Unfortunately, I took my frustration out on my precious 8 year-old daughter and raised my voice with notable irritation when she asked me the same question for the sixty-fifth time. Then, to add a sinful cherry on top of my hissy fit sundae, I picked up her teddy bear – part of the assemblage of toys, stuffed animals and books she’d piled in the entryway of my room, which not only caused me to trip but also included some trashy plastic figurine that vengefully stabbed me in the tender part of my bare foot – and flung its across the room while bellowing something along the lines of, “Melissa, you need to clean this mess up because This. Is. Ridiculous!”
Of course, my tender hearted peanut’s eyes immediately welled up with tears, which was immediately followed by the Holy Spirit grabbing my out-of-control-self by the scuff of the neck and hauling me outside on the front porch for a much-needed timeout. I slumped into a rocking chair with my glum face in my hands and muttered out loud, “God, please help me.” And thankfully He did. It took a few minutes of deep breathing and reciting Scripture to myself, but eventually repentance flooded my heart and mind and elbowed anxiety out of the way.
I went back inside the house and apologized to my darling little girl for raising my voice and being unkind. After explaining how it’s never okay for me to yell regardless of her behavior and her protesting that by doing so I’d “really hort her hart,” Missy leaned into my chest and began to cry harder. Then in between gulping sobs she confessed, “I was afraid you were going to lose me, Mama.” (Because my punkin’ was born in Haiti, English is her second language and sometimes it falls out of her mouth endearingly incorrect. What she was trying to say was that she was afraid I would leave her.) At which point I began to cry, too. Then I turned her to face me and soberly clarified that while I might take leave of my senses every now and then and lose my patience, I would never, ever, ever lose her. No. Matter. What.
A short time later, after we celebrated with a dance party, and a snuggle session, and read an extra bedtime story or two, Missy smiled up at me, reached for my hand and promptly fell asleep. I gazed at this miracle child of mine softly snoring for a few minutes and then sensed God whisper gently but firmly, “Lisa, I want you to believe in the deepest crevasse of your soul that what you pledged to her tonight is true of Me. I won’t ever, ever leave you either…No. Matter. What.”
I don’t know about you, but the promise of our Heavenly Father’s immutable, unchanging love brings me humongous comfort – especially on those days when I give Him ample reason to turn on His heels and sprint for the hills. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Guilty but gratefully yours,
“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid or terrified of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 CSV