It’s the same every night. I slowly creep open the nursery door and peek into his crib. Sometimes, he smiles in his sleep and I wonder what he’s dreaming. Other times, he stirs and grimaces. I freeze, praying that I didn’t wake him. Even though I know I risk waking him up, I have to do this every night. I must listen for that gentle breath and stare at his chest for that rise and fall. I gaze upon that sweet face and let it wash over me. That fierce, intense love.
Then, if I’m not carefully guarding my thoughts, a different emotion emerges. Just as powerful and overwhelming. But this one quickly steals any joy I’d previously felt. Fear. So very different from love, and yet fear often follows closely behind love. Why? Because when we love someone, we hold on tight. Sometimes, we hold on too tight. And when we hold onto someone too tight, we start to be afraid of losing them. So, we hold on even tighter.
It seems like I stumble across a new terrifying parenting story every day that feeds my fear. SIDS, car accidents, drowning, choking, cancer, whooping cough, allergic reactions… I can name a thousand things I want to protect my baby from. I try to control all the variables to create this safe, secure environment. But in the end, I know it’s not enough. I can hold on really tight, but I cannot protect my baby from everything.
Last night, as I was peeking into his crib, the latest terrifying parenting story was fresh in my mind. I found myself brain-storming ways to ensure this never happens to my son, and I went to bed fearful. But this morning, in the light of day, I will admit that I am not proud of my lack of faith. Shannon, who is your God? Where is your faith? Who does your son belong to? My heart often says, “Me! He’s mine!” And I hold on too tight.
Today, God gently reminded me to give my son to him. John 10:28 says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Isn’t that my fear? That something will snatch my baby from my hand?
So whose hands do I want my son in? Mine? The hands that can’t protect him from everything? Or, should I put him in the hands that created him? The hands that fashioned that sweet little face. The hands that the nails pierced so that He could offer us the gift of eternal life. In my hands, a thousand different things can snatch him away from me. But in His hands, my son will never perish. I’m learning to pray for the only way he can truly be protected. I pray that he will grow up to know Jesus. I pray for his life to be in better hands than my own.
You see, every night I have a choice. As I peek into his crib and gaze at his sweet little face, I can continue to hang on too tight in fear. Or, I can take those clenched fists, pry them open, and with faith, place my little boy in His hands. The hands that gave him to me. The hands that will hold him every day of his life and throughout eternity. Because when my son is in His hands, I can let go of my fears and hold on tight to the promises of God.