A couple of years ago my teenage son came to me and asked if he could take his brother and sisters to go get ice cream. How fun! How thoughtful! "Sure," I said, "Let me grab my keys and we'll go."
"No, Mom ... we sort of want to go just us kids," he quickly replied.
"Oh," and that's about all I could get my mouth to say as my brain started racing and reeling. In my mind's eye pictures started flashing of a terrible accident, a phone call from the police, planning a funeral, and then thinking back to this moment when I could have said no.
And it was that strange sense that everything depended on me and my decisions that made me want to say no. Absolutely not. You will stay home today. You will all stay home forever. I have to keep you safe.
Why do we moms do that? Most of us live with this gnawing, aching, terrifying fear that something will happen to one of our children. We carry the pressure that ultimately everything rises and falls on whether or not we can control things. And mentally, too often we plan funerals that won't happen today.
We do it because we know the realities of living in a broken world where car accidents do happen. Tragedy strikes old and young alike. We have no guarantees for tomorrow. And that's really hard on a mama's heart.
I stood at the front window of my house chewing my nails and watching as the entire contents of my mama heart piled into one car.
And I realized I had a choice.
I could run myself ragged creating a false sense of control that can't really protect them. Or, I could ask God to help me make wise decisions and choose to park my mind on the truth.
The truth is:
God has assigned each of my kids a certain number of days.
My choices can add to the quality of their life, but not the quantity. They could be at home tucked underneath my wings and if it's their day to go be with Jesus, they will go.
"When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:15-16)
Jesus conquered death so we don't have to be afraid of it any longer.
Of course, the death of anyone I love would make me incredibly sad, heart-broken and dazed with grief. But I don't have to be held captive by the fear of death.
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Death is only a temporary separation. We will be reunited again.
In 2 Samuel 12, when David's infant child died, he confidently said, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (v. 23). David knew he would see his child again--not just a faceless soul without an identity, but this child for whom he was longing. He would know him, hold him, kiss him, and the separation death caused would be over.
I know these are heavy things to process. And I certainly don't claim that these truths will help you never ever fear again. But I do hope these truths will settle your heart into a better place.
And the next time my kids go get ice cream together, instead of chewing my nails I'll only pick at them while awaiting their return. See progress? It's good.
Dear Lord, the fear of something happening to one of my children is so raw. And I guess the thing that makes it so hard is I know we live in a broken world and awful things happen to kids. But if I focus on this fear, it will consume me. Instead help me focus on You so I'll only be consumed with Your truth, Your love, Your insights, and Your power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.