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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Gift

I realize that while I carried my children in my womb, and went through quite a bit of pain to bring them into the world, and though they were immediately placed in my arms at their arrival, in all actuality my children were never really "mine". They are "a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him" (Psalm 127:3 NLT). And then we are called to give them back to the Lord, as Hannah did in 1 Samuel (see my previous post).

But what do you do when your children don’t feel like "a gift" or “a reward”? What happens when your heart is burdened and broken, and you cry out to the Lord, "what do I do with this child?!?"

My husband Kriss and I are walking through a difficult valley with our 15 year old. While we've been concerned for some time, the things we have learned in the last month have grief-stricken us. The path he has chosen, and the consequences of his choices, are very real, and very devastating. As we muddle through the uncharted waters we find ourselves in, oftentimes we feel completely inadequate with how to respond, what to do, and even what to pray for. There are times when all I can do is simply pray the name of the Lord, saying "Jesus...Jesus..." I thank God that He knows my heart, and the words that I cannot form, He already knows.

One thing that also continually comforts me is that God loves my son even more than I do. As a mom, that is almost unfathomable. Can you imagine anyone loving your child more than you? But when I consider the brutal sacrifice made on a cross for my son (and for all of us), I can start to understand. And I am grateful, because I know my son’s pain is probably greater than my own. I can’t imagine being a teenager in today’s world. I remember my confusion, my questions, my doubts, my fears, and my longings to belong. Since he’s not inclined to tell us, I can only imagine how much greater my son’s burdens are. I must admit, however, there are times I’m not focused on my son’s pain, I am focused on my own. Even worse, I’m not focused on what Christ is doing is our lives, I’m living as if it’s “all about me”. I become wrapped up in grief, turmoil, stress, and exhaustion. At the end of the day I’m pretty good at laying my burdens at the foot the cross, but come morning, I pick them back up again and walk out of the house carrying them with me. Sometime during the day, I’ll realize the load I’m carrying, and I’ll lay them down again. But, at some point later, even without realizing it, I find myself lugging my baggage around with me again.

Some days are better than others. I always laugh at the well-known prayer, “Dear Lord, so far I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm really glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed. And from then on, I'm going to need a lot more help. (Author Unknown)” I think I’m going to rewrite that one with a spin on packing our bags and carrying them around with us. What we need to do instead is go on vacation with God, unpack the bags and stay with Him a while. That’s so easy do while we’re still cozy and snug in our “bed” (when things are good). It’s a lot harder once the alarm clock of life goes off before we’re ready, and our bare feet hit the cold tile floor, and we have a day filled with unknowns. But we must remember God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us. At what must have been a dark time in Moses’ life, as he wandered around in the wilderness, and he learned he would not be able to enter the promised land, Moses said to the people of Israel, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” This theme is repeated several times, including in Hebrews 13:5, “…because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Praise God for His faithfulness.

So once again I lay my burdens at the foot of the cross. And tomorrow (or actually later this morning…I’m not getting a lot of sleep these days), I will wake up and chose to leave them there. I will leave my bags unpacked and walk out into the day the Lord has made. And no matter what may come…and there have been many unpleasant surprises lately…I will chose to keep my eyes focused on Him. Through His eyes, I will truly be able to recognize His gifts. My children, no matter the circumstances, are among the greatest gifts I have ever received. Thank God I am able to see them through His eyes. May they see Him through mine.

Blessings to you until next time.

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