Loving my first born took me by storm–she took my breath away. I never knew you could love anyone that much–I loved her with complete and total abandon. And then the unthinkable happened. She was diagnosed with a rare cancer at three months of age and died just before she turned sixteen months. Those thirteen months were a hell no mother should ever have to endure. Burying her was like watching the worst nightmare of a movie only to find you have the leading role. You wake up each morning and the heartache and pain roll over you like a tidal wave threatening to pull you under.
You pray for another child knowing in your heart they will never fill her shoes, take her place or fill this gigantic hole in your heart. But you need someone to hold, someone to love. And when God blesses you with that little bundle of joy, it is as if God gave you the greatest gift–the gift of hope and renewal. He was a promise I could learn to love again–live again. But every day as I looked at him, I held my breath. Would he be all right? Would God take him, too? God blessed us with three little boys and a little girl. What a special gift each of them were to us. But the thought of losing one of my children consumed me. I loved them with every ounce of love a mother can have because I knew how precious they were. But I held my breath. I’d never take them for granted a day in their life. I saw the potential for a cloud in the sky even when the sun was shining as if turned on high.
Overprotective became my motto. I’d sit in a rocker by their crib or keep their bassinet next to my bed where I could lay my hand on their chest just to make sure nothing happened to them in the night. One gurgle or peep and I was there. If there is a protective measure to ensure they didn’t fall or take a bump, I was there. Let them struggle at school and I’d draw a sword. Yes, I’m the mom who decided to work in their school because I couldn’t bear to be very far from them. You don’t even want me to unveil the panic in my heart when they learned to drive.
My conversations with God were reflective of my heart. “Lord, you can have all of me, even my life–but don’t touch my children. I couldn’t bear it.” I trusted God. . .with my life, my eternity, our finances–everything–just not with my children. After all, He took my firstborn. It was a trust breaker. I wish I could tell you that a couple of months of this attitude and I grew out of it, but fear has gripped my heart every time the phone rings. If they developed friendships that I thought may hurt them or took up dangerous activities (like wrestling), I was in panic mode. How could I sit in a stadium and watch someone wrestle and potentially inflict pain on my precious son? It made me panic and run out behind the auditorium where I stood in the rain nauseated and crying. Yes, I was one of those moms.
Let’s just draw this line without further description and say “letting go” was not my strong suit. But you know where this story is headed–they grew up. They have become strong, independent, capable men and a woman. They no longer need me to cluck over them like a mother hen. In fact, they outgrew that clucking before they hit double-digit birthdays. But I didn’t. Even if I was smiling on the outside and acting like I wasn’t obsessed, when my son tells me he’s bought a new motorcycle at age 32, inside I’m a mess. I have completely worn out the carpet by my chaise lounge. . . dented it in praying for my children. Because, you see, as they took the reins of their own lives, that’s the only control I could exert–I could move heaven on their behalf.
God has been faithful and has put a hedge around my children. But the work He wanted to do was inside me–and boy, did He have His work cut out for Him. He needed to teach me about faith and trust. He’s had to teach me they are His children and not mine. I’ve had to come to the place where I acknowledged He created them and has a plan for their lives, that He is as faithful to them as He has been to me, that He loves them even more than I do, that He will draw them to Himself–I don’t have to preach at them, that He can work in their hearts now that I must refrain from sharing my opinions (and I must be honest and admit I still have some work to do in this area). He’s been working against all odds to build faith in me–a complete faith that includes even my children. It’s taken something just under 40 years. The deeper or more painful your hurt, the bigger the scar that stares at you day by day. Taking my eyes off that scar and placing them on Him with full trust has taken a lot of testing–painful testing–James describes them as trials.
Is there a part of your life where you are struggling to trust Him? Put it out before Him and ask Him to help you. He will. I must tell you indeed it is the trials that build our patience–which looks a lot like faith and trust. It’s been a rough road learning to ‘Let Go and Let God.” These cliches can roll off the tongue; but when it comes to putting them in practice where your fears and hurts run deep, it’s a whole different story. Each of us must take our own journey of faith. God isn’t satisfied with 95% of your faith and trust–He is going after that one little part of your heart you’ve reserved for your control. It will probably hurt as He gently wrestles it away from you and begins to show you He’s got even this. But in the end, that faith He is building in you will bring you the sweetest peace.