Recently, my 13 year old son and I were helping an elderly lady with some heavy lifting work around her house. We’ve only known this sweet Christian lady for a short time, and came to find out through conversation that her adult son had been brutally murdered just a few years ago in a home invasion.
As she opened her heart with us and tears began welling up in her eyes, she expressed some of the things that she’d learned in recent years that have helped her to cope with her loss.
I’d have to say that I was amazed at her perspective, and very thankful to have my son be able to hear such wisdom from this dear lady. A few things in particular stood out to me as being amazingly humble and inspiring. Here are those few things.
The first insight she shared that really caught my attention was this:
1. “Children are a gift from God, not a possession.”
This woman understood the Biblical principle that this child she had lost was not hers to begin with.
“Children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3
“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
Isn’t it easy to get it all backwards as parents? We often look at our children as our possessions, when in reality, they’re not. We are simply the stewards of these little God-given gifts. They belong to Him, yet He has entrusted them to us. What a privilege. What a perspective!
The second thing she said that I couldn’t stop thinking about was this:
2. “Looking back now, I’m just so thankful that God gave me the privilege of being his mom.”
She’s a mom who no longer has her child, and yet she doesn’t focus on what she has lost, but on what she was given. How beautiful.
Every day we have the opportunity to choose to see what we want to see in our children. We can see them as a burden or a blessing. We can view them as just another responsibility, or we can view them as a reward. We can see them grudgingly or as the gifts they are.
Every day we have with our children is a precious privilege given to us by God. God has entrusted into our care these little huggable people that we get to love, train, and rear to be the future.
Right now in your parenting, are you viewing your children as a privilege you’re thankful for, or as one more nuisance you put up with?
One more thing she said that was so powerful was this…
3. “Life’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you choose to do with it.”
When things tragically happened in her life that were out of her control, she made the choice to trust in the One who she knew was.
Here’s a woman who could have chosen to be angry and bitter over the past, but instead has chosen to be happy and thankful in the present.
Whatever it is that hasn’t gone as planned in your life or parenting, let me encourage you with the reminder that the only person who can decide what to to with what’s happened to you… is you. Because “life’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you choose to do with it.”
What would our response and perspective be if the unthinkable happened to our children, and suddenly, they were taken from us? Could we have as pure a perspective as this lady? May we never be guilty of taking for granted these precious gifts from God that we have been given the privilege to call “ours”.
As I left that day, I said a prayer of thanks to God for the opportunity to hear and be reminded of such a wonderful and much needed perspective.
For those who have ever lost a child, please know that your pain is not forgotten. I’ve prayed for you today, and trust that God will grant you the same grace that this dear lady has exhibited.
Blessed be God… the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. II Corinthians 1:3-4