A few months ago I stood with the mother of a groom during the wedding reception and asked, “How are you doing?”
She was enduring many changes in her family: good chances, but changes nonetheless. The most recent and most drastic of those changes was the marriage of her oldest child.
I had been praying for her son and future daughter in law, but I had also been praying for her, as she prepared her own heart for the new dynamic that would come about post wedding. And so, after the ceremony was done, and as mingling was taking place, I asked her how she was doing. Her response is echoing in my mind this week.
“Melissa,” she began, “he was never mine to begin with.”
A woman of the Word, she was allowing accurate theology to inform how she processed all that was happening, and the reality of Scripture told her that this son of hers, her first born, was never hers for keeps. The Lord placed that child in their family, for those parents to raise in the admonition of the Lord until such a time that the Lord called him elsewhere for Kingdom purposes. On that day, those kingdom purposes was the union between two Christ worshipping individuals.
My friend’s theology informed how she thought about the event. Joyous for her son and new daughter-in-law, yet somewhat sad for his leaving home and the change in how their mother-son relationship would be after marriage. But she reminded herself that he was God’s child first and foremost. She was merely the steward over that life for a time, on behalf of the Lord.
Yesterday I dropped my four children off at a rented house an hour from our home, to spend the week with their father, who came down from New York to visit with them.
As I drove away from that house and back towards my own, my friend’s words were ringing in my ear: “They were never mine.”
I raise these children, I care for them, I seek to disciple them and bring them up in the love and admonition of the Lord, and I do so on behalf of the King who does have ultimate ownership over them. But I must remember that they are not ultimately mine; they are HIS. And if their Lord and King has so chosen to place these children an hour from me for an entire week, then so be it. Who am I to argue with God?
And if that is true, then the only acceptable response from me is submission to His will and praising Him for the blessings in the midst of this, and there are many.
Given the choice, would I send them away for an entire week? No. But it wasn’t my choice, it was the choice of the One who has all authority to decide such things. And so I hug my kids and tell them I love them and to have a lot of fun this week, and I turn to my King and with trust in what He is doing, I thank Him for all that He will do in their lives and in mine for the next 7 days.