I think too much. I ruminate. Worry. Obsess even, at times. I have an arsenal of Scripture for comfort, calming or to confront the lies behind the fears during these times. Unfortunately, my children seem to possess many of my anxious tendencies. Daily, I remind my seven-year-old that he does not need to worry about grown up things and that we will always take care of him. Nightly, I remind him that God is the biggest and that he can sleep in peace. Recently, I have noticed the obsessive thinking in our almost three-year-old as well. Last week we saw a trailer with baby cows. She has been talking about the baby cows at every location we saw this trailer since then. We also had a bug on our car that rode with us for about 43 miles on the highway (I do not know how it stayed. She has talked about the bug and “Where did the bug go?” ever since.
As I remind myself of God’s promises through Scripture, I also do a bit of therapeutic self-talk. “Just Breathe.” We strive to protect our children from so many horrific realities in the world, but we also want to teach them to be a light in the darkness. Our seven-year-old hears many things, even though it may seem like he is not listening. We have used my husband’s job as a teaching tool: not all parents take care of their children, not all parents make good choices, and not all children can stay with their mommy and daddy. He also has first-hand knowledge of this because some of our little friends at church are living with their grandparents. Most recently, I had to relive my own heartache, in telling him about his aunt’s miscarriage – by starting with my own. “Just breathe,” I remind myself with each question. He is so caring and compassionate; I want to shape the worry into something more productive.
Though it is much too soon to know how our daughter’s obsessions could play out, she has a very sweet spot for the two boys at our congregation. Not long after we moved here, she began adding them to our nightly prayers. Then she started interjecting their names in every prayer (meals, traveling, any time). Because of my background in social work, though I only say “Thank you, God for our friends, _____ and _____,” I am praying so much more in my heart. My sweet little girl adores these boys, and they adore her. They seem to be fond of the rest of us too.
I have seen many children returned to homes that were less than ideal. I worked in a children’s home where parents voluntarily placed their children. In theory, this was to give parents the opportunity to “get back on their feet” while not worrying about the daily needs of their children. Knowing their children’s every need
was fulfilled gave the parents the freedom to seek better employment, job training, housing, and “just breathe” rather than face each day with the anxious question of, “how are we going to live through this day?” The reality, unfortunately, is so many parents were trying to avoid a CPS investigation. Some moms faced the choice of boyfriend or children and chose the boyfriend – the same person accused of abusing her children, but no evidence existed and no one would testify. When these children returned home, though my drive only took 20 minutes, I often pulled over, consumed with raw emotion, and let the tears flow. Those tears were pleading prayers, prayers that the children be protected from harm or that Jesus return before harm could be done.
I do not understand the many mysteries of how God works. If we did, He certainly would not be God. Sometimes, it seems He gives us glimpses of the big picture. Only when you face the reality of loved ones being lost for eternity do you begin to understand God’s unending patience (2 Peter 3:9). Only when those same people hurt you over and over do you almost relate to God giving them over to their sinful desires (Romans 1:28-32; Psalm 81:11-14). Only when you experience the loss of a child do you feel a fraction of God’s love for mankind in sacrificing His son (I am not minimizing the loss of a child, by any means. For me, it remains the most difficult and life-changing event I have experienced. Whatever my child could have been, he or she was not the Savior).
These times of extreme grief certainly brought out more mysteries than answers. However, as I remembered to breathe in God’s Word and His promises, Light shone through the darkness.
the word prompt choices are MYSTERY and BREATHE.