Then one day in December of 2012, my perspective completely changed. The horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, not only adjusted my attitude immediately, but changed something in my heart forever.
Up until that particular incident, school related tragedies had been perpetrated by students. This one, however, came at the hands of someone completely outside the school community. That put a fear in me like no other as a mom. It's one thing to have to worry about what someone in a building might be planning, it's another to factor in the rest of the world.
As my husband and I attended viewing hours for a friend's father yesterday, seeing the pictures of him through the years and the notes his kids had written him, thanking him for various things, gave me a reason to pause and consider the type of impact I'm having on my kids. Will they remember me rushing them from one activity to the next during summer to keep them out of the house, or will they remember when something changed and mom was all of the sudden happy when we were home and devastated when summer ended?
For the past 3 days, I have been praying that tomorrow's anticipated snowstorm will be enough to cancel school. With kids in middle school you have these moments of awakening when you suddenly understand that time is passing quickly and they won't be with you forever. And no amount of begging to live at home during college years seems to be working at this point.
Being a parent is not easy. There are challenges when you see your kids making less than stellar decisions and you immediately want to jump in to fix it. Your heart aches when you see them struggling knowing you can't make it better. And heaven forbid they are hurt. Seeing your child in pain is undoubtedly the most traumatizing of experiences.
Understanding how I feel about my two, gives me a much greater appreciation of what it must have been like for God to watch Jesus leave home, to live the life He was called to live, and die the death He was meant to die. While my mind is limited to grasp it fully, I can imagine what that heartbreak was like. What is beyond my capacity to comprehend, is that for as many of us have ever, are now, or will ever walk this earth, God is doing this repeatedly with each of us. I only have to do this twice, He's done it billions of times and will continue to do so until Jesus returns.
Not one of us knows when our time will come. All we can do is our best to make sure that the impact we are having on those around us is positive, intentional, and meaningful. And if we are do to that successfully, we must rely on God's strength to see us through. As humans, we will never get this parenting thing perfect, but thankfully we have a perfect God who can stand in the gaps where we fall short.
Father, I thank You for loving me perfectly. You have never failed me and I know you won't fail the two children you have entrusted to call me mom. Help me to look to the example You set as the perfect parent in what I do, what I say, in how I respond. And help me to remember, that as much as I love them, You love them infinitely more. Amen.