I watched the rise and fall of her small chest, and I noted her tiny, bird-like frame. She reminded me of myself as a child. Tiny, petite, frail. I had spent most of her childhood pushing away worries of broken bones or illness, since even a stomach bug made her look like she was at death’s door. Who could forget the purple lips and labored breathing that accompanied her first bout with vomiting, and the antsy anxiety of the provider who saw her that day. I don’t think either of us expected the happy, waving tot who waddled out of that office an hour later, following some good ole phenergan gel. Point being, a part of me always worried for her physically, even as I knew the Lord held her, but that wasn’t what dominated my heartfelt prayers for her this morning.
I thought back to the night before, her torrent of tears, the way I stroked her blond hair while whispering softly, “it’s ok, baby.”
It wasn’t the first time she broke down with emotion, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. She cried when she was sad, happy, scared, or regretful. Her tears fell easily, but it wasn’t simply show. She felt each emotion, and she felt them deeply. She always had. I worried about that.
“Give me wisdom, Lord,” I prayed.
It certainly wasn’t the first time I uttered that particular plea to God. One of my biggest worries for this child (beyond any anxiety I held for my other daughters) was that I’d mess it up big time. I mean, I worried about that for all my children, but especially the sweet, special soul before me. God had a plan for her life. I just knew it.
She was sensitive like me. Over-sensitive, even. She was a mercy gift like her father. She loved others, like us both, and her servant heart made me smile. I knew the Lord had made her sweet spirit to empathize with others, but still, nights like last night made me worry. Feeling her racking tears shake her little body. Wiping away salty sobs again and again. It was those concerns that flooded me while I kissed her forehead before leaving for work, depositing not just the brush of my lips, but my most heartfelt intercession also.
It was at that moment, as I looked at her light and airy beauty, in contrast to the heaviness of my heart, that a verse came to mind.
Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
I knew the Lord meant this word for my girl. I often questioned if her particular character traits were God-instilled, or if perhaps (and maybe that’s the deep, dark part of all moms) I had done something in her upbringing to cause such fragile emotions. Yes, I worried I had wrecked things, and continued to wreck things, even though I knew I hadn’t and wasn’t. But with the Lord’s truth, I knew it didn’t really matter one way or the other. Whether the world or the spirit drove her tender heart, it was our Father in Heaven who guided her life. He would (and could) use all circumstances for her good. The outcome didn’t rest solely on my thin, human shoulders. He could work with a mustard seed, and He could certainly work with my faltering attempts at motherhood. He could work with her kind heart, shining His light through it, and His truth could shatter any lies the world tried to pepper into her mind.
It isn’t always easy raising an emotional, anxious child. It can be frustrating dealing with a hyperactive, easily distracted child. It is hard letting the reins loose for a physically fragile, or easily ill child. But despite the difficulties, one thing is true. Christian parents do not parent alone. That’s a relief! But the even better news? Despite it all, the Lord will work all things for the good of His children. Because, you see, my daughter isn’t just my girl. She’s His too.