“O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life…” 1 Samuel 1:11
Hannah’s barrenness drove her to make a promise that any caring mother could not bear to think about let alone speak out and then fulfill. Yet while I held my son, I remembered how I also prayed similar prayers, “Lord, if you will give me a son, then I will dedicate his life to you and to your purposes upon this earth.”
Little did I know that one day God would remind me of those prayers. The reminder did not come when Josiah was eight and danced in King’s Kids Amsterdam, an international youth performing arts team I helped lead while we were missionaries. When he was little, it was so easy to trust God with my son because at least then I had the illusion of control. Now that he is an adult, I realize how powerless I am over his decisions and protection.
No, the reminder came early yesterday morning when I heard my cell phone’s text tone. It startled me because I was engrossed in writing about a dream I had that night. In the dream, I saw a jar filled with small rocks upon which a larger blood-red oblong rock rested. The message of the dream was simple and yet profound, “Remember Me.”
The dream reminded me of the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicolson. The main character, Erica, gives Harry a jar of black rocks with a white one on top so he would remember her.
I immediately checked my text message knowing that only my son, Josiah, would contact me so early due to the time difference of Manila where he currently works.
“I got into Wharton.”
I felt excited, proud, and then fearful. My heart skipped a beat because I knew this MBA program would require him to go to Philadelphia in May, then South America and Spain or Mexico before school started in August. He wasn’t due to return from the Philippines until the middle of April. He had already received his acceptance from Kellogg in Chicago and was still waiting for word from Stanford.
Of course, I’m hoping for Stanford so he would live in California. All three schools fit his emphasis of working with emerging markets in third world countries. All three would definitely be an adventure!
God’s reminder came as my mind whirled with fear over my son’s next step in life. I remembered the jar of rocks with the red one on top. I instantly knew who the red rock represented in my dream. In that moment, I knew I needed to trust Him to take care of my son.
So many thoughts flooded my mind. A recent email update helped me to better understand the magnitude of what he was doing in the Philippines:
A few of you have asked me what I’m doing here in the Philippines so I wanted to share some interesting websites and reports that can help you better understand my work. Basically the guy I’m working (Jim Ayala, former CEO of Ayala Land – the biggest Real Estate company in the Philippines) has created three companies/organizations to help fund, manufacture, and distribute renewable energy/health-related products to poor people throughout the Philippines:
- Solar Energy Foundation: This organization already exists in a few other countries, but we just launched the Philippines chapter last week. Here is the website: http://www.stiftung-solarenergie.org.ph/
- SunTransfer: This is the R&D/Manufacturing company that produces the products we sell, distribute and service: www.suntransfer.com
- Hybrid Social Solutions Inc. (HSSi): This is the organization I’m working with. It acts as the distribution arm, connecting our products with local microfinance orgs/Coops/NGOs throughout the Philippines to distribute, sell and service our products (article: http://bit.ly/gUZf4p, website coming soon…)
This is a super fascinating space as for the first time we’re seeing the convergence of widespread microfinance organizations providing loans to help people pay for these products, low-cost technology (e.g. cell phones), renewable energy (e.g. solar products) and the “Bottom of the Pyramid” all coming together. With ~4 billion people to serve, even with narrow margins there is a tremendous opportunity to create businesses and products that both benefit the end-user tremendously but also create sustainable margins to cover costs and pay people respectable salaries (therefore attracting top talent).
I’ve also included links a couple of the best reports on the space as well:
- Hystra report “Access to Energy for the BOP”: http://bit.ly/es5V9y
- Lighting Africa report “Solar Lighting for the Base of the Pyramid”: http://bit.ly/hb8rJf
Anyways, hope this helps clarify. Love and miss you all!
I also remembered a dream I had twenty years ago while working with Youth With a Mission Amsterdam. In the dream, I saw a large grain silo overflowing with grain and awoke praying for resources from America to pour into the nations.
This morning the thought occurred to me that perhaps my son’s work in third world countries was part of the answer to those prayers. A passion for helping the poor directs his career decisions.
This morning my mother’s heart swells with pride and pain. I’m proud that Josiah would choose this direction, and yet I grieve more impending separations. I also remembered the vow of Hannah; “…I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life…”
Yes, the pouring out of our precious children is glorious and yet painful. We mothers rarely like to think of our role in their lives as one of preparation so they can leave us. We long to control their decisions so we do not have to risk disappointment or pain or separation. In spite of our human longings, we must release them so they can reach their full potential.
The day eventually comes when an all-knowing and loving God softly whispers in our dreams, “Remember Me.” Like Hannah, we must open our arms and hearts and give our precious children back to the Giver of all Life.