|blowing out his birthday candle|
Over the weekend we celebrated my youngest one’s third birthday. It was a festive day, with friends and family, and exactly as it should be. I am not overly sentimental, but on occasions like this, I can’t help but think back to the excitement of bringing that sweet new life into the world, magic of introducing brothers for the first time, and anticipation of learning who he was.
He’s a study in opposites. He is routinely covered in anything he can get into, yet asks for napkins and won’t keep the same clothes on for more than a few hours because “they’re dirty.’ He loves to fight but lavishes hugs and kisses. He yells at his brother, but mimics everything he does. He climbs higher than I prefer, but is scared of sleeping in his own bed. He’s sweet and sour and full of so much life I hardly believe it when he falls asleep, though crashes may be a more accurate description.
I am so thankful for the privilege of guiding him and teaching him, heavy with the weight of that responsibility, and the excitement of what is to come. But this weekend it was ever more poignant as we all thought of the sweet faces who weren’t home, parents who had fulfilled their time of guiding and teaching much too early.
Like so many, I struggled with what to tell my older son, who had gone off to his elementary school that morning just as those children had. While we all hugged our ‘babies’ a little bit more, we also all handle it a bit differently. I didn’t want to cause fear, or bring sadness, but I knew he would hear about it if he hadn’t already. The answer was obvious to me.
Let the story and the impact of today or any day, be of those who are brave and selfless and give us hope. Let the story be that there was more love shown that day than hate. Let the story be that no matter where you are, you are in God’s hands and He puts people in place to hold us.
As parents, our ‘job’ is not to protect our children, as much as our hearts tell us to. As parents, our job is to teach them to love and to trust and to be brave and selfless. Our job is to send them into the world to be the hands and feet of God, though they’ll each do it in different ways. Our job is to love them so much, that they have so much love to give.
As I kissed my oldest goodbye and wished him a good day at school this morning, I wanted to turn around and grab him and have us both stay at home in safety and comfort, knowing that any day could end like Friday had for the families in Connecticut. But I didn’t. My God is not a God of fear. He is not a God of safety zones and comfort, but the exact opposite. There have always been, and always will be, people and circumstances that cause pain and suffering. I thank God daily that there have also always been and will always be, people that bring even more hope and courage, when they could instead stay safe.
I pray that our answers don’t come in only more protection and more fear, but of more confidence in the One who protects us. I pray that we do hold our babies closer, but to ensure they feel our love and know their worth, so that they can go on with courage and strength. I pray for the families who hurt so much, and thank God for those who were so brave and selfless that they are the real story.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.