this ‘shaking up’ they would never establish themselves in their own unique relationships with God.
Whether you are in transition, or simply in the throes of what missionary journeys can do to us as very human parents who still struggle, may I offer this same word to you for your children?