While planning the new treehouse last month, hubby and I talked out every detail. How high in the tree should it perch? What should the rails be like? What about handrails on the way up? Should we have a gate at the top? How will we keep the little ones from using it unattended?
When the big kids go someplace, we ask who’s driving. Where are they going? Who will be there? What is the phone number? Do they have their cell phone turned on? Always, always, “Be careful!” is the last thing our children hear out of our mouths as they head off.
I am sure there are people who think we’re overprotective. Heck, sometimes I think we’re overprotective. In my dark moments I fear we may raise kids so cautious that they miss out on living. That they never dare. Never risk anything.
Then in the same day, sometimes the same hour, I find myself worrying one of them will run with scissors or swallow a magnet or inhale dust from the birdcage and never make it to adulthood. As a mom I have to shield them from the hazards in life, right? And really, I’d be delighted if my kids chose to never jump out of a perfectly good plane.
But where is the balance?
Sometimes I wish John and I could be more carefree as parents. That we could let the kids go off without first imagining every grim thing that could happen.
Maybe it would be easier if my husband didn’t work in the ICU of a trauma hospital.
Maybe it would be easier if both our dads had not died young and suddenly.
Maybe it would be easier if we did not have so MANY children to fret over. (Or maybe it would be worse if we only had ONE to concentrate on–I don’t know.)
In any case, when they walk beyond my range, beyond the realm of where I could quickly come to them, I am the mother hen, clucking (phoning, emailing, praying) until they are gathered back within our walls.
I think about the families in Pennsylvania who lost their children this week. Did they also call, “Be careful!” as the children sauntered off down the leaf-covered lane, book bags on their backs? Did those mothers feel an uneasiness, a creeping dread, like on the day my father died? Or after waving their children off, did they just turn to wipe the cereal off the baby’s face, and go to hang some laundry on the line?
I pray for those grieving families. When things like this happen, how can this world ever feel safe? Is there true safety anywhere?
I almost ended this post here. But that would not be honest. Because the truth is, even in my most unbalanced throes of motherly angst, I can say yes, absolutely, unreservedly, there is a safe place in this world. A place where we can rest.
That place is in Jesus.
Yeah, sometimes I allow myself to wallow in worry anyway. And, yes, I am painfully aware that sometimes bad things do happen. To me. But my life does not have to be a perpetual breathless, nerved-out wait for impending disaster.
You see, I have Savior who loves me, and who is watching over the lives of my children. No, that doesn’t make my family immune to crazed gunmen. But that does mean that whatever happens, God has a plan.
A plan I can trust.
A plan I choose to trust.
Though I do not always understand why He allows tragedy, I trust that someday I will understand His plan for my life. I can rest in that knowledge.
There are people who think such faith is foolish, ostrich-like. But if the alternative to faith is perpetual, endless anxiety– well then, give me faith, any day.
The fears of this world are too big for me. I cannot possibly safeguard my family adequately from every danger. My walls of defense are gauze-thin.
So each time I watch my precious ones head off into the world, waving them off with my shouted “Be careful!”, I also give them to God, the Father who loves them even more than I do. I choose to trust that somehow, whatever happens, He will make it all come out right in the end.
In this mixed-up, angry, unpredictable and dangerous world, God’s Grace is the only safe place.