The warmer weather we’ve been blessed with this spring is good for both the body and soul. Joggers, runners, walkers, dog-walkers, kids playing – everyone seems to be overjoyed at the temperate climate. We, too, just have to get out and savor it! One thing our family loves to do is bike ride. Long rides. Hours-long rides. I make sure sunscreen has been applied; we check our tires for air; stock up on water and protein bars; dig out the sunglasses; make minor adjustments to our bicycle helmets; make sure everyone is wearing good socks; double-check that everyone has gone to the bathroom; grab my cell phone and a few band-aids and then set off for an adventure once Mom’s checklist is complete. I take my job as mother very seriously. While our chicks are in our nest, they are our responsibility. It’s my job as a mother. The job I’ve wanted since I was a very little girl.
One particular day, we chose to take a long ride on the less-traveled, country road versus the congested city path. This back road is quiet and pretty. There wasn’t another person or dog or vehicle anywhere. My kids and I took our time cruising along the tree-lined street. We were all well-spaced apart, because we could be on this lonely road – with no threat of danger.
I noticed my youngest son had lagged a bit behind, so I stopped my bike under a large shade tree to wait for him. Birds sang, the breeze blew the tall, golden grass as if it were bowing down to the sun. It was such a picturesque moment. I was about 10 yards ahead of my little guy, patiently waiting, when all of a sudden a huge, black Suburban came barreling around the corner. It came up behind my son like a shark locked on a target in the ocean. My heart raced and palms began to sweat, as I stood wide-eyed and helpless – just out of reach to help my son. I held my breath and said to myself, not wanting to startle him on his small bike, “Steady, steady, just don’t fall.” Right as the Suburban passed him, my son hit a hole in the road and fell into the street. I mean, exactly as the enormous vehicle whizzed by him, he fell directly into that space of road – narrowly escaping the large, heavy tires.
I gasped! Then screamed! Thankfully, he was okay. The Suburban just missed him. I ran to him, in shock of what had just happened. We were on a desolate street. Birds were singing, and we were enjoying such a wonderful bike ride, when in a split second everything changed. I saw my son’s young life flash before my eyes. Where did this vehicle come from? Why did my son have to hit a hole in the road at the precise moment the vehicle passed by him? Everything happened so fast. I was clearly shaken – more than him.
I asked him repeatedly if he was okay – both body and mind. He was fine. I was not. He was young enough to shake it off. I wasn’t ready to move an inch. Not only did I witness something terrifying as a person, but this was my son and it is my job to keep him safe. I felt like I had failed. Miserably. Physically, there was nothing I could do. I was just far enough away that no matter how fast I can run, I couldn’t have intervened in the nano-second long moment. For the rest of the long bike ride, I was haunted by the image of seeing him fall into the street, narrowly missing the large, ominous vehicle. I replayed it over and over trying to think of anything I could’ve done to prevent the situation. Nothing. There was nothing I could’ve done. That brought me back to feeling like a failure.
If you ask my husband, I can be a little over the top when it comes to keeping my kids safe. Although this was a freak accident, I kept thinking that it must have been – in some way – my fault, because I couldn’t stop it. Deep feelings of anxiety and angst welled up in my heart, and I nearly had to get off my bike to breathe. That’s when God reminded me that He is the One who controls all – not me. He is God of time and space – I am not. He sees all, knows all, and is in all. My job title as a mother is simply manager. His job title as God…is God. The two are not equal. This was my lesson for the day. Bad things do happen, and boy do we have stories of ER visits from school injuries, hardware store injuries, sports injuries, etc., because we live in a fallen, sinful world. No one can escape that. And I never thought I was God, that would be ridiculous and insane, but I had bought the lie that I could be the end-all, need-meeter for my kids. Clearly, I cannot. That was never written in my mommy contract. I suppose my maternal hormones kicked in when I first became a mom and I hand-wrote an addendum to my mommy contract because Mamma Bear just can’t help it. What that lie did was create an enormous amount of pressure on my myself to be the perfect mother. Not to have perfect kids, but I believed that I could always be there, every time, for them. This bike ride proved I cannot.
What I can do is release my children into God’s care. Try as I might to be their best mother, I will fail sometimes. A lot. And that’s okay. Because more than being dependent on me for every need, I want them to be dependent on God. He is the One that knew them before they were born, knew their names first, counts every hair on their head, understands their every thought, every dream, and watches their every move – both past, present and future. He is their all-in-all. He’s mine, too. Much peace returns to my heart when I remember His omnipotent presence. Below is an excerpt from the devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.
“This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control…You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual Presence…The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes…As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand.”
Both Psalm 139: 1-17 and Psalm 121 roll around in my mind and speak Truth to my restless mother’s heart. When I remember who God is, I am free to be who I was called to be – a mom, saved by grace, doing the best she can. And, I have much peace knowing that God’s got my kids in His hands, even when they aren’t holding onto mine.
That was a wonderful story…(not the part of your son falling)…but you know what I mean! Through some very tough experiences in the past few years, I’ve learned this lesson well!