"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me in not worthy of me."
This was the verse which stuck out to me when doing my devotions in early January. I had read this verse before but during this reading I was particularly challenged. "Did I love Jesus more than my children?" As I prayed that morning I confessed to God and to myself that I sincerely doubted Jesus would win if I was faced with a choice between Him and my family (especially Drew or my kids). Then, in a moment of "insanity" I asked God to help teach me how to put him first... even before my children. Little did I know how God would grant this request!
Within the next three weeks, after reading these verses, Malachi (our Acardiac baby) began growing and eventually necessitated the trip to Ohio. It was here that God chose to "test" my willingness to trust Him! I noticed right away that in regards to Levi and Malachi I was able to trust that God had the best purposes and intentions in mind. I did not have a sense that I could control the outcome and so I readily gave up control to God where the boys were concerned. My "mama bear" instincts showed up in regards to Naomi. As we prepared to go to Ohio it was her welfare that I struggled to trust God with. My heart daily asked "Lord, what will be the impact on my little girl if we have to stay in Ohio for an extended period?" "Will our relationship suffer?" "Will she resent her brother?" "Do I really need to trust you with this?" "Isn't there another way?" To put it mildly I was scared! Part of my fear was due to the unnerving feeling that this journey had more to do with my transformation than it did with the well being of Levi. I admitted to several friends that I had complete peace that Levi would be OK but I feared how long we would be in Ohio because I knew that God was working on me! Would it take a premature delivery in Ohio to teach me that God is in control and not I?
As many of you have read, God took care of our family during our time in Ohio. Naomi did wonderfully and the procedure went beautifully. God gave me the opportunity to really trust him with the welfare of my children. I still wonder; however, how to do this each and everyday. Not too long ago I was reading the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. When God asks Abraham to sacrifice Issac, Abraham doesn't hesitate but obeys God. As a parent this baffles my mind. Would I be able to obey God in that situation?
At this point in my reveling I need to state that I do not believe that the God I serve is vindictive or cruel. The passage in Matthew that I referenced at the beginning follows a section of the Bible which speaks of God's perfect provision for his children. The story of Isaac and Abraham ends with God faithfully providing a lamb to replace Isaac. I do not think that God routinely asks parents to "sacrifice" their children. I do believe; however, that God asks parents to trust him with the lives of our little ones. This is where I often fail. I somehow want to believe that I can protect and provide for my children better than God can!
Most recently this belief that I "know" how to provide for my children better than God has reared its ugly head again. While everything with Levi has been going smoothly and I have been released from bedrest, I keep ruminating on the fact that this type of pregnancy comes with a risk of premature delivery. In my human desire to control the situation I start to questions whether I should pick up Naomi so often or play outside with her or clean the house too frequently (I promise I am not just trying to get out of these things). All of the sudden I find myself trying to control an outcome again. Daily I have needed to remind myself that God is the creator of Levi. He knows how many days Levi will stay in the womb. Fretting about my activity level or worrying about a "weird" pain in my womb does me no good! I need to trust that God is in control.
While there have been moments when I wished I had never read the verse in Matthew that began this journey, I am so grateful that God does not allow us to ignore the places in our lives that need to be transformed. I am aware that I am just at the beginning of learning how to trust God with the care of my children. I have no doubt that I will fail to this many more times (like when they are ready to attend school; date; go to college). I do hope; however, that this experience marks a starting point in my journey of releasing control to God! He has chosen to give me two beautiful children and I need to trust that His hopes for them are even GREATER and more WONDERFUL than my own.