Dear Child of Mine
It is hard to tell you this. I do not really have all of the answers you may seek as you grow up.
I want you to remember that I wish I could protect you from the cares of this world. But, that wouldn’t be the best thing I could do for you. And you know I want the very best for you. Not the best clothing, or the best university scholarship. Not the most popular or the most likely to succeed.
Do you remember when we drove through the scary part of town? Where the homes are not recognizable to you, and you question where the children sleep? The woman standing outside in the rain or the hot sun every day at 2 o’clock seemed lonely and sad. And we drove by day after day until my conviction pulled over. And you were asking me WHY?
I wish that I could protect you from uncertainty and the ugliness of this life.
This is her story. She is a single mama, left alone after her child was born. Living in unimaginable conditions, and waiting on the side of the road every day for the bus to bring her special needs child back home to her. This is her life each and every day. There is not a silver lining.
The wall around her heart is built for protection and she has never known this love.
I know this because I stopped and stepped into her a world. More than once. I told her that I see her here every day and I wanted to encourage her to keep pressing on and that there is HOPE in this broken world. We have Christ and the gospel. She was quiet the first time we spoke.
Every time we drive past, she is standing outside. And you tell me to beep. You now wave and she shyly waves back. We have taken her food and you have gone to her door with me to see the hole in her heart and the place she calls home. She smiles at us now. We have told her that there is a God who loves us so much He asked us to stop.
It is a hard thing to see someone who shows a single solitary love for their child, but has never known love. True love. The love of our Savior. The world has pulled them under.
I cannot protect you from love. I want you to run into those dark places with it. It will not be easy. I cannot shield you from the emptiness.
Your life depends on seeing this, knowing this and living this radical living. The world is blind to the answer to their ache. Parents try to protect their children from seeing this place of hurt and desolation and need.
I wish that I could protect you from sadness. But, I want you to see it and have the answer.
Do you remember the families your father has brought home from the city? Their clothes came to us in black garbage bags. We let them sleep in our home. We gave up our beds and gathered around our table for meals. You sat at the laundromat and washed their clothes for hours. Their lives were spotted with fearful things. They lived with us, in this modest space and we heard fear in their voices We gave them the hope of the world in our living room. They came to know Christ. We prayed with them, watched them struggle with their past and we were afraid.
I cannot protect you from fear. It is hard to step into those hard places. We need to show the world that there is hope.
Everything else is trivial. I want you to know the real source of fear and have the answers to the pain that the world will bring.
To face it and be brave. I want you to know it now.
Do you remember the day you saw the destruction of addiction? The wrecking of the lives and happiness that it brought to those you knew? I could not protect you from doubting. I had to allow you to see that the only answer to complete healing is Christ.
And the woman at the Dr.’s office holding her head into her hands as she waits for her test results? Oh, how I wanted to shield you from this sadness and pain.
The 12 year girl sitting across from us at the pediatrician, expecting a baby? She was your age. And her eyes were hollow, and your eyes looked at me with fear and love – for her.
I wanted to hush your questions and erase this from your mind. But…
I cannot protect you from sickness, and sin and death. I want to teach you how to face it. To have grace and give it.
This world is full of beauty and brokenness. As we grow beauty and wonder all around you here in our home and in your lives, I want you to see the side of the world that will hurt you, and that if we are not careful, we may never see. This world is aching for a new life.
Some day you will face hard. And while we have this beautiful life, we want to prepare you for this very day.
Some day you will need to choose to love, face fear, doubt and sadness. Carry the gospel message into the darkness my child.
Do not run from hard. It is where HIS light will shine the brightest.