All Smiles

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
~Proverbs 31:25

Today, I wanted to watch a TV show not geared toward toddlers. Just for five little minutes. So I scrolled through the guide to see what one could see, looking for something not FOR toddlers — as previously stated — yet still not INAPPROPRIATE for toddlers, since Bennett was around. Something interesting. And not a soap opera or a talk show or a reality show or a televangelism broadcast — I quickly discovered that these are very stringent criteria. Finally, I settled on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which I guess is a reality show). I did end up watching for just about five little minutes. And I cried.

They’re always really tragic stories, you know? This one was about a dad and two very young boys — preschool age. Mom had died, but I missed the back story there. When I tuned in, one of the boys was blowing kisses at this huge picture of Mom’s beautifully radiant face, while Dad reminded him that she really, really loved him so very much. Ten seconds in, and I lost it.

What if I die tomorrow? Or next week? Or when Bennett is seven and he has a little brother or sister running around, too? What if they have to live their whole childhoods without my kisses and their whole teenage years without my encouragement and their whole lives without my prayers?

What if all they have is a picture of me, while their memories grow cobwebs with each passing year?

It makes smiling at the future really difficult when I imagine how much bad could happen. Some days, it’s difficult to smile when there is so much to FEAR.

Yet…

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

Surely Jewel recognized the same basic realities we face as well, yet she remained strong and optimistic. She trusted that God really is good, and that God really did plan good things for her and her children. This woman intentionally put on strength and dignity every day — she wrapped herself in these qualities, and there is no mention of fear. The question then becomes: How do you do that? I am not strong. I cannot look at the possibility of Bennett being motherless and smile.

God reminded me as I typed the question above that I already knew the answer:

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
~Ephesians 6:10, 11, 14-18, emphases mine

How do you put on strength and dignity, so that you might smile at the future, scared mama, sister of my heart?

  • Let God be your strength. Daily ask Him to fill you and to strengthen you.
  • Be grounded in the truth, so that you can easily identify and dismiss lies.
  • Keep your heart righteous and true by keeping it close to God, ever at His bidding.
  • Let the Gospel be your driving force as the Spirit directs your feet.
  • Never lose faith in the Mighty One who treasures you.
  • Fill your mind with eternity. Your life does not end when your body stops working.
  • Know the Word of God.
  • Pray constantly. Persevere and keep asking God for all good things.

That’s how. It’s all about having an eternal perspective and knowing that God can be trusted, even when the enemy is scheming against me and my family. God is bigger, and greater, and wiser, and more compassionate, and more invested in my boy than I could ever be. I’m smiling already, because as the old tune goes, “I know who holds tomorrow.”

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, it’s a completely overwhelming thing to imagine that God loves you more than I do. I can’t even begin to explain that, because it seems impossible. You are my heart, you are my flesh, you are part of me, and so I feel bound to you. Your hurts are my hurts, and your joy is my joy. Yet our great God is so much higher, and He adores you so much more! It is because of this that I can trust God when I fail you. I can trust Him when I fall short, when I’m not there, when I set a bad example, when I show you anything less than perfect love. He fills the gaps and then some, so He will care for you. I pray that as I care for you in the best way I can, you will see me looking to Him and learn to look to Him, too.

My Love, fear about one of us dying has always lurked, but these fears intensified when Bennett showed up. It’s such a heavy thing, to look into his trusting little eyes, isn’t it? He looks to us for everything now, so the thought of one of us disappearing is pretty devastating. I pray all the time that God would let Bennett grow up with a Mommy and a Daddy. For almost his whole life. (Because I really want to die before him, but I really want us all to be pretty old when it happens!) Still, I know this isn’t promised. I’m just asking — persevering and petitioning. If His plans are different, it is a great comfort to know that we are both dedicated to raising our children to love God. I am so thankful that despite my many mistakes, God blessed me with a godly man. You are the best. Ever.

My God, I trust You. Help me to trust you more. I have in my head what seems right and fair and good, but these are not promises You have made to me. You have given me today, and I am to be faithful in it. I don’t know what you have in store tomorrow, but I can smile because I know that You will be there, with your big heart and your tender mercies. I trust You to guide him, to protect him, and to love him. (P.S. But please don’t let Justin or me die yet! I’m just being real!)

♥ ♥ ♥

—————————————-

(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)
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