Well as long as I can remember my little girl dreams were just to get married to a kind man, have an awesome marriage, have children – daughters I was quite sure, and have great open honest communication as I was certain all problems could be solved together. There would never be yelling or fighting in my home. I grew up believing in God, but had no real relationship with him yet I remember every journal entry as a teen starting with “Dear God”. Isn’t it great that God is not like us? I don’t recall praising Him for who He was, just that I called on him for help.
Today, I write this on my younger son’s 21st birthday. Yes God in His infinite wisdom gave me two sons who I love so very much named Cole and Simon. I did marry an amazing man Bob, but there has been occasional yelling and a fight or a few over the years. My deepest desire has been and still is that our children would walk with the Lord. I tried desperately for years to not mess up my kids. I tried so hard to make sure they saw a good example of marriage, attended church with them weekly, and even did my best to have open honest communication. In high school our boys were a part of fellowship of Christian Athletes, attended early morning bible study, and participated in Young Life for a while. I was so very grateful and so very proud and secretly thought what a good job my husband and I had done to pass on our faith. By the time our Simon was a sophomore in high school there was a definite change. He has always been the more communicative of the two and was just pulling away. His grades were dropping and his attitude was not characteristic of who he really was. We hired tutors and paid for counseling, but not much changed. In fact without going into too much detail at his request, the next couple years became a hell for this mama. The tears that frequently flowed, the dollars freely spent, the toll on our marriage, the effect on my business all became almost too much to bear. But God…
At the climax of the suffering I was spending hours in reading scripture, journaling, praying, listening to praise music. One of the scriptures I read every day was Psalm 103:2-5. “ Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all His benefits…who forgives all your iniquity, heals all your diseases….redeems your life from the pit”. I had to believe that things would get better and Simon would be whole. And then one day it hit me. This might not work out the way I want it. I could lose my precious son. I wept before the Lord. No Lord! You cant let this happen. I thought I’d surrendered my kids to the Lord years prior, but I realized then, they were still in my tight grip. I was just so tired. I did not know what else to do but open my hands and let go of my grip. I realized I had been a fair weather Christian. Would I still love Him and follow Him even if he let my son die? For the first time in my walk with Him I made a decision that I would still praise Him and call Him Lord. And not because I’m so awesome, but because He assured me He would never leave me nor forsake me no matter what. I remember the day I put up my hands and released him to the Lord saying Simon was His before he was mine. Please take care of him. Please restore him, but even if you don’t, you are still Lord of my life. And there is peace in sweet surrender.
Today our son is 21, is in college, and says he wants to be a counselor because he knows he was put on this earth to help people. I praise you Lord. I am also so grateful to our church family and friends that have prayed and continue to pray for Simon. Today our marriage is stronger. The tough time exposed weaknesses in our marriage that God, through counseling and with our cooperation, needed to be worked out. Sometimes I fall back into fear, but then take comfort remembering He is the lifter of our heads and he who promised is faithful. The world tells you God helps those who help themselves, but I can tell you He also helps those who can’t help themselves. I know my redeemer lives and I know firsthand that His grace is sufficient; that His power is made perfect in weakness.
In the years that followed I have had a few parents reach out to me who are going through a similar path we had with our dear Simon. I didn’t even know that they knew. I can tell you it is a humbling privilege to be there for a suffering parent, to understand the depths of their utter despair and to pray with them and even offer practical advice and encouragement. Yes He does “work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose”. I do not know what the future hold but I sure know WHO holds it!
Scriptures: 3 John 1:4, Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 103:2-5, Psalm 3:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9
Suggested Songs: “It is Well with my Soul” and “Even when it Hurts, I’ll Praise you”
Prayer: Father God I pray as we approach the holiday season I realize there may be sisters who approach this time of year with joyful expectation and other sisters who may be suffering. Lord may we fall so deeply in love with you, the gift giver, and not become more in love with the gifts you give us. May we daily remember the work that you did on the cross was enough. Let us rest in that truth that not only did you send your Son to die for us to redeem us from our sins, but you also gave us His righteousness. May we live like we believe it, amen.