A few years ago, I remember awakening in a hot, sweaty, worried, flush. I had just had a nightmare which involved one of my children and as I laid in bed, now partially awake, I felt helpless. All I could do was tell myself that it was only a dream.
Soon after this nightmare, I received a link to the Growing Faith weekly email. It contained links to some articles. One article written by Christine Jensen titled Loss and Grieving contained this thoughtful sentence “It was one of those times in life when as a mother, I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do to make it better.” This perfectly expressed the feelings I had when I awoke on that night.
For much of that year, Keith and I had ‘abandoned‘ our three children, as we travelled overseas and then up the coast of NSW. As they were all young adults (notwithstanding that they have taken much delight in reminding us that we left them to their own devices), we felt comfortable in being able to do so — and we ensured that communication was open during this time. As we travelled, they shared with us some of their ups and some of their downs via email and Skype. We listened, we tried to encourage, and we prayed often – especially during their down moments. But there were times when I had that helpless feeling, knowing there was not much I could do to help. Deep down, I wanted to fix things for them and make them feel better – but I couldn’t. But isn’t that what all mothers want to do? Make their children feel better?
When each of our children were born, Keith and I both agreed that one of our tasks as a parent was to raise a child who would one day leave us and live life independently. In little ways, we have encouraged this independence but it was not as easy as it might sound. There have been times, many times, that I’ve wanted to step in and rescue them, pick them up, and remove them from a situation that looks a little out of their control. I have had to sit on my hands more than once and zip my mouth shut. So when Keith and I went travelling, it became an opportunity for them to live independently from us and they survived it wonderfully well – indeed they thrived. I am proud of each of them for having done so.
But back to Growing Faith.
As I was reading Christine’s article, I spotted a link to another article titled “A wise mum trusts in God” and I thought that, perhaps, I should read it and subsequently clicked on it. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that upon reading it — I realised that I was the author of the article. However, when I was reading it, God used it to remind me: “Remember Sarah – you can trust God with your children – that is what a wise Mum does!”
One of my favourite psalms, Psalm 27, has been good to ponder. Whilst it is familiar to me, I am forgetful, and it always helps re-reading it. One verse, particularly, is challenging – the one that addresses mothers who have abandoned their children: “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me.” (Psa 27:10) These words reminded me of something that I had forgotten: My God is also my children’s God. The care He provides for me, is the same that He provides for them. He doesn’t abandon any of His children – ever.
Psalm 27 is an amazing Psalm, written by David when he was facing enormous difficulty and trouble. Interestingly, he doesn’t ask for these difficulties to be removed. Rather, he states with great confidence “He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble.” David knows something that we are good at overlooking – our world is a broken world. Part of living in our broken world is learning to live with the brokenness and the hurts, disappointments, fears, sicknesses, and losses that accompany that reality. David, the Psalmist, has much to teach us in this Psalm about how to live in this world by trusting in God. Somehow, we too need to learn how to live in this broken world and help our children to live in it too.
As a mother, my prayer for my children should not be so much about removing their difficulties, insomuch that they trust God through them. A trust that is similarly shown by David. David is confident of what his Lord is like, and while holding onto his hope in the source of his salvation, he knows that he needs to wait. This the hard bit – particularly if you are like me – I like the quick fix and instant solutions. However, this is character building – not only for me but for my children!
“I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the Lord.”Psalm 27:13-14
A book that I have read more than once is “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” by Paul Tripp. In this collection of thoughts and meditations on Psalm 27, Tripp starts off his introduction with a story about his own daughter. She was facing a situation, that Tripp, as her father, felt entirely powerless to change. This Psalm spoke to him, and brought him comfort knowing that the Lord is faithful, and it still speaks to me about how to really trust God with my own children.
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