I don’t have time for this today. I have so much to do. So many other things in my head. I have places to go, things to do, people to see.
But instead, I’m sitting here grieving and crying my heart out. The tears are flat out ignoring my will to stop and pull myself together.
So I’m going with it today. I’m just going to let myself be sad. I can’t help it.
This summer, I went to a convention for homeschoolers (even though my kids go to public school) because my friend and fellow author, Angela, invited to me speak about blogging and writing. She’s a beautifully sweet-spoken woman with a tender heart. And though my heart is broken, hers must be shattered into bits and pieces.
Angela is Noah’s auntie who just spent her Christmas cuddling him and making sugar cookies when he came to visit her here in Los Angeles.
You see, they found Noah Chamberlin’s body in the woods 1.5 miles from his home yesterday after he went missing seven days earlier. He was on a nature walk with his grandma when he wandered off. The country has been praying for him, pleading with God for him, aching to find him for seven long and cold winter days, but sometime in the span of that week he left the path in the woods and walked straight through to glory.
And even though I have never met Noah he represents for every mom, her child. We all feel the devastating and unimaginable pain of what a mother must be going through to put her head to the pillow for briefest moments over seven days without her child tucked in his own bed in the room down the hall. Our mothers’ hearts all ache for a sister mother whose loss equals no other.
Sometimes, it takes an unimaginable tragedy like this to remind us that every moment, every interaction, every second we have with our children is a GIFT.
When your child talks back to you, that moment is a gift. When your child throws a tantrum, that moment is a gift.
When your child disobeys, lies to you, keeps you up all night, and fights with his brother, you are being given a gift.
It’s a gift of life. It’s a gift presented as an opportunity for your own spiritual growth. It’s a gift to get the chance to respond instead of react. It’s a gift to show our daughters grace. It’s a gift to help our sons mature. It’s a gift to guide them toward Christ-likeness.
When our kids do all the wrong things, we can spend our time annoyed, frustrated, exasperated, angry, and resentful. Or we can spend those moments cherishing the gift of loving them unconditionally. We can acknowledge the gift of growing personally in our own spiritual maturing process.
I don’t need to talk with Noah’s mom to know that she would take him back in his worst earthly moment time and time again if it meant she could just hold him again.
Let us stop being upset and angry and wounded over our children’s behavior. Let us look at these moments through the eyes of a mom who loves her children and cherishes them even in their ugliest moments, just as Jesus does with us. I know we love our children, even when they are doing all the wrong things, but Biblical love is patient and kind. True love keeps no record of wrongs. Godly love doesn’t give up and it is not self-seeking. It never reacts unbecomingly.
And even though in our book, Wendy and I write that triggers equal opportunities, today I know that they are also GIFTS.
Today is a new day for all of us. Today we wake to our children still with us. Today can be the day that something clicks in your head and shifts in your heart. God won’t waste Noah’s home-coming. His death will be the catalyst for some of us to wake up from our stupor of angry living and push us towards gentle parenting.
What a gift, indeed.