I gave my kids away last night

Last night my family said goodbye to my younger brother, Rich, his wife, Julia, and their son, Justus.  Families normally say goodbye a lot and most are casual because there are always many “hellos” that are around the corner.  This goodbye was different though.  Rich and his family are moving to Germany…for good.  It’s been a process of 7 years sincephoto-34 the time they recognized the call of God in their lives to go to Germany and help plant churches until now.

Last night we gathered around the table one last time to share stories that we’ve all heard, but are always hilarious.  We ate. We laughed.  We cried.  And we prayed.  Last night, I have to admit, was an emotional night for me.  Rich and Julia aren’t going to be there for Christmas’ and Thankgivings.  They won’t be around for family birthday parties and vacations.  There’s really no word to describe it but simple sadness; sadness of future missed memories with them.

But in the midst of the sadness of certain moments last night.  There was palpable joy.  photo-33
Joy was there because we knew God was behind all of this.  The call of Jesus to make disciples of all people in all nations is as powerful today as it was almost 2,000 years ago.  And when we see someone go, there is joy.  There was joy because my 3 children saw Scripture come to life last night.  Jesus says in Matthew 10:37-39, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

As we shared our hearts again with Rich and Julia, I turned to my kids and told them through tears that it’s okay if they go.  I never want them to love me and our family more than the call to follow Jesus.  I had to give my kids away again last night to Jesus.  There will probably be many more times I have to do it in the future as well.  I’m joyful today though that my kids saw Matthew 10 come alive last night in their living room.

Last night, as I reflected on the change that is happening to our family, there was one more thought that brought joy to my heart.  Last night’s goodbye is only temporary.  The future of eternity in God’s Kingdom far out-weights the temporary time here on earth.  The time apart here on earth for my brother’s family and the rest of the Rudolph clan will be a finger snap compared to eternity.  So in reality, we are not going to lose memories, we will gain more through each of us following Christ’s call to go make disciples.

photo-32One day I may have to see one of my kids off to an airport and wave goodbye…for good.  If it ever happens, I’ll certainly be sad, but I’ll also be filled and overflowing with joy.  Thanks Rich and Julia for counting the cost…and going.

6 thoughts on “I gave my kids away last night

  1. Oh, Ben. This was such a good post. I have been praying for Julia and Rich every day since he first shared his heart about going. I pray God will grant you peace despite this loss. Please give Liz a big for me. Love, Becky

  2. I too had to “give my kids away” again as we moved them to minister with you at Providence. As we set in service that first Sunday with them, I was reassured once more that following Gods plan is always better than our own. Your family, as well as many others in the church, reached out to make them feel comfortable and at home. Thank you for being there for them, even as you are letting go of part of your family. I have been praying for Rich and Julia as they make this move and know that God will place in thier lives, someone who will fill that space, but not replace the family they left behind. Thank you for following God…
    Diane Bonhomme (Dani Keith’s mom)

  3. This is a really touching post. Your Dad impacted my life for years at Lake Ann. I was thrilled to hear about your brother’s call to Germany. We celebrate seeing other brothers and sisters answer Jesus obediently.

  4. Thanks, Ben, for sharing your experience and your heart. Often the grandparents, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews of the missionaries are overlooked. Yet each one makes a sacrifice. Your acknowledgement of this time of joy and grief will become a blessed support to Rich, Julia & Justus. Your family has done them well.

    Can I share a couple thoughts from my perspective on this side of the ocean? The passage God used to help me surrender to missions is Mark 10:29-31. The truths found there are a wonderful complement to the passage you shared from Matthew 10. The Purpose for all the leaving is the Gospel and the Promise will be repaid abundantly in God’s time.

    I pray that your family (especially your children) will come to understand and see the fruit of the Gospel through the work of Rich, Julia & Justus. This will help make sense of their absence. Also, I pray that God will surround them with family in Christ; spiritual brothers & sisters and aunts & uncles for Justus. As God gives them another home and more family they will find great gain.

    My motive here is to encourage you.

  5. Pingback: One House Wonder Giveaway! | timanddanikeith

  6. Thanks Ben for sharing this! We took Rich and Julia on to support them at Rock Point in Crawfordsville. We also support your mom and dad!
    I know they will do an awesome job for Christ but also know the cost of them going.

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