Soon after this, I received a link to the Growing Faith weekly email. It contained links to some articles. One article written by Christine Jensen titled Loss and Grieving contained this thoughtful sentence “It was one of those times in life when as a mother, I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do to make it better.” This sentence perfectly expressed my feelings at that moment.
Our three children have been abandoned by us for a large part of this year while we have been overseas and now up the coast of NSW. Yes, they are all young adults, but they have taken much delight in reminding us that we have left them to their own devices. Over this time, they have shared with us some of their ups and some of their downs via email and Skype. We have listened, tried to encourage and prayed often – especially during their down moments. But there have been times when I have had that helpless feeling, knowing there was not much I could do to help. Deep down, I wanted to fix things for them and make them feel better – but I couldn’t. Isn’t that what all mothers want to do? Make their children feel better?
When each of our children were born, Keith and I both agreed that one of our tasks as a parent was to raise a child who would one day leave us and live life independently. In little ways, we have tried to encourage this independence but it is not as easy as it might sound. I’ve wanted to step in and rescue them, pick them up and remove them from a situation that looks a little out of their control. I have had to sit on my hands more than once and button my mouth shut. This year has been an opportunity for them to live independently from us and they have survived wonderfully well – indeed they have thrived. I am proud of each of them.
Back to Growing Faith.
There was also a link to another article titled A wise Mum trusts in God and I thought that perhaps I should read it. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I am the author of this article, and upon reading it God spoke to me. “Remember Sarah – you can trust God with your children – that is what a wise Mum does!”
These past few weeks have taught me much more about what it looks like to be a Mum who trusts in God. One of my favourite psalms, Psalm 27 has been good to ponder. Again, it is familiar to me but I am forgetful. One verse is challenging – particularly for mothers who have abandoned their children. “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me.” These words have reminded me of something that I had forgotten. My God is also my children’s God. The care He takes of me, is the same that He takes of them. He doesn’t abandon any of His children – ever.
Psalm 27 is an amazing Psalm, written by David when he was facing enormous difficulty and trouble. Interestingly, he doesn’t ask for these difficulties to be removed. He says with great confidence “He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble.” David knows something that we are good at overlooking – our world is a broken world. Part of living in our broken world is learning to live with the brokenness, hurts, disappointments, fears, sickness and loss. David the Psalmist has much to teach us in this Psalm about living in this world trusting in God. Somehow, we need to learn how to live in this broken world and allow our children to live in it too.
As a mother, my prayer for my children should not be so much about removing their difficulties, but that they trust God with the same trust shown by David. David is confident of what his Lord is like and asks for help in responding appropriately. While holding onto his hope in the source of his salvation, he knows he needs to wait. This the hard bit – particularly if you are like me – I like the quick fix and instant solutions. This is character building – not only for me but for my children!
“I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14
I have returned to “A Shelter in the time of storm” by Paul David Tripp. I read it last year and Keith is reading it now, so I thought it timely to reread this collection of thoughts and meditations on Psalm 27. Tripp’s introduction starts with a story about his own daughter – again she was facing a situation that he as her father was powerless to change. This Psalm spoke to him and it is speaking to me – again on how to trust God with my children.