Sometimes when I look back on a year like this last one, a startling reality washes over me. I become painfully aware of how little control I have over life, especially the lives of my children. In these moments, the mom in me panics, like a woman at the edge of a precipice fighting the urge to look down, as if not looking means I am not there.
But I am there. I can’t be assured that I can save the ones I love. My heart beats faster, my stomach sickens and then my mind remembers what my heart believes and I talk myself down off the cliff–you’re not going to fall, they are not going to fall, you can’t protect them but God can. He has a plan.
Being a parent involves heartbreaking risk. Moms desperately want to protect their children from anything and everything bad but know that it is impossible. Bad things will happen, suffering will enter into your family and maybe already has. You can’t stop it and you cannot change it. Many times the only thing you can do is pray.
And prayer, my dear mom friend, is a miracle of peace, like a river.
Do you know the story of Horatio Spafford? He lost a son to pneumonia. Two years later, in 1873, his wife was sailing to England with their four daughters ages 11, 9, 7 and 2. The ship sank. His wife was rescued and she telegrammed Horatio, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” He immediately set out to join his grieving wife. On the way there, the captain of the ship sought out Horatio to let him know they were passing over the water where his children were lost. At that moment he wrote the beloved hymn:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.
Faith, trust in God, peace–they come through prayer. We cannot always protect our children, but we can pray for them.