I got her call as I was driving through the twin cities in end-of-Labor-Day-weekend traffic. “Mom,” she said, “I think I have a concussion.”
It hit me like a shot. I found myself scanning the road ahead for the best place to get off the west bound lane and head back east. I tried to think rationally about what was best. I tried not to panic. I ended up calling my mom, and she went to pick my daughter up from her boarding school and took her to the emergency room.
Sure enough, Hope has a concussion.
This experience has reminded me once again just how much I’ve learned in sending my children off to school. (Which I find a tad ironic since the education is supposed to be for them.) First and foremost, I’m learning to let go of my constant desire for control and to trust in God’s wisdom instead of my own.
The lessons are often painful, and I’m not the quickest study. With four of my seven away at school, I have lots of long phone conversations. Some are easy and light. Others are filled with struggles, sorrow, confusion and hurt. It’s time like these that I feel my heart pulling eastward, and my feet want to follow – if only to give them a hug.
I fight this lack of control because when I can’t be there for my children, or “fix” things, I feel helpless. After the concussion diagnosis, I found myself praying for Hope and it went something like this: “Dear Jesus, please be with Hope. Keep her safe until I can get there.”
My prayer jolted to a stop as I realized what I just said. Keep her until I can get there? What is that about? It seemed I was treating my Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier God like a stop-gap measure. Someone who would do in a pinch until the more capable help arrived. I thought about it another way. Having Jesus “keep her until” was a lot like putting the professional in charge until the amateur arrived. I wondered, if I were driving home in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard, in white-out conditions with blowing snow and icy roads, would I really want to pull over and let my four-year-old drive instead?
Of course not. Yes, loss of control is tough pill for parents to swallow. I want to spend 24 hours a day with Hope while she heals from this concussion. I want to make her soup and carry her books. I want to make sure she’s resting and keep her comfortable. I want to put the world on mute so that all those noises don’t aggravate the pain. (Full disclosure: I’m in the visitor’s room at her dorm right now. Typing this while she sleeps.) I want to control as much as I can when it comes to my precious children, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But it is wrong for me to think my care and compassion it superior to Jesus’. It’s wrong to think He can’t do as good of a job as I can. It’s wrong to think He won’t keep His promise to be with Hope always, and to always do what is best for her. It’s wrong to think He doesn’t love her just as much, and more, than I do.
So tomorrow will come, and I’ll kiss her good bye and drive home. I will leave her safe in the arms of Jesus and when I start to worry I will pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” I will pray, “Lord, I can’t. But you can.” I will pray, “Jesus, help me remember. I don’t want you to keep me, or my children, or my family, or my friends, “until…” I want you to keep us always.”