Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Jack takes me on a movie date tonight. We give him $20 and he buys the tickets & popcorn, opens my doors for me, and holds my hand as we walk into the theater.
We drive in Scott’s truck so that we can sit next to each other in spite of the car seat. On our way home, we turn up the radio as loud as we can stand and laugh hard as we shout funny parts from the movie over the deafening music. We pause in our game as that Taylor Swift song comes on. You know, Mine, the one about the careless man’s careful daughter.
I have this moment in the middle of the song. You learn my secrets and you figure out why I’m guarded / you say we’ll never make my parents mistakes. I look over at my son. We are holding hands. His face is soft, his little fingers entwine with mine. I remember him buying the movie ticket: I’m on a date with my Mommy. Its just the two of us. My eyes fill with tears.
I start to think that someday this little boy will be broken. I catch my breath as I see dark sin-stain looming, hovering over his fragile innocence. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8. This world bulges with suffering. Someday pain will wrap its clinging tentacles around my son, and I will not be able to pry it off. Whenever that happens, I will remember him as he is now, trusting and vulnerable, his fingers interlacing mine, and I will burst apart.
Fear breaks open inside of me.
And then it occurs to me what a huge dork I am that Taylor Swift is making me cry. At least it could be Mumford and Sons or somebody with more street cred.
I pull it together, but I cuddle him extra tightly as I tuck him into bed. Then I hurry into Lucy’s room and pull her out of her slumber to snuggle me back into confidence. She exhales as she melts back into sleep in my arms while I rock the two of us into synchronized trust.
I remember hearing an interview after a church shooting in our city. The words of this grieving mother haunt me, I homeschooled them so that nothing like this would happen to them. And she got shot at church. I feel the injustice of it, the gasping powerlessness of trying to overcome the Fall through godly mothering.
When God cursed the serpent in Eden, he said this: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15. This was the first messianic prophesy, a promise that a son born of a woman would someday undo the serpent’s legacy of damnation. Is it possible that every mother from Eden until now somehow innately expects to be a curse-breaker? I see it in myself. I half-believe that my fierce love and careful parenting should inoculate my children from the brutality of a fallen world. (That is a lie, and all lies destroy.)
It must be intentional that the next curse is directed at Eve: I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Genesis 3:16. To be honest, yes, I brought forth my children in pain. But those hard hours were nothing compared to the pain of watching my children wound and be wounded. I hear it just gets harder.
Can trust overcome the ache for my little ones as they transition from my shelter to the world’s exposure? Jack is 5 and Lucy is 2. They still have a few years of belonging wholly to Scott & I. We work with of our might to offer them a safe and happy childhood. The gospel is the shining thread of our home, weaving the light-hearted and the heavy into a cohesive tapestry of grace, truth and love. We hope. We try.
Someday, maybe today, we will fail them. Trust will vanish from their eyes. They will be taken under by the curse of this place, and I will not be able to reach or rescue them.
Do I trust that God can reach them there? Can I choose to believe that the same Savior who redeems me will offer them the same shining thread we have woven through our home to lead them through their shadows into glory? I am not the curse-breaker; my Savior is. Born of a woman, he stamped the hell out of that serpent’s head and overcame the curse just like God said. If I can instill that into my children, if they will take hold of that, no darkness will swallow them forever.
So, to Jack and Lucy, I urge you, just hang on. All is grace. Hold on to Love and Truth. Seek Him with all that is within you. Do not turn your eyes away from His face. If you will hold on, you will overcome the darkness that reigns here. Live as children of Light. Hang on with me and your Daddy. We will get there together, so, please, just hang on.