If one of your babies was lost out in the world you wouldn't stop looking for them. Ever. Right?
In this throw away world, it’s uncommon that you hear of someone going after something they’ve lost because of the abundance they have. I bet you we don't even notice most things we've lost. We typically keep moving forward in a world where losing one thing compared to the other ninety-nine things we have is okay. We have so much that we value that in reality, we value very little. If you had $100 would you really miss $1 of that if it were lost? It’s just 1%, right? No big deal. When we have fewer of something, we tend to value it more. If you have 3 cars and one is wrecked or out of commission you notice. It probably bothers you or upsets your daily plans. What if one of those things you were missing was one of your children?
Maybe you can relate to this situation that came up with one of our children.
Recently, my sixteen-year-old son walked proudly out of the local DMV holding up his new driver’s license. He passed with flying colors; I knew he would. He’s a very responsible young man. He worked hard to pay for the car he drives and deserves a taste of freedom. I try to remember that in the past, young men his age, worked full time jobs and some even had families to support. Is the world ready for him? Is he ready for the world? As his Momma, it has been my job from the moment he was conceived to make sure he was nurtured and brought up to be a good person who contributes well to society and it has been my job to introduce him to Jesus. I feel like I’m keeping my end of the bargain. The Lord gave me my heart’s desire as a Momma and I have leaned on Him to get me through the rest. However, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. My husband and I got a taste of what it’s like to have our heart out in the world and not know where he is.
It seemed a little silly at first to keep watching my clock. It was a school night, he hadn’t had his license a week yet. I was justified in worry, right?
Still, it was dark outside, and he wasn’t answering his phone. My oldest son had told me his plans and they were very reasonable. He wanted to watch his friends in their band concert at school. Only one problem, it was getting late and he wasn’t answering. My husband was watching the clock too. He attempted to call, and I sent a text to see if it would be read. Were we over reacting? It felt like it for a few minutes. We were staying so calm, neither of us knew how much the other was starting to be concerned. After a few more tries to reach him, I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my car keys and turned to quickly tell my husband I was going to look for our boy.
I was calm, I wasn’t mad, I was telling myself I wasn’t worried. I was just concerned. I couldn’t tell when a car passed me on the road if it was him, so I called and told my husband to call me if he walked in. I watched for cars on the side of the road just in case he had a flat or his car had broken down. My heart cried, "Oh why Lord won't he answer or respond?" I turned into the high school parking lot and it appeared that the concert had just let out. So, I started scanning for his vehicle. I spotted it. To my relief he was getting in his car, I pulled up and rolled down the window and let him know I had been looking for him and that he needed to get home. We needed to talk.
The entire drive back home I stayed behind him and prayed for the right words. Obviously, we needed to figure out what had gone wrong and why the communication ball was dropped. We need to establish some ground rules that were a little tighter for our comfort. We needed a school night curfew, a weekend curfew, rules on communication and to let him know why we needed all of this in place. Out of complete love for him, we need to know he is safe. If we don’t know, we will go after him.
What we thought was going to be a conversation about communication, how to communicate when a cell phone dies, and respect for how we feel as parents turned into something different. We realized that this boy, whose love language is words of affirmation, needed affirming. He felt like we thought he was irresponsible, stupid, and we had no respect for him as the person he is. All of this is untrue of course and I immediately saw these lies he was believing for what they were…lies. The devil is a liar. We were shocked that he felt so strongly, so very strongly, but quickly reminded him that he is still ours, we do the best we can, we seek God’s face daily for guidance, and we make mistakes too.
In the end, everything that needed saying, I hope, was said. There seems to be an understanding now that we didn’t obviously have before. He is to communicate with us, call, and keep his phone charged well. Also, I took away something major and I thank God for opening my eyes to it. My children, all of them, need affirming in who they are, Whose they are, and that their purpose in this life’s journey is bigger than our parenting mistakes and theirs.
As parents, I am sure you are like me, always looking for a better way to communicate with your children. I personally had been praying for a way to communicate with mine. As a writer and lover of reading, I believe that when a writer writes, she is communicating with the future reader. When I journal, I’m writing to my future self. When I write letters, I’m writing to the future recipient. It is a conversation that can have an ebb and flow.
A week or so after having to go after my son physically, I was given the answer to go after him spiritually. Letters, words, writing; a friend posted about writing to her children with conversation journals. I had tried it all before but this time, I decided to adapt it a bit. For a while, the conversation will be one sided. It will just be me, writing in little notebooks as often as I can to my children. When I feel they need to read the words I wrote about them, it will be at my finger tips to give them or read to them.
I also drew a little picture on the front that will remind each one of God’s promises to them. Having 5 children, I chose small field note books so that I can carry them with me if needed.
Since the night I went looking for my son, the parable of the lost sheep has played in my head over and over.
Luke 15:3-7 is my favorite version.
…Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? -Luke 15:4
Not only will I go after one of my children if necessary, I am so thankful that my God Father will leave the ninety-nine and go after them too. I'm so thankful that He values me so much among all of His abundance. I’m so very thankful He came after me. He does the same for you.