When We Realize They Aren't Our Own

It happened the first time just over a year ago.  I didn’t think too much about it at the time. I just thought it was sweet and that it was one of those moments in time that I would always look back on with fondness.

It had been three straight days of rain in a time that was technically not considered “rainy season” yet.  While opening her curtains that morning, her daddy said, How strange to be having all this rain right now.  Something weird must be going on.  I bet Jesus is coming soon.”

He then kind of smiled and left the room to wake up her brother.

She however shot straight up and looked me in the eye with glee and excitement written all over her face, “Jesus is coming today! Oh I am so excited Jesus is coming today!”

She hopped out of bed and rushed to change her clothes.

I quietly followed her and tried to think of the best way to explain what her Papi was trying to say. 

You mean he isn’t going to come today then?” she whispered. I could see the tears starting to puddle.

“I don’t know sweet girl.  None of us know when He is coming again.  We just have to be ready when He does. Papi just meant that since we don’t usually have this much rain this time of year that maybe it is a sign that He is coming soon,” I tried to explain.

“Well I really wish he could come today.  I really would love to show him my room and have him play with my dolls with me.”

All I could do was hug her close. I didn’t want to break her excitement, and truly I didn’t know what else to say anyway.  The tears were at the brink of my own eyes as they were.

I hadn’t really thought about that today too much until recently.  Like many beautiful moments in life, as time passes, these moments get muddled in with all the new ones.  We don’t really forget. They just don’t sit right there in the front like they do when they have just happened.

But last night as I tucked my sweet girl into her bed, the tears stung my eyes once again as I stroked her hair and prayed softly over her.  I remembered that moment again, but this time a new emotion was raging war in my heart….an emotion that has been waging often over the last few weeks.

We have a nighttime routine of reading the Jesus Story Bible together and praying as a family every night before the kids go to bed.  Papi and I take turns reading in Spanish and English and the kids each pick different people to pray over and for each evening.  It is a special time, sometimes very reverent and other times filled with my youngest talking incessantly about poop (a side-effect of life spent potty training these days).

Lately, my sweet girl often leans over to me as she listens to her Papi read and asks gently when she is finally going to get to see Jesus.  She tells me how desperate she is to see His face and spend time with Him.  Usually, I just kiss her cheek and tell her that someday we will all get to see Him in heaven and that we can be so thankful that He lives in our hearts and that we can speak to Him at any time or day.

But then the requests have gotten more frequent.

And last night I felt almost broken over it.  This morning my tear-stung eyes aren’t much better.

I pleaded with God last night. 

Oh Father please don’t let this mean you are going to take her soon.  Please don’t take her.  I don’t want to face life without my girl.  I am so thankful for her heart for you but please give me more years with her.  Please let me get to watch her grow.”

I have been begging Him really.  I have watched far too many families grieve the loss of their children, and selfishly, I don’t want to be one of those families.  But for some reason knowing my daughter yearns so greatly to be with Jesus makes me feel like I am going to lose her.

I confessed to the Lord my brokenness.  I know I am wrong in my heart to want my child to want to be here rather than with Him.  But, I can’t help it.  I am a mama, and I love my girl.

But as always God is faithful.  He is so gentle with me. He knows my fragile state.  I can almost feel His whispers today.

“My sweet daughter, Sara, I know you love your girl.  I do too.  You can trust me with her life. You can trust me.”

And then I was reminded of a prayer I prayed for this beautiful, sassy, spirited, gentle, loving girl of mine on her 5th birthday.  I was on my way to church to share with a group about our work here in Guatemala.  I was eager to get there and get back home as we had a full afternoon planned of a Frozen extravaganza for the birthday girl. 

I started praying for her.  I asked the Lord for lots of things but after I uttered the words, “Heavenly Father I ask you for her health and protection and for many years for her life. I ask you to keep her safe.” I just stopped. I had much more I wanted to say but after I spoke those particular phrases, I couldn’t go on.  Tears started to stream down my face, I confessed to the Lord, “God she is yours.  You have given her to me, and I am so ever grateful. I love being her mama so very much. I want many, many more years with her. I want you to grant her good health. I want you to keep her safe and protected and free from pain and harm.  But more than I want all of those things for her, I want her to love you with all of her heart. I want her life to be surrendered to You. I want her to love You and want You more than she wants anything this world has to offer.”

I don’t know what God has planned for my sweet daughter. I have no idea what her future holds. I have no idea if she will live to be an old lady much like my great-grandmother or not.  And as much as sometimes I feel that squeeze around my heart thinking about what life would ever look like without that girl of mine, I know that those words I prayed for her on her 5th birthday are still true today.

I want my girl to love Jesus more than anything this world has to offer…and even more than she loves her life.

God is challenging me to pray big things for my kids.  And I don’t mean big things as in things relating to prosperity here on earth. I am referring to praying big heavenly things.  I don’t want to settle for my kids having much here on earth when it is what they are storing up for eternity that matters.  I don’t want my kids to have everything in the world except for the thing that counts most. 

I want my kids to passionately and fully love God with their whole hearts. I want them to be a light in this ever-growing dark world.  I want them to be like that cool breeze on a hot summer’s day or the glowing sun on a cold, blistery morning. 

That means I have to surrender them.  I have to trust my Jesus with their lives and their futures.  I can’t hold too tight. I have to love them with all I have and lead them well…and cherish every moment, but I must never forget to Whom they belong.

And lastly I must confess that my daughter’s excitement for Jesus has convicted me that I so often choose this world over my Lord.  I want what this world offers more than what He does. 

May I too never forget to Whom I belong….

Dr. Julie Bryant's Blog  – (March 18, 2016 at 6:07 AM)  

Oh,sweet Sarah, this touched me to the core of my soul. Thank you so much for this reminder I needed. Love you and the legacy you are creating for your family. May you all be richly blessed!

Julie Bryant

Sara S.  – (April 1, 2016 at 11:28 AM)  

Thank you so much Dr. Bryant!! This means so much to me. I appreciate your words and you taking the time to write them. I am hopeful that one of these days I will be back in Bolivar, and we can catch up in person. Sending a big hug!

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and over...so please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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