Snow fell all morning as we struggled our way through school. What was piling outside the sliding glass door was so much more interesting than what was on the page. Finally we got enough accomplished that I called it quits. After a quick lunch, the kids bundled up in about a million layers and roared out to play in the snow. It’d been windy too, and the drifts made some awesome heaps.
The younger kids rassled and thrashed and heaved snow everywhere. Amid the play, the big boys also shoveled the drive (for the princely sum of $7 each) and my 17 year old daughter and I took turns with the camera. It wasn’t till a good hour later that they all trundled back in, touching my face with their icy hands, delighting at my shocked recoil, and heaping their dripping coats around the fireplace to dry.
We hooked the camera up to the TV to look at the pictures we’d taken, and exclaimed over the amazing amount of snow that had fallen. As we looked at the pictures, I told our newest daughters that this was the snowiest winter we’d had in years. “I think God knew you wanted to see snow and He’s making sure you have plenty of it to play in,” I told hem with a smile.
My 12 year old smiled, momentarily pleased. Then a shadow crossed her face. “Yes, I wanted snow. But I wanted my [Ethiopian] mom too. I prayed for her to get better. Why did He say no to that?”
My heart was suddenly heavy for her. I told her how sorry I was about her first mom, and listened as she talked awhile longer. But my words of consolation felt as weighty to me as confetti.
This evening I am still wondering what I could have said. Was there something that would have eased her pain, helped her make sense of her life, pointed her towards faith?
My faith in God is foundational to my life. Despite the bad things He’s allowed, I’ve had such abundant evidence that God watches over me. I have no doubt that He cares about the details of my life. I pray my children willl all have that faith. But is faith easy for me because I’ve led a privileged life? How hard would it be for me to trust if I’d lost MY mom at age 9?
How do you help a child find a way to trust when she has such intimate experience with a time when God let the bottom drop out of her world — in spite of her prayers?