I don’t know if I’m proud to admit it our not, but there have been a few occasions where Bianca has overheard Chuck and I in the midst of a heated ‘discussion.’ I say I don’t know if I’m proud to admit it or not, because while I know we don’t want our children to see us ‘fight’, I do think it’s healthy for children to know that just like any relationship, couples don’t always get along.
(I had a boyfriend once who thought if we disagreed about the smallest thing, like taking a sleeping bag on a camping trip, it meant we had to break-up. It led me to really have abandonment issues in relationships, so for me it’s so important to teach my children that just like they disagree as siblings, mom and dad can disagree. In the end, we’ll always be family.)
Bianca will say, “Mommy, why did you get mad at daddy?”
I tell her, “You know how sometimes Blake and Brennen don’t get along? Well, it’s the same thing. Just like your brothers – we’ll make up.”
If it’s so easy for me to accept that all of our relationships include disagreements, why do I feel like such a bad Christian when I’m upset with God? It’s as if I think it makes me a bad Christian to admit that my faith sometimes waivers. But my relationship with God is the most personal relationship in my life, so obviously we’re going to disagree sometimes.
Right now, I’m upset with God.
I think I speak for all parents – and people for that matter – when I say that my absolute biggest fear is something happening to one of my children. Any time a young life is cut short, it stings just a little bit more than when someone passes at an older age. Even though death is always scary and painful, it’s accepted as a part of life when we’re older – passing in our sleep surrounded by our family and friends. But I don’t think humankind will ever be able to make sense of why innocent, young people have to be taken too soon?
Wednesday afternoon, right as I was about to walk out the door to pick Bianca up from school, my mom called. I hate to admit that I contemplated not answering the phone. Not because I didn’t want to talk, but because as on most days in my life I was frantically trying to get the girls loaded in the car, get the dogs out to the bathroom, you know…all those little things in life that we tend to bicker and moan about – those little moments that make-up our lives.
I answered the phone though – to hear some of the most devastatingly disturbing news I’ve heard in a long time…a former co-worker of my mom’s, Blake’s middle school science teacher, had received news at school that her house had caught fire and taken the life of her five-year-old daughter. Her husband, who had almost died trying to save his baby girls, was taken to the burn unit with second and third degree burns. Their four-year-old daughter, who was revived on the scene and taken to the ICU, passed away the following day.
Just four and five-years-old. Only months older than Bianca. Innocent, angelic girls excited about the simplest things in life like learning to read a storybook on their own, laughing in the front yard, the possibility of snow. Two beautiful girls facing each new day with the wonderment of a lifetime ahead of them…and it’s taken away. Gone – in an instant.
I think I also speak for all of the parents out there when I say, I would lay down my life a thousand times over to spare my children any pain or harm. Just like that father did almost dying to save his girls. Well, here is my question for God. If you so loved the earth that you sent your only son to die for our sins, why didn’t you sacrifice yourself? Why did you purposefully put your child in harms way? Was this to teach us some sort of lesson? Because I would rather die than watch my child suffer.
One of the biggest questions of my faith is: if God is such a good God, why does he let such horrific things happen? I know that we live in an imperfect world, and I know when we get to heaven there will be no pain or suffering; but it still doesn’t make it any easier to understand.
This poor mother left for a typical, normal day – and a few short hours later her entire universe was turned on its axis and poured out to scatter in the wind. It is so horrible to even imagine, and the scariest part is that it could happen to any one of us tomorrow.
One of the most exciting parts about life here on earth is the unknown, but it is also one of the most terrifying. Every morning when I wake my children up, I take a moment to look at them in complete awe. I thank God that he brought these amazing creatures into my life, and I pray that he gives me just a little more time with them. Because beneath my anger, I know God hasn’t promised us anything except life AFTER death.
The only sense I can make of a situation like this is to remind all of us how precious and short life really is. You better believe I hugged Bianca a little tighter Wednesday when I picked her up at school, and we came home and snuggled in my bed while we watched Peter Pan. I think she’s even gotten a little tired of hearing me tell her how much I love her because now when I say, “Guess what, Bianca?” she automatically responds, “I know how much you love me!” But we can never tell them enough, even when the weight of the world consumes us and we get caught-up in the stresses of life.
I pray that this mother was able to tell her girls she loved them before she left for work that morning. And I pray harder than anything that those two baby girls are waiting for their parents and siblings in heaven.
And while circumstances like this definitely cause faith to waiver, I think about the parents I know who have had to bury their children. I see their faith and their strength, and I know it’s a miracle that they’re able to carry on. It makes me think of one of my favorite stories:
Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.
Other times there were only one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord, “You promised me, Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of prints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.”
Lord, I pray you are carrying this family right now. I pray you are carrying this family!