Currently I am reading Max Lucado's new book Fearless. I am in a small Bible Study Group with some ladies. I was unable to attend on the day we picked the book for our study but chuckled with God when they told me they selected Fearless.
Fears...something God has been teaching be about. This summer, I had a lot of time to myself. I called it my summer of solitude. It was one of those things where all the boys would get invited off all at the same time. Drew and the boys also played a little golf this summer, which left me alone in the house. The quietness of the house was one of the hardest things to get used to when Brock died. At first this summer, I thought, "What can I get done while the kids are gone?" But, more and more, I kept finding myself just sitting and sitting. The fact that my ever growing belly made bending over not so easy didn't help either. Knowing that the Lord plans my days, I finally acknowledged that He had planned this time for me to be alone...with Him.
I guess I wasn't alone after all! He began teaching me so much about myself. I was caught in a tight grip of fear. After Brock died, many people would relate to me their own fears having the unthinkable happen to one of their children. I remember telling a friend, "I don't think there is anything I fear anymore." Any event that could happen now would seem to pale in comparison. I have walked through the darkest valley and felt and seen God with me the entire way. I knew He would be there and be bigger than anything I could face. But as so often I do, as time moved on, really after I was pregnant with this baby, I let fear and worry creep back in. I know God says "Remember.. ." in the Bible all those times just for me. I found that my fears were blocking my memory of what God had done. My fears were telling me that having a healthy pregnancy and baby were not for me. Interesting how fears are real close to lies.
I found myself holding out on trusting God until I could see that everything was going to be okay. Believe me, that is no way to live. I need Him too much and I can't afford to let my fears stand in the way of receiving everything He can pour into me. So I am still learning...
This past week, the chapter I read in Fearless was the one entitled, My Child is in Danger...Fear of not Protecting My Kids. I took a deep breath before I read this one. The fear of not protecting my kids rises up in me every time one of them falls down, cries, gets sick or has a fever. One of the monumental days in my grieving was when I vocalized the fear that I had let Brock down and not done enough to help him. Healing and freedom came when I handed it over to Jesus. I have learned, as C.S Lewis said, that "I never knew that grief looked so much like fear".
I have also learned that God is patient with me and my fears. He wants to hear each one of them. He wants me to keep talking with him and never take any of my fears as truth. And, when I come to Him and hand them to Jesus, they tend to wash away like water in His nail-scarred hands.
As I read the chapter in the book, I cried and I wept. I felt as if my familiarity with the subject was far too strange. I wailed out loud as I cried, "Why couldn't Brock have just been asleep?!" like Jairus' daughter (Read Luke 40-56). "Now all wept and mourned for her; but He [Jesus] said, 'Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping' ". Luke 52-54.
Lucado reminds us in this chapter of God's heart toward hurting parents. No matter what the plea is for your child...bullying, mistreatment, mocking, being taken advantage of, suffering, He wants to hear it. He understands because after all He was Jesus' Father. But, because of His great Love for us, did not spare His own Son but gave Him for us all (Romans 8:32)
Lucado tells a sweet story of the first night home with his daughter as he was up doing night duty so his wife could sleep. Overcome with the thought of being this baby's father and taking care of her, he remembered the story of Abraham and Issac. (Genesis 22:1-18) He literally raised her blanket wrapped little body straight up in the air as he stood their in his pj's. He uttered, "I can't raise this girl, I confess...but you can. I give her back to you." What a sweet picture.
He also talks about, "Wise are the parents who regularly give their children back to God." It is so important to give them regularly, if not daily, over to the Lord. I remember in the months of intense grief shortly after Brock died, thinking on this thought of giving my children over to the Lord. I would have said, "Of course, I have given them to the Lord. They are His." Those words were easier said than done when you experience a child "taken" from you.
We were so grateful that we had even one day with Brock. We recognized what a gift each one of his days were. I was intensely aware that even though this pain in my heart is excruciating because of my love for Brock, that there was One who loved him far more than me. The One he was with now. I realized in a way, unlike before, that he was the Lord's...all along! I had just been given the awesome privilege of hearing him call me Mommy.
An interesting thing happens when we give our children back to the Lord. It is almost as if He gives them even more to us. We enjoy them fully and don't take our fears out on them. I remember praying in that time after Brock's death, as I had to physically let go of him so abruptly, "Lord help me to fully let go of him and trust that you have him." The Lord comforted me with the thought that one day when I arrive in Heaven and fall at Jesus' feet, praising Him for what He has done for me, that He will then lift my head and say, "Here is Brock, he is yours for eternity. "
In the discussion guide in the book, Lucado gives these scriptures as ones to use to battle fears over your children. I looked them up on Bible Gateway and searched the different translations to see which one I liked. This is what I'll be thinking on for the weekend. I have included my thoughts in parenthesis. Have a great weekend...enjoying your children...fully and fearless!
Deuteronomy 4:40 (New International Version)
40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.
(The land the Lord gives me for all time…Thank you Lord for Heaven made possible by your son Jesus so all my children and I may dwell together for eternity.)
Deuteronomy 5:29 (The Message)
28-29 God heard what you said to me and told me, "I've heard what the people said to you. They're right—good and true words. What I wouldn't give if they'd always feel this way, continuing to revere me and always keep all my commands; they'd have a good life forever, they and their children!
(God knows I am prone to wander and I fail daily at keeping His commands. Oh, how He longs for me, just like I want what is best for my children, to stay focused on Him and His Word)
Deuteronomy 30:19 (New Living Translation)
19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
(Heaven and Earth see my choices. Today…I have the choice each day to choose life or death. My choices today will impact the children that come long after me…I want to leave a legacy.)
Psalm 37:25 (New American Standard Bible)
25I have been young and now I am old,
Yet (A)I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or (B)his descendants begging bread.
(Crushed maybe, but not forsaken)
Proverbs 20:7 (The Message)
7 God-loyal people, living honest lives,
make it much easier for their children.
(Funny, so many of these verses have to deal with me. Often I think that if my children would behave or stop doing this or that, I would not fall short so often. Lord change me.)
Acts 2:38-39 (New Living Translation)
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles[a]—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
(Through this whole journey of Brock’s death, I have seen God be Savior and Comforter to my children. Most importantly, being Lord to them; not through mine and Drew’s faith, but through their faith. God, through the Holy Spirit, whispered truth to them, love to them and promises to them. He has shown me that He cares for them and loves them far more than I ever could.)