Get up! Lift them up! Take them by the hand!

9-8-2019
Connor’s baptism day

There’s a story in Genesis that grabs me.

Abraham and Sarah used their servant Hagar in their unbelief to get for themselves the child God promised. But when Sarah finally gave birth to the son God had promised, they sent Hagar and her son Ismael away into the desert.

In Genesis 21:8-21, the story goes that Hagar and her son are sent to wander in the desert with, “some food and a skin of water.” Basically they were sent away to die or become slaves to someone else. It’s horrible. But it gets worse.

Hagar and Ishmael run out of their meager provisions. Hagar knows her son can’t survive without food or water. So she puts him under a bush and walks away because she can’t bear watching her son die (verse 16). In the distance, her son out of sight, she slumps to the ground and sobs. And there God meets her.

The Bible says God heard the boy’s cries. And God tells Hagar to get up and hold her son. And he promises he will provide for her son.

I think as parents, and maybe more often as moms, we see our kids in impossible situations, maybe situations we fear will destroy them, and our slow-to-believe hearts can’t bear it.

Many times over the past 16 years of parenting I have succumbed to the belief that my circumstances would surely take my boys down. And in my fear and dread, I backed away from them and even wished I could just disappear so I didn’t have to watch them be destroyed. And every single time, the Holy Spirit did a, “Pull yourself together girl!” with me.

When God met Hagar, he told her to get up and lift up her son and take him by the hand. And that’s what God has told me many times. Even this week.

Moms, dads, when the circumstances in our lives seem certain spiritual or physical death for our kids, don’t turn your head and cave into depression’s lies. Get up! Lift them up! Lift them up in prayer. Lift their literal chin if you can. Take them by the hand and lead them to Jesus.

My boys are the children statistically most unlikely to be believers in Christ. Their dad is not yet a believer in Christ. They have been drug through three separations that almost led to divorce every time. They go to a public school system where they don’t learn Christ. They’ve been hurt by their friends, tempted to drink alcohol, do drugs and live for their own pleasure. And I’m sure they will go through more trials and testings, failures and successes. But just when I feel like I can’t handle watching the pain or confusion or bad choices they are enduring, God is there saying, “Get up Sheila! Lift them up! Take their hand and walk with them through this.”

Don’t give up on God with your kids. Don’t withdraw. Press in. Cry out to God, take your kids by the hand and follow Jesus.

 

Forget myself

country lane field meadow puddles
Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com

I want the storm to come
and fill the atmosphere with
three dimensional anticipation-
eruptions of power.

I want the storm to come
blow right down into my sunny
status quo where the air
is still.

I want the storm to come
stir things up, promise change,
bring thunderheads pregnant
with rain.

I want the storm to come
show me God’s power,
see him move molecules to form
storehouses of water.

I want the storm to come
bring healthy fear, loose sight
of ills, anxieties, cheap thrills,
self-preserving quiet.

Ah here it comes
grey and white towers in the sky,
flashes of deadly light
booming threats arrive.

Let it rain, let it thunder
let it blow my hair, wet my face
startle me with alarming voice,
make me stand in wonder.

Let it blow down all my props,
all my padded, pretty shelters,
head down pretending danger isn’t
in here.

Come storm come!
Let me stand in your midst
gusts knock me over,
lift my head, spread my arms
forget myself in your power.