Saturday, May 10, 2008

Together Every Step of the Way

"Went not mine heart with thee...?" (2 Kings 5:26)

Several years ago, I found a little ceramic at our local Hallmark store that brought a smile to my face and a lump to my throat, not only because of the figures themselves, but because of the inscription on the bottom. It is two little mice on a grassy knoll—a mother and her baby. (I have a modest collection of other such "mice.") The mother, with a perky little daisy on her head, is behind, holding the hands of her diaper-clad baby, who is trying very hard to take his first steps. He has one foot tentatively held in the air, all the while holding onto his mother's hands above him. It is a touching scene. But, as I said, it was the inscription on the bottom that spoke so eloquently to my heart: TOGETHER EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

Unless she is lacking in natural affection, every woman who has carried a child under her heart, nestled him or her in her arms, and held his or her hands when those first few steps were taken, knows that when the hands let go, the heart follows on. And just as the mother in 1 Kings 3:26, whose "bowels yearned upon" the child she feared was soon to die, a mother suffers vicariously with the children of her womb all the days of her life. When they are wounded, she bleeds. (And I would be remiss if I failed to include children of adoption in this analogy, as well.)

All of this requires a deft and delicate balancing act on her part. She must never allow her concern to slip into a hovering mode, a decided source of irritation to any child worth their salt! It is the silken threads of prayer that must now be the "tie that binds." And what a weapon this is that God has given us! Words that cannot be spoken to them can be breathed to Him. In His presence, the miles that separate us from our children fall away; and, once again, we are holding the hands that once clung to ours.

Our four children have themselves experienced the joys of parenting, but, somehow, this does not change my own perspective. As they take every new step in life, I may not be holding their hands as I once was; but, nevertheless, we will always be…together every step of the way.

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