My three year old has been saying disturbing things recently. I know that this is a 3-year-old staple, but nonetheless, it has been getting to me, I confess. Last week it was, “ Mommy, I am going to die, but it’s ok, cuz you won’t die”. Ok…..A couple of days ago she said, “The people are going to take me away from you and you will never see me again”. Hmmmm…On Saturday she said, “The people are going to take me and Jesus won’t be able to fix me”. Last night was the clincher. “Mommy, the people are going to break me into pieces and they will break my face and they will break my mouth and I won’t be able to speak. But then Jesus will take me to my house and He will put me back together again and I’ll be fixed”. No lies, after I got her to sleep, I lost it. I utterly lost it. Thank God my girlfriends were there to speak some truth over me.
For a few weeks I have been battling some fears. I have been somewhat able to attribute it to the research work I’ve been doing for child sex trafficking and prostitution in Baltimore, and therefore have been able to shove it off as self-induced paranoia. Also, I am a masochist and watched Les Miserables on Saturday night. I’ve read the book and seen the musical previously (all before having children), so maybe that’s why I put off watching the new movie. Being a mama of two little girls, I knew what I’d be in for. I just don’t like to cry. I have girlfriends who enjoy crying. No judgment, I just like to avoid the thing if I can. I cry approximately three times a year. And last night was enough of a sucker punch to the gut to release the floodgates, and it drove me to my knees. “God, are You preparing me for the unthinkable to happen? Please, anything but the children. Let me suffer instead if I can.” I started to give myself to a spirit of intense, nauseating fear. And, truthfully, it had been building slowly over time, I had just come to a place where I had to be honest about it and couldn’t deny it anymore.
The thing is, we live in a broken world with terrible evil and sometimes tragedy strikes. I had a friend when I was 13 who was raped and then dismembered. I had another friend who’s five month old died. She had an informal funeral for him on her land in Colorado. I dug the grave and put him in it with her. That was five years ago, and she is still devastated. Oh the stories I could pull up and sift through…they are numerous. What do we do with this harsh reality of life on planet Earth?
Miss Kay has been teaching me about the concept of “the rest of faith”. You rest in your faith when your knowledge of who God is and of what He says meets your reality and you apply your faith to your life, and not the other way around. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. When life is hard and the unthinkable is suddenly your reality, what do you do? I know the right answer and I know what I hope I would do—cling to Jesus as never before.
So what do I do when my daughter says the very things that strike the worst fears I have straight into my heart? I went to God all right! But I don’t think it was with the right mindset. It was panicked and pleading and desperate and full of fear. Driving into work this morning, in His always-constant love He reminded me of Abraham and Isaac. When Abraham was required to lay his son on the altar, He was acting on shear faith and obedience. He was spared the sacrificing of his son, but he was not spared his having to lay him on the altar. Neither am I. I am to offer my children up in full faith and confidence in God and who He is. My heart cannot hold them as possessions, which always turns to idols. They don’t really belong to me, they never really have. I am their steward, not their creator. They are His. And like Isaac, I am to offer them up as living sacrifices, just as I offer up myself as a living sacrifice. I am praying that God continues to take my hand and walk me through this faith lesson. I pray that I never have to put my own baby into the ground, but if I do, I pray that I can do it with a fierce determination to collapse into the arms of my Father as He holds me together and to let Him also lead me through the love lesson that it will be.