I am an anxious and sensitive sort of person, so worrying comes very naturally to me. My oldest daughter has special and complex medical needs. She is also as-of-yet undiagnosed at nearly age 7. Her first year nearly killed me with worry. We had no indication before her birth that she would be anything other than typical, so I was not prepared (not that you fully can be) for the health issues she would face. It was not uncommon for me to worry myself to the point that I felt sick. I wanted to be strong for my baby girl, but I was deathly afraid of losing her. As I fell more in love with my daughter, and her health issues became more serious, I mentally lived in a serious spirit of fear.
Flash forward to 3 or 4 years ago when my pastor told a story from the pulpit. I quite vividly recall listening to his words so intently as he painted a picture of a world where everyone was dying from an epidemic. You hear a knock on the door and it’s the CDC. They tell you that you have what the world needs to be cured and to live. All they need in order to save the entire world is – your child. They need you to give up YOUR child to save the world.
Of course the parallel here is to God giving his only son, Jesus, to die so that we may have life. This story resonated with me and clung to my brain. What it really meant for God to sacrifice his son was something that I understood in a much deeper way once I became a mother. However, giving up my child so that others may live is likely not a burden I’ll ever have to bear. So, why did this stick with me?
As the agony of giving up a child weighed heavy on my mind, I prayed for God to reveal what He wanted me to learn from this. It came to me very clearly – my children are not mine to give up, they are His. Our children are a gift and reward from our Creator (Psalm 127:3), but in the end they still belong to Him.
Being a good mother is incredibly important to me, and my heart’s desire is to protect my children. There is a fine line, though, between keeping them safe and instilling a spirit of fear in them. Of course I want to make sure they can’t find and swallow a button battery or stick their finger into an electrical outlet. I take precautions for these things, but they do not cause me to worry.
Unfortunately my fears are more tangible. Please don’t think me dismissive of any typical mom fears like what I mentioned above. Experience shapes perspective and your fears are shaped by what you have lived. Your fears are different than mine and that’s OK. But, my fears are more like– “What if someone hurt or mistreated my non-verbal daughter and she couldn’t tell me?” “What if there is a treatment out there that we could be doing that I don’t know about?”
And worst of all–“What if I outlive my baby?”
If it were left up to me, these fears would consume me. I’m not strong enough to be her mom, but I serve an incredibly strong God. When I fear for her or question my adequacy to be her mom, He gently reminds me that she is His whether it’s here on Earth in my arms or in Heaven in His. I can’t say I know that pain of losing a child, but for now, that’s enough to quell my fear that I will.