Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Gods Hands

Psalm 56:4 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

The day that the IPOD incident occurred last week, I was headed out of town with another mom friend of mine, to take Morgan and two of her friends to the mountains for a snowboarding trip. It was Morgans 15th birthday, so the day was already filled with excitement and drama, before the whole theft incident even occurred.

So after meeting with the principal about the theft, I knew I had to get home and pack the car for the mountain trip, so I kissed Kaitlyn goodbye and turned to leave. But as I watched my sweet Katybug (as we call her) slowly walk back to class, shoulders slumping, heavy with sorrow, trying to regain her composure. Suddenly, I felt a surge of maternal emotion overcome me.

I found myself wanting to run down the hall like a mad mom, scoop her up into my arms, and rush her out to the car, whisking her home where she could wrap in a blanket, drink hot chocolate, and watch a cartoon to get her mind off of her troubles. But I knew she would miss too much during the school day, so with every ounce of energy I could muster up, I continued to walk towards the door. But as I did, I prayed.

I prayed for God to wrap His arms around her and take care of her the rest of the day. I asked Him to be with her and comfort her, since I could not be there with her.

I have to be honest with you though...I actually did go back and pick her up after lunch - I just couldnt go out of town without one more hug! So after I got her snuggled into the couch and watching that cartoon, Morgan and I set off for the mountains.

Morgan and her friends were so excited, acting silly beyond belief and giggling continuously for no real reason. I had a great time chatting with my friend on the drive to the mountains and we enjoyed a nice dinner at Ruby Tuesdays before heading to the condo and getting to bed early so we would be all rested for the next day.

Morning arrived quickly, and as I aroused from sleep, my first thought of the morning was, "uggg. It is going to be cold outside". Inside I felt a bit anxious .... not about the cold weather, but about my little Morgan, even though she is not so little anymore, and knowing that her safety would be at risk today.

We arrived to Sugar Mountain, in Boone, NC about 9am. The wind was cold and the snow was slippery, but the sun was peeking out, the mountain was beautiful, and the enthusiasm of those 3 teenage girls seemed to outweigh the shivers. We had arranged for them to take a one hour snowboarding lesson that morning since none of them had ever snowboarded before, so my friend and I got them all zipped up in their coats, scarves and protective gear and watched them walk off with the rest of the group to begin their lesson with the instructor.

Suddenly, I felt this little rush of panic come over me. It was a familiar feeling. For the past 15 years, I have mastered the art of worrying about the safety of my children. It seems that when there is even the most remote possibility that one of them could experience any type of danger or emotional harm, my mind begins to fill with irrational thoughts about what could possibly happen in the worst of circumstances.

What if Morgan couldnt get on the ski lift properly as it briskly rushed past her, and she slipped and got hit in the head with the seat? What if she could not get off the lift quick enough at the top of the mountain, and fell and got hurt? Even worse, what if she slipped and fell off the lift while hoisted five stories up in the air? What if she got too close to the edge of the slope and fell off the mountain? What if she got separated from her friends and panicked all alone? What if she breaks her arm/leg/neck? What if..........

Yep, panic. Irrational panic. But I couldnt let it show. I didnt want to look like one of those freakish over protective moms running up the ski slope (or running through a middle school hallway) trying to tie her daughters scarf a little tighter so she didnt catch cold.

I so wished I could go with her up the slopes and enjoy learning to snowboard, but it would have been too risky in light of my recent arm surgery. So as she walked into the distance, I turned to walk back towards the lodge. I wished I could whisk her up and take her back with me to drink hot chocolate and watch cartoons, safe and sound in my presence, free from any lurking harm. Sound familiar?

But I could not do that, just like I couldnt pull Kaitlyn out of school that morning, so I simply prayed. Just a simple prayer, " Oh, Lord, I cant be with her today. I cant protect her. I cant watch after her. She will be out of sight, at the top of a mountain, far from my reach. Only you can see her. Only you can protect her now. Please keep her safe. Please wrap your arms around her." And as always, I felt Gods reassurance. I heard Him quietly speaking to my heart, and He simply said, "Put her in My hands. Entrust her to me".

But I dont want to Lord!!! I want to protect her myself! I want to be able to see her and hold her and keep her safe, just like I could do when she was five years old. It was much easier then! I liked it that way!

But I knew I had to entrust her to God. I am just a human, He is a sovereign God. Any protection I can give her pales in comparison to protection from a Savior. And not merely protection on the ski slope, but every day. As she approaches these high school years, where peer pressure is heavy, temptations are lurking, some girls are mean, some boys are one track minded, and the future is scary, I know she needs to be in Gods hands. And Kaitlyn in middle school, trying to fit in, worry about self image, have good grades and make the cheerleading squad for next year, I know she needs to be in Gods hands. When they are out with their friends, at the mall, at the movies, and walking down the street, I will entrust them into Gods hands.

I am physically here with them, when I can be, but God is spiritually with them, and my biggest comfort is knowing that He is protecting them, loving them, watching over them, and seeing them when they are out of my sight.

My faith leads me to believe that He knows best, that He wants them to be happy, and that His Holy Spirit will convict their hearts in these coming years, leading them to make good decisions, but using their bad decisions to help bring them closer to Him. Teaching me to depend on Him, and trust in Him, more each day.

So after spending a brief moment in a mental argument with God in the freezing wind over who gets control, I gave in. I reassured myself, and my God, that I do trust Him. I know He will be up there with her, on that huge, tall, cold, slippery mountain where strangers lurk and danger is one side step away. But I told Him, "I trust You Lord. I entrust my children to you. Thank you for being there for them when I cannot." A little peace came over me, and so I went and got some hot chocolate of my own and found a seat with my friend where we chatted for hours.

My son Michael is only 9 years old, so he is my snuggle bunny right now; still little enough to keep within reach, but growing like a weed. Soon, he will skipping out of sight, where only Gods eyes can see him and Gods hands can protect him. I entrust him to Him as well.

Trusting God is a daily commitment, sometimes even a struggle. But putting my trust in Him, instead of entertaining irrational and silly thoughts that the enemy tries to pour into my mind, will most certainly result in a happier me, a happier family, and a more fulfilled life with Christ right in the center of it all.

PS Other than a few sore muscles and a stiff neck, Morgan survived her first snowboarding experience with no broken bones. As promised, God brought her back safe and sound. Kaitlyn has rebounded from her IPOD loss, and little Michael won his basketball game while I was away. God is so good!

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Joyful said...

Tracie, this has brought back so many memories. Although placing my son in God's hands continues to be an on-going learning, the Lord impressed it on my heart when he was just 4 years old. My son had attended a Christian pre-school for 2 years and now the decision of formal schooling was before us. Three options lay ahead - home school, Christian school and public school. To make a long story short, the day to register was getting closer and a decision had to be made. I was sitting at our kitchen table. Piece of paper before me. Line down the middle. One side said, "Christian School", the other side said "Pubic School" and I was listing all the pro's and con's as I saw them. (I had researched both thoroughly.) As I came to the end of my list and looked it over there was one thing standing out on the Christian School side. I felt it would be "safer". All the teachers would be believers and I assumed many of the students would be too. As I sat contemplating what to do, God spoke to me. As clear as anything I heard in my head, "Joy, do you not trust Me to keep him safe?" *ouch* It really was a matter of trust. We had dedicated our son to the Lord as an infant and now I had to place him again in God's hands. We enrolled him at the public school and I could tell you story after story of how God used both him and I at that school for the next 7 years - incredible!

Now at almost 17 I'm learning all new ways to let go, and God continues to ask, "Joy, do you not trust Me to keep him safe?"

He truly only is safe in God's Hands. Thanks for this reminder.

Love & prayers,

PS. The following little School Prayer was taped to the inside of the door that led to our garage. I would say it with my son every morning when he was younger as he would head out for school.

"Dear Lord,
Please hold his little hand
When I cannot be there;
Surround him with Your angels,
And keep him in Your care.

Bring to his mind the wisdom
We've shared throughout the years,
And hold him with Your comfort
To banish all his fears.

Lord, help me to believe You'll
Care for him like me;
And teach him when I'm gone
It's Your face he can see."

Written by Marybeth Cuccie for her son, Christopher Russell Cuccie

B His Girl said...

As a mom I can relate to your feelings. Trust the Lord. I have seen some of God's protection on my children's lives in specific instances and I know there is much I have no idea of. It is all in His Hands. What a relief!

mary said...

I thank the Lord & you for the reminder today to let go & let God. Thanks you for sharing your story. My 24 year old daughter is living in NYC. She travels internationally for her job. She is loving her life. Me I worry all the time. God showed me the answer to my prayers. God has a plan for her that is for good, not evil, to give her a future & hope. Jer 29:11 Praise God for answering my worries & giving me peace today.

Tina said...

Tracie, I so relate to this entry. I am the mom of two incredible daughters, 10 & 2. Even though I know their lives are in God's hand and I am not in control, it doesn't seem to stop me from my irrational fears for their safety. It is one of my ongoing struggles...I would like to keep them in a cocoon and protect them, but with a 10 y.o. that wants to experience everything, I know that is just not possible. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

Melanie said...

I deal with the same "wild & fearful imaginations" especially as it pertains to the safety of our children. Been there ~ thought that~ regarding skiing, lifts, edges of slopes, etc.
But...this year, 1/1/09 there was a ski husband. Funny, that morning I silently prayed for my kids and husband before they left the condo to ski. I had finished my 3 days but they were doing 5.
Oddly, I kissed each one on the cheek that morning as I checked to make sure they were bundled up. Even though my husband had a terrible accident while skiing that morning, God still answered my prayer to protect him.