Leading as a Parent; Leaning as a Child

mommyshoulders1It’s amazing the inane details you remember when they surround something impactful, isn’t it?

Last night I was making sandwiches and I decided to toast the bread in the oven. First I put the baby down in the living room where I could see her. Then I went back to the kitchen and switched the broiler on high, which meant that it would be at between 500º-600°. I put the bread in the oven, let it toast for a minute, flipped it over. Then I halfway opened the oven, looked inside, looked up at my husband and asked if he could hand me a plate. He asked, “Big plate or small plate?” I told him big because we were having a salad and I don’t like my food to touch. He teased me. I teased him back.

Then for some reason before even getting the plate from him I decided to look down. And there was my daughter, sitting up on her knees with her chubby hand stretched out almost to the oven door, obviously about to try and pull herself up on it. I screamed, pulled her away, fussed at her. She cried; I cried. My head was immediately full of imaginations and scenarios: what if I hadn’t looked down right at that moment? What if she had grabbed the door, lost her balance, and fell forward into the oven? What if she had gotten burns not just on her hand, but on her face? Her entire upper body?  What would we do? How could I keep it together long enough to do it?

This was the scariest thing that has happened to me since becoming a parent– maybe even in my whole life. I swear my heart didn’t slow down for hours. The possible repercussions of her trying to stand up on that oven door could have been momentous. Praise God that they weren’t.

I usually worry about what could happen to her while she’s away from me, but last night she was right next to me. I had put her down far away from any danger. The oven door had been open for only seconds. I never saw her crawling up from behind me. It was only by the grace of God that I looked down at the moment I did. Apart from pulling her away, I was powerless to protect her in that moment, even though I was right there.

And I guess that’s what struck me: that no matter how near or far our kids are from us, God alone has the power to keep them safe. He may use us much of the time to protect them, but ultimately it is Him and not us who does the protecting. My job is simply to relinquish control, follow as He leads, and trust him with my daughter’s tiny body and her tiny heart. It’s not easy by any means to not know for certain whether or not she will be safe (either physically or spiritually), but walking by faith is rarely easy. I just pray that he would give me the Grace to be all I need to be as a parent while still leaning heavily on him as a child. That’s the best I could do for my little girl.

In Love and Christ,


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