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They Are Not Mine

This story begins with my daughter in a drainage pipe.

Yes, you read that correctly. My six-year-old, coaxed by her ten-year-old sister, decided it a good idea to crawl through the drainage pipe at the end of our driveway.
Barely small enough to fit, she and her sister got a flashlight, a rake, and a load of courage and headed to the dark hole. Thinking they were smart, they checked the hole, first for animals, (including snakes), then for insects of course, and finally, with the rake, took one last swipe to make sure they didn’t miss anything.

Now, I wish this story had another ending. Like, I saw what they were about to do and I rushed out to educate them on the dangers of drainage pipes. But, nope. I was inside my house, blissfully enjoying the quiet and talking to my best friend on the phone. I figured the girls were having a great time playing pioneers, building birdhouses, or kicking the soccer ball around, which is their norm.
But when the little one came racing in, big grin on her face and covered in something that resembled vomit and mowed grass, I knew I was in for trouble.
Why, when you think you have reached a certain point in parenting, do you kids just spin you around and kick you back to the start line? Never would I have thought I would have needed to have this conversation with them.
I stripped her naked, threw her in the shower, and began to “loudly educate” the girls on all of the “could haves”.
“You could have been bitten by a snake. Bitten by a poisonous spider. Got a cut which would then have gotten infected because, do you know how dirty that pipe is? You could have gotten stuck. You could have twisted a limb, bumped your head, eaten a centipede,gotten lost, gotten scared, gotten a disease…”

 I am not even kidding when I say this went on for twenty minutes.

You know what this was really about? I assure you, this had nothing to do with a drainage pipe adventure.

It was about me and my fears.

I need a daily reminder that my kids are not mine. They are on loan from the Lord. He’s entrusted me to care for them, teach them (even about drainage pipes), and send them off so that they can go do more for Him. It’s the hardest of concepts to get for us parents because we play a part in their creation. (OK, men, maybe a smaller part, but still, they are involved, for about 5 seconds.)
We gave our girls to the Lord a long time ago. We publicly dedicated them to the Lord in the church. We prayerfully asked God to lead and guide them as we knelt beside our very bed. However, I often forget this truth. I need to be reminded that He’s got this.

I just need to trust.

I’ve already given one child back to the Lord.
Hardest of things I have ever done in my life.
But I can’t help but think that because we established so long ago that they are not ours, it made it the tiny bit easier.
I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m diminishing our loss, ache, and questions.
But as Molly entered heaven, I had a peace that she was returning home. Her true home. OUR true home that we will one day be together in.
Here’s the point.
As much as I fought to keep her with us… and I did. As much as I prayed and begged God to heal her here on earth… which I most certainly did with every ounce of my being. As much as He knew my heart’s desire to live out this life in the “normal” pattern of things, parents dying before children, I realized that He was in control. God ultimately decided the timeline, the diagnosis, the day.
I just don’t get it. And I won’t on this side, but I do understand that she was never mine to hold onto. I needed to let her go, because the big purpose she had here on earth was accomplished.
Though I gave one child up, I don’t wish to give my other two girls. I can not comprehend that kind of loss.
I do, however, know that they are still not mine.
I do the best I can with them, with the time that I have, which is right now. And then tomorrow, if I see their smiles again, I do my best then. And the next day. And the next.
I will do my very best as a Mother and Caregiver until God chooses that job to come to an end. My prayer is that it’s not for a long time though.

Dear Lord,
Help me to remember that I came into this life empty-handed and the only reasons my arms are full are because of your goodness, grace, and mercy. Please keep them full for many days. Take away my fears and worries that you will end things sooner than I wish. May I do my best today and not worry about tomorrow.
Amen.

Posted February 2, 2017

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