When A Daughter Goes From Here To There

“Did you hear my plan for when I get back next year?”

I plopped a piece of sushi into my mouth and shook my head no.

Maybe next year that'll be our daughter (Source)

Maybe next year that’ll be our daughter

“I’ll apply for a job at Disneyland as either Pocahontas or Jasmine and go to Fuller Seminary.”

“That’s a great plan,” I said around the semi-masticated fish and rice.

This combines two loves my daughter, son, wife and I all share: Disney and studying the Bible. So our family’s dinner conversation followed along.

My son and I began mapping out the best route from Pasadena to Anaheim and back, while my wife and daughter discussed the relative merits of getting an apartment nearer one or the other.

And all of us, of course, wanted to know if this meant free passes to The Happiest Place On Earth.

But in the meantime there’s Asia.

Asia, NGOs, and Disadvantaged Women

That dinner at our favorite sushi place two nights ago was our last meal together as a family for a while. The next morning, yesterday morning, we drove to the airport and dropped our daughter off at the curb with two very heavily packed suitcases and some tight hugs.


“Love you.”

“Have adventures.”

“Love you.”

“Love you.”


Our daughter will be there somewhere (Wikipedia)

Our daughter will be there somewhere

And in she went to check her bags. She’s spending the year in Asia with a non-governmental organization, an NGO. We don’t say where because she’s going to a sensitive area and it’s best not to give details of the NGO work going on there.

I can say that she will be pursuing the work God has placed on her heart for years: reaching women in difficult situations, whether in underdeveloped areas such as where she’s going now or women who face other disadvantages. This job will last a year, and then she’ll figure out what’s next.

Apparently that might include Fuller and Disneyland.

Future Focused

Our minds are constantly on the future. As the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11.)

Everything is beautiful in the right time, but we also have a future time we look to at all times. This truth hit me right as our daughter was telling us about seminary and Disneyland.

I had been focusing on all that was going on in getting her off for the next year overseas, not looking beyond except recognizing that at some point she’d be returning. I know that’s only a year away but the end point seemed unformed to me, ill-defined and ungraspable.

Then she talked about what happens after. She gave it a form and definition I could grasp. Whether she does go to Fuller and gets a job as a Disney character is beside the point. After all, a year is a long time and anything can happen. The point is that there is a future that we can talk about and look forward to.

What Comes After

It’s like that with God and eternity. Eternity is in our hearts for a reason. God desires us to have in mind what comes after, what comes next, what is going to meet us as we travel the road he’s given us.

Yet the reason we can focus on eternity is because the God of all eternity is with us right here and right now. The passage goes on to tell us:

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-14.)

It is good to enjoy where God has us now as we consider the eternity he has placed in our hearts.

After all, everything from God endures forever.

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32 Responses to When A Daughter Goes From Here To There

  1. Adriana says:

    How exciting! So glad for her! Thank you for the update, Tim! 🙂

  2. You and your wife have given your kids roots and wings. Great parenting!

  3. michellevl says:

    What an adventure of service and learning she’s going to have – and what joy (no doubt seasoned with a measure of parental concern for her safety) for you and your wife, to see your daughter moving into adulthood with such purpose and commitment to the Lord.

    • Tim says:

      One of my prayers since the kids were born is that God would grow them into the person’s he wants them to be. I am assuming her taking this on is in answer to those prayers for her!

  4. Aimee Byrd says:

    Wow, this is such a good reminder, Tim. And what a gift your daughter gave you to talk about “the year after.” This year of her being away must have felt all-consuming in some sense. And I think I want to write Ecc. 3:11 on something now for my own benefit to meditate on throughout the day. What a great verse. Prayers offered up for your young woman!

    • Tim says:

      As you know, Aimee, the preparations for her leaving on top of thinking about her being gone for so long were weighing heavily. Thank you for your prayers for her as the past week unfolded. Now the preparations are ended and her departure has come and gone, and along with that the feeling of being weighed down my all that is gone too. Again, thankful for praying friends and especially for God’s faithfulness.

      P.S. Don’t you think she’d make a good Disney character?

  5. Jeannie says:

    It’s so good to see how many young women today, like your daughter, are concerned for other women in difficult circumstances around the world. May she and your whole family grow greatly through this time. Thanks for sharing what she’s doing.

  6. birdonabird says:

    Your daughter is a brave young woman, and you are brave parents for letting her go to do what needs to be done. She’ll pass on those lessons not only to your (potential) grandchildren, but to everyone she comes in contact with. She’s taking you with her.

    • Tim says:

      My wife and I have always found it easy to trust God in watching over our son and daughter when they’ve gone overseas or into the inner city to serve. I hope they see that this trust is in the Lord and that this is one of the things she’s taking with her now.

      • janellealberts says:

        Tim – your daughter’s on a cool trajectory. Are you serious that you & your wife found it easy to trust when your kiddos went overseas or inner cities? Had you had good experiences that set you up for that kind of steadiness?

        • Tim says:

          It’s true, Janelle. They started with week-long trips we took as a family to serve in Baja California, then continued on their own in high school. Each of them went off with teams overseas while still teens and eventually led teams on mission trips abroad.

  7. nomoreperfect says:

    For those of us still in the rather early years of parenting, it is a blessing to see the results of parents who have gone ahead of us.

    I think it is immensely profound that as Christians, we can work through the “right now” in view of eternity. When I have tough days and it is everything I can do to continue on in the work set before me, it helps to know that God will remember my desire to please Him for all time, never ending. And our lives become more meaningful when our work has eternal purpose.

    Thank you, Tim, for yet another thought-provoking post.

  8. Kathi says:

    What a wonderful experience for your daughter! I hope she learns and grows while she is away. I’m sure that you will be counting down the days until she returns home.

    • Tim says:

      Not so much counting down the days until her return as eagerly awaiting every report she’ll send us about all that she’s doing!

  9. caramac54 says:

    It’s fun hearing about your family …and I love the phrase “have adventures.” Perfect!

  10. Pastor Bob says:

    WOW! Awesome story, courage on all parts (yours too!) and an unspoken prayer request. I know this is tough on you, just wiped away my tears. best to all and BLESSINGS!

  11. Tuija says:

    I love hearing about your family, too.
    Blessings to your daughter for her year of adventures in serving God – and to you and your wife, too.

  12. Ruth says:

    My son too, has been to Vietnam to visit his girl friends family, the other to New Zealand to visit family. However, their time furthest away, as far as can possibly be, was at home.
    Within 6 months of each other, asthma attacks of epic proportions nearly took them Home. Days of induced comas, anaphalactic attacks, ICU, ambulances and serious doctors blur into a weird dream.
    One afternoon in ICU, the clouds rent, and I saw what it might be like without the beautiful young man lying in the bed. The sharpest pain in my heart imaginable, but, God was there, oh, so quick….it’s not about you He said, it’s about them, and that gave me His strength to have the doctors telling me I handled it all so well, and scurrying off to find medical supplies from the nurses station.
    I tell you this not as a scare story, but to rejoice in Christs love and care no matter how close or far way your blessed babies are!
    Mine are 26 and 24 now, and I see a silken thread tying us together no matter where we are, but also a sense of seeing them in an eternal lightness already. Can’t really explain it…Refiners Fire maybe.
    All joy and delight to your Disneyland/ humanitarian aid Christ loving daughter and her parents:)

    • Tim says:

      That is a wonderful story of God’s faithfulness in being with you and your family in hard times. I love the line “seeing them in an eternal lightness already” – that is the way I’d like to be able to see my kids all the time too, Ruth.

  13. Pingback: The Blessings of Being Prideful | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

  14. Pingback: Blessings and Boasting – the place of pride | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

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