Many years ago, an international move precipitated a middle of the night, life-or-death illness in Joel, who was just a small baby at the time. Frowning doctors came and went from our room where Joel lay unresponsive and my heart fretted, eventually settling into my the knowledge that peace could only come by meditating on truths of scripture, and I determined to remind myself of what I knew God had done in the past. First to come to mind was good old Abraham, who worshipped God before an altar where the life of his own son was in peril. His focus was on loving God, trusting in His integrity to provide for him in a seemingly compromising situation.
At stake was the life of his beloved son Isaac, who was to be killed as a sacrificial lamb. God had called Abraham His friend, perhaps because his heart was so sympathetic to God and His ways. Abraham's giving his son was a picture of what God Himself would have to do. But Abraham could not know this. All he could see was his son and the death waiting just round the corner. Yet Abraham believed so much in God's love and integrity that he raised the knife to kill his son, knowing that if God asked him to do such a thing, God Himself would provide a way of escape.
But even beyond Abraham, I remembered that God the Father Himself had experienced the anguish of watching His own Son die a brutal death on the cross. He knew the torment of a parent watching his child suffer. He knew my feelings about Joel. Yet, God's own Son wasn't saved. He willingly laid down His life so that the entire world could be redeemed back to God through Him.
As I thought and prayed and remembered, my heart was filled to overflowing with knowledge of God's goodness, of His care and love toward His children. I didn't know what God's purposes would be for Joel. This sickness was just the beginning of Joel walking through all the pain and struggles he would experience in life. But I did know I could trust the God who was in charge of the details. In the end both my life and my Joel's life were in His hands. Clay was en route to moving our furniture back home from Austria and I didn't even know which country he was in at this point. No cell phones meant I had no immediate contact with him to let him know about Joel.
It was just me and God in a tiny little country hospital room, orange vinyl chair sticking to my legs, beeps going off rhythmically every few seconds. I was learning that if I carried all of my fears and worries, they would crush me, because day to day I had so many. Slowly, slowly as I sat quietly, I breathed out my fears and breathed in His quiet assuring presence.
Peace slowly began to permeate my heart and I felt a lightheartedness seeping into my spirit, driving the heavy darkness away. I didn't have any assurance of what would happen to Joel, but I knew that the One who loved him more than any other would take care of him, whatever the outcome.
As I contemplated the idea of motherhood, it seemed to me to be a long journey that would take me on many paths yet unknown. But with God as my companion, holding my hand, I knew I would gain new strength for each situation as I watched and waited for Him. He would give me strength for each step of the way to not grow weary or faint; He would invigorate me to be able to run the course and finish with grace.
My part was to choose to place my life into His hands in the trust that He loved me infinitely more than even I love my children. I was to release them totally to Him, knowing that He would take responsibility for them. But more than that, my part was to love Him and please Him daily as I walked this journey with Him, not alone, but with His strength, love, and power ever available to me. I was merely His servant in caring for them while they were on this earth.
This is what it meant to walk with Him on the road of motherhood. It meant walking with Him as my constant companion, knowing that His love and grace would reach into every corner of my life, every step of my way.
After 36 hours, Joel finally awakened fully. He was bright and back to his gentle, playful self with seemingly no repercussions from his terrible ordeal. Yet, I was changed. I had learned a deeper way of walking with my own Father while trusting in His strength as I held His capable hand.
These lessons or opportunities to trust God just get bigger and bigger. When you practice trusting Him while they are babes, you will be better suited to trust him when they are teens and then young adults and beyond. Now, as I get ready to send Joel off once again to Scotland, overseas with no control over the details of his life, I have seen God be faithful for so long, I rest in that reality of the story God has lived through him in all the seasons.
My book, Your Mom Walk with God, is all about walking with God on the path of motherhood. Find it here!