The clouds let go of a gush of tears as my baby left the car tonight. My wipers worked their rhythmic magic, a pulsating synchronization of my mother’s heart. In a few short months, she will leave for college. What is this ripping of ligament from bone that slashes at my tiger soul? It is the precursor to a thousand sleepless nights of wondering where she lays her head, how much sleep she gets, and what concerns worry her brow. Seventeen years of cinching car seats and looking both ways culminate in a kiss goodbye as she hops into a car of teens. Soon, too soon, she will board a plane that carries her far, too far, from my mother’s arms.
And yet, I would not have it any other way.
This is exactly what we have prepared her for, prayed for, discipled her for; so that we could let her go and trust her and trust Jesus with her. This is the deepest, most precious of painful joys.
If I must be honest, and I must, what concerns me most is not the beauty of her wedding day, or the man to whom she cleaves, or the beautiful grandchildren she will someday give me. My deepest prayer is that Jesus seeps out of her every pore. May she choose to live her life in such a way that serving others and serving God are paramount. May she meet the reality of her world with an unflinching gaze, and commit to sink her arms into the mud, brace her back with a stubborn jaw, and vulnerably ask the Creator to change our world. May she have the fortitude of character to recognize that good change always begins with her and that leading is the biggest sacrifice not the biggest privilege. May she believe that God not only wants to but can and is redeeming her and everyone around her, even those souls that seem too lost, too hard, too dirty, too wasted.
As the wells of heaven seem to flood my tiny speck of the planet, a sniff and a hiccup remind me of what the writer of Hebrews thought I should know: we live this journey by faith.
We heave our burgeoning bodies to bear the weight of another tiny human. Sleepless nights and teenage tears, first steps, and first kisses wrapped in pig tails and giggles become a young woman making her first sojourn into a thirsty land. By faith, we believe and by faith she is, a woman of God. It is the very best sort of happily ever after. And, that is where my heart skips its vital beat between heaven and hell.
In the real world, sometimes Cinderella never makes it to the ball and Prince Charming never appears. Sitting at a table in a very ordinary home in the heart of Bucharest passing mashed potatoes at noon to five young girls trying to escape the world of prostitution, my eyes tell me another kind of childhood story.
Naked. Vulnerable. Beaten. Raped. Stolen. Sold. Enslaved. Abused. Hungry. Terrified. Mutilated. Impregnated. Drugged.
One word tells the story because the phrases are too hard for me to hear. Yet, little girls becoming women lived these nightmares.
Heaven’s torrent rocks my sobbing car as if to say, ‘Where are the tiger moms? Where are the lion-hearted fathers? Parents; men and women, who would turn the world upside down to rescue their daughter? Parents who spent sleepless nights at bedsides, and midnight hours in prayer, and bought the safest car seat, and cooked the healthiest meals, and cheered at every basketball game, and taught Sunday School, and cried rivers when their baby left for college.
Where are my people who are called by my name? Humbled. Praying. God seeking. Holy.
The curtain on the first night of Beauty and the Beast is about to open. There are four girls in different stages of womanhood waiting behind those curtains. My mother’s heart is full of pride and joy and beauty. By faith, I believe that God is orchestrating heaven’s insurmountable arsenal to bear on their eternal and their earthly journey with Jesus. That is how the lion heart of the father works, you see.
Heaven’s tears remind me that this hope that I cling to, pray for, sacrifice to teach is exactly what my Father wants for me.
May I be less concerned about the bank account that is always gasping for air, the house that is never quite clean, the nerves that are in chaos, and more concerned about the happily ever after of one-word children.
May Jesus seep out of my every pore. May I daily live serving others and serving God. May I resolve to engage my world with an unflinching gaze, and commit to sink my arms into the mud, brace my back with a stubborn jaw, and vulnerably ask the Creator to change our planet. May I have the fortitude of character to recognize that good change always begins with me and that leading is the biggest sacrifice not the biggest privilege. May I choose to live like I believe that God not only wants to but can and is redeeming me and everyone around me, even those souls that seem too lost, too hard, too dirty, too wasted.
And the Father promises,
I will hear from heaven and heal the land.