During vacation, my husband and I managed to steal away a day alone at the beach, thanks to the grandparents. It was the perfect time to relax and mostly reflect, as so often happens when all is silent around you except for the sounds of mostly waves. It was a largely uneventful day, until the wind had picked up and the tide became quite vicious. People were still in the water like always, scarcely heeding the ocean’s bellows to take caution.
There were two teenagers in particular on bright green surf boards who were out pretty deep in the water. The lifeguard had begun blowing his whistle for wayward swimmers to come in from the deep, but these two weren’t really changing course. Soon, we saw a woman walk to the shore and begin yelling out, “Campbell! CAMPBELL!” She waited with hands on her hips for any of these girls to turn around, but either they couldn’t hear her or they were directly ignoring her. The mom stepped a couple feet into the water, this time cupping her hands around her mouth for projection. “CAMPBELL!!! CAMPBELL!!!!!” she kept shouting. Still, no answer.
My husband and I exchanged glances. I sat up, literally on the edge of my seat, wondering if I needed to join voice forces and also start screaming for “Campbell” as if I knew her. Even among the crashing waves, the lifeguard whistles, and the screaming mother, the girls were still blissfully unaware of all the warning signs. They either didn’t seem to sense any danger whatsoever OR they thought they could handle themselves just fine.
The mother turned around, looked back at the shore briefly, and realizing there was no other solution, dove straight into the water. She was still clothed in her cover up, but she swam like a fish anyway to reach those girls. By this point, my husband and I were tuned in fully, because we weren’t sure if this would turn into a rescue mission of three people instead of two. Thankfully, all that tension I built up in my head was null and void, as the mother was finally able to get them to heed her calls as she got closer to them. They all swam back to shore together, and the teenage girls took their walk of shame with surfboards over their heads, while the few onlookers stole glances at their faces. Their mother walked ahead of them, wringing her clothes of saltwater, and trudging through the sand.
I looked at my husband and laughed a little sigh of relief. I whispered to him, “That was awesome.”
Nobody, assuming they’re of sane mind and love their children, would think twice in order to jump in front of a car to push their child out of harm’s way. No parent would bat an eye at standing between our kid and a bullet, God forbid. And like this mother, whatever fear of drowning or sea creatures or crashing waves she may have had was absolutely no hindrance, as the objective was clear—Save Your Child.
But as the school year is upon us, here we are standing amidst crashing waves and murky water, aware of the danger but not sure whether to jump in or not. Our kids are there… RIGHT THERE. What does “saving” them look like right now? Letting them out? Keeping them inside? Many would read this and think “alive is better than happy,” therefore the choice is obvious. But to the people who say this, while yes in plain terms you would be correct… you have obviously never experienced depression. Depressed isn’t alive, either.
I’ve ached over this for so long and lost sleep several nights. I cried in Target looking at the kid masks because I was overwhelmed at the idea of my little babies in masks all day. I didn’t know what to do or think.
So, are you ready for my big solution?
If we, (speaking for believers, here) approach all our decisions with pure intentions, humility, prayer, and a sound mind with the belief that we are doing what is best for OUR children… God will honor that. In whatever way that outcome looks, He will honor our parenthood. He gave them to us to borrow, but they are His. If we are turning it over to Him, how could it be for bad?
Disease is of this world, not heaven. Fear is of this world, not heaven. Death is of this world, but certainly not heaven. And as Christians, we are not of this world, either.
God knows our hearts and He knows our love for our children. How much more does He love them since they were His first? For whatever reason, we have made our dream for what life here should look like more important than the one He promised us. Maybe it’s because our brains can’t imagine the heaven He’s promising. We have been consumed by brokenness and sickness for so long in our current world, that one without those things simply doesn’t seem real. It’s a messy time and there is a lot of conflicting opinions out there right now, most of which reside inside my own head.
If you’re like me in this way, then I leave you with a small prayer and hope you can use it to encourage you too:
Dear God, for reasons that you have deemed fit, you gave me beautiful children to minister to and take care of. The world is filling me with lots of confusing information about what is right and wrong for them, and the noise is loud down here. Please Lord, silence anything that isn’t coming directly from You. Please make up for my shortcomings– my selfishness, my doubts, my confusion, my desire to control the situation—and show me what Your Glory can do. Lord I am making this decision for my children but I know I am not making it alone. Comfort my heart and remind me in a big way that You are present in WHATEVER place my children will be. I am trusting You to give me Your strength as needed for whatever may come. I am begging you to honor my decision and know that it comes from my desire to please You, so that I may take care of them in a way that honors You. God, I will do my best, and I will let Your grace, Your sovereignty, Your wisdom, and Your love cover the rest. As you told Joshua, “Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I trust Your protection, Lord, so I am handing this to You. Amen.
May the God of Comfort ease our fears today and always.