Dear Lucy and Elaine,
Let me tell you a not-so-well-kept secret. Your mom is afraid. I know moms and dads are supposed to be the brave ones, but sometimes we're not. And with the case of your mom, it's usually not sometimes, it's always. What are you afraid of, Mom? you ask. I could give you a long, long list, but I'll tell you the thing I'm most afraid of: that something bad will happen to you or to Daddy. That you or Daddy will get hurt. That you or Daddy will die. I'll tell you girls, and maybe when you're both moms, you'll be able to understand this and you'll be afraid too--you'll wake up at night, and the fear will clutch your heart. The darkness will surround you, and it will threaten to swallow you whole. It's like taking a deep breath to face your worst fear and finding that it's so much more hideous and frightening than you ever could have imagined. Horrible things run, unhindered, through my mind.
I've been thinking about this a lot because of some things that have happened to you lately. Dear adventurous Smoochie, you tried to pull up on a floor lamp and instead pulled it over onto the floor, shattering the glass into thousands of tiny shards. When I swooped you up off the floor, I came up with a bloody finger. Those pieces of glass, they could have cut an artery, flown in your mouth, gotten lodged in your eye. But all that happened to you was a tiny cut on your cheek.
Lucy, you tried to walk backward down our upstairs flight of steps and fell all the way to the bottom, crashing down on the hardwood floor at the bottom. I saw you land, head down. You could have broken your arms, your legs, or your neck. Then if that weren't enough, Elaine, you went headfirst down the basement steps, hitting every single one and landing at the bottom--the basement steps with a huge, gaping space between the railing and the floor below. You could have plunged 12-13 feet, straight down to the thinly covered cement floor. Both of you girls--you had some minor cuts and bruising. That's all.
You might say to me when you're moms yourselves--what should I do, Mom? I'm so afraid. What if something happens to my baby? I feel like I can't even protect my own children.
Well, girls, I've got some wonderful news for you that I was just reminded of this week. Open up your Bibles to II Timothy Chapter 1. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of sound mind." That fear? That feeling that everything's out of control? It's not coming from God. Instead, He's given us power. He's given us love. And the best part, He's given us a sound mind. The opposite of that in the Bible is insanity or even a mind oppressed by demons (I think I know just a little bit of what that feels like). But God's given me power, love, and a sound mind to combat all that fear that comes to me.
And here's something else. I gave you girls to God. Rather, He lent you to me, and I gave you back to Him. He can take care of you so much better than I. My natural instinct is to hang on to you so tightly, but on October 12, 2003, and June 18, 2006, when each of you was baptized--I stood before Him and promised to hold you with open hands. You're His, not mine. And here's what else II Timothy says, "For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've commited unto Him until that day."
You precious little girls have the brightest future! You belong to God Almighty! And sometimes He sends things our way, like falls down the stairs and broken glass, to remind your mom that she needs to pry her fingers off your lives and remember to Whom you belong. Even if something worse had happened to you, I still know Whom I have believed. He is able to keep you, Lucy and Elaine. No matter what.
I am not afraid, and you don't need to be either!