Saturday I received a text. “I’m picking Wes up at 11:00.” I respond, “But we have a verbal agreement that you will come after church at 12:30.” “Well, I’m getting him at 11:00.”
Two feelings fall into my chest. Anger. Fear. “Why is he doing this? He hasn’t fought me about time on Sunday’s since Wes was born. In fact, he’s never fought me on this. Why does he want to take him out of church all the sudden? This is not okay. What if Wes misses out on something? What if he eventually thinks its okay not to go to church because his dad doesn’t go? I hate this!” Anger. Fear. Anger. Fear.
I have prayed more over the last 5 years (since having Wes) than I have ever prayed in my life. There is something about having children that brings you to your knees in ways that you haven’t done before. I am a mom, a single mom. I have learned over the years several deep truths and though it has been a hard road, I’ve come to rest in them. Truths are one thing, but believing those truths is when it brings peace. One of those truths is that ultimately my kid is the Lord’s. It is my job, as his mom, to consistently seek God’s will and then to obey whatever the Lord calls me to do. Every single day. No matter what. I have learned that anything out of my hands is never, ever out of my God’s.
I love my church. Both the men and women in my church invest in my kid. They truly do. They know him by name and they stop through the hallway to make a point to speak to him. Once we get to his class, many, many people have greeted him. And of course, he has his Sunday school teachers who love on him too. I have full buy in to the phrase, “It takes a village” to raise a kid and the people in my village are incredible men and women. So, when my sweet little guy is ripped from that, it is hurtful, worrisome and downright frustrating. This is the place that backs up all I’m teaching him at home, the place where he will find Christian friends and hear God’s truth. I hope I am getting the point across here. I’m not sure the previous adjectives describe my feelings accurately. A better description might be…tragedy, for that is what I feel like this text was, a tragedy…An event that caused me distress and affliction. That might give a better picture of the turmoil that went on in my soul when seeing the words, “I’m taking him out of church.”
I met my son’s dad down by the Sunday school classroom where Wesley was playing with his friends. I picked him up, had him wave goodbye to his teachers who had just finished the Bible story and handed him over to his dad. I went to Sunday school and then headed home. On my way home, I began to pray. “Lord, I trust you. I really do. Hannah handed off her son to you when he was very young on the temple steps to a man she barely knew, who actually had two very evil sons. She had no idea what would become of sweet Samuel. She had no idea if anyone would hurt him, or take care of him, abuse him or protect him, but she obeyed You because she trusted You. I trust you. You love my son more than I do. No matter what, you’re enough.” I’ve prayed this prayer and prayers like it repeatedly over the last 5 years.
If the story ended here, it would be enough. God is enough. Trusting God is enough. Resting in the peace of His promises is enough. That alone has carried me through many other heartbreaks over the last 5 years. He is so good that way.
But this particular story has a sweeter side. Psalm 139:5 says, “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” I’ve been studying this verse last semester and now this semester for various reasons, but then this week, I actually experienced this verse. God has gone before me and He has laid His Hand upon me.
See, I received a different text today. It was from the awesome youth pastor at my church. It said, “Hey, we’ve had a Disciple Now home back out! We need help. Can you host a home?” I respond, “Of course I can. Yes! Sure!” I met with him later that morning and signed up to have 12 girls in my home all weekend.
As I left the church office, I began praying over the weekend and these sweet young girls. I prayed that the Lord would teach them, protect them, and speak to them. When I finished praying, I immediately sensed the Lord and could almost hear the Whisper, “Lauren, do you see it? His dad might be able to take him out of church for an hour, but I’m bringing the church to you for the whole weekend.”