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I remember the first time I felt it.  It hit me as if a bucket of ice water was suddenly splashed on me.  John and I were brand new parents and had brought our little Kimberly, only 2 weeks old, to a church dinner to see everyone.  We’d be moving to Florida in another week.  Some of our friends, women who had nurtured and loved on us over the years, came over excitedly to see our baby and then took her in their arms, carrying her around the room to show her to other folks.  All of the sudden, as they walked away with her, I was overcome with a protective compulsion to go get her.  They took my baby!  Bring her back!

I know it was silly.  Those ladies were all mothers themselves and would never do anything to hurt my little girl.  I guess it was my motherly instinct kicking in for the first time.  It was so strong I could’ve fought off a bear or broken through the toughest line-up on a pro football team to protect her and hold her in my own arms again.

Through the years there have been many times when I got to comfort them with hugs, with cuddling, with words of advice and encouragement, sometimes with cookies.   We’ve done our best to keep them safe, always watching like a hawk when we’d go to parks and public places, trying to shield them from anything that would harm them.   As they got older, there were times I wished I was there, like when someone was being a bully or an unfaithful friend.  I wanted to have a word with those other kids and stand between them and my daughters.   More and more they were facing challenges and life on their own, as it’s supposed to be.

Now my daughters are practically grown, all three beautiful inside and out.  Two of them have moved out of the house and are living at college, one is still navigating the crazy, sometimes troubling world of public high school.  I can’t always hold them in my arms anymore, of course, and can’t be with them everywhere.  How comforting it is that God can.  He wants to be with them.  If my instinct to protect and love them was so strong it compelled me to physically take action, think how strong God’s love and commitment is!  They belong to Him after all.

Each time I start to worry about any one of them, I stop and tell God I trust Him.  As I watch Him walk off with my baby girls in his arms, I choose to believe He knows what is best and will watch over them.  I know He will guide their decisions, comfort them, challenge them, help them grow, fill them, and keep them.  I pray He looks into their tender hearts and fill the empty places, giving them peace and purpose.   They couldn’t be in a better place than with their God, the one who designed and made them, the One who bought them with His own blood.

Sometimes I still get to be with them and hold them in my arms.  My love for each of them is so fierce I still think I could fight off that bear.  I pray for and think about them all the time but I don’t worry.  I wait and marvel at all the amazing things God does in and through them.  I’m not afraid.  They’re in good hands.

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