No Safe Place?

While planning the new treehouse last month, hubby and I talked out every detail.  How high in the tree should it perch?  What should the rails be like? What about handrails on the way up?   Should we have a gate at the top? How will we keep the little ones from using it unattended?

When the big kids go someplace, we ask who’s driving. Where are they going?  Who will be there? What is the phone number? Do they have their cell phone turned on?  Always, always, “Be careful!” is the last thing our children hear out of our mouths as they head off. 

I am sure there are people who think we’re overprotective. Heck, sometimes I think we’re overprotective.  In my dark moments I fear we may raise kids so cautious that they miss out on living. That they never dare.  Never risk anything. 

 Then in the same day, sometimes the same hour, I find myself worrying one of them will run with scissors or swallow a magnet or inhale dust from the birdcage and never make it to adulthood.  As a mom I have to shield them from the hazards in life, right? And really, I’d be delighted if my kids chose to never jump out of a perfectly good plane.

But where is the balance?

 Sometimes I wish John and I could be more carefree as parents.  That we could let the kids go off without first imagining every grim thing that could happen. 

Maybe it would be easier if my husband didn’t work in the ICU of a trauma hospital.

Maybe it would be easier if both our dads had not died young and suddenly.

Maybe it would be easier if we did not have so MANY children to fret over.  (Or maybe it would be worse if we only had ONE to concentrate on–I don’t know.)

In any case, when they walk beyond my range, beyond the realm of where I could quickly come to them, I am the mother hen, clucking (phoning, emailing, praying) until they are gathered back within our walls.

 I think about the families in Pennsylvania who lost their children this week.  Did they also call, “Be careful!” as the children sauntered off down the leaf-covered lane, book bags on their backs?  Did those mothers feel an uneasiness, a creeping dread, like on the day my father died?  Or after waving their children off, did they just turn to wipe the cereal off the baby’s face, and go to hang some laundry on the line?

I pray for those grieving families. When things like this happen, how can this world ever feel safe?  Is there true safety anywhere? 


I almost ended this post here.  But that would not be honest.   Because the truth is, even in my most unbalanced throes of motherly angst, I can say yes, absolutely, unreservedly, there is a safe place in this world.  A place where we can rest.

That place is in Jesus.

Yeah, sometimes I allow myself to wallow in worry anyway.  And, yes, I am painfully aware that sometimes bad things do happen. To me.  But my life does not have to be a perpetual breathless, nerved-out wait for impending disaster.

 You see, I have Savior who loves me, and who is watching over the lives of my children.  No, that doesn’t make my family immune to crazed gunmen.  But that does mean that whatever happens, God has a plan. 

A plan I can trust.  

A plan I choose to trust.  

Though I do not always understand why He allows tragedy, I trust that someday I will understand His plan for my life.  I can rest in that knowledge.  

There are people who think such faith is foolish, ostrich-like.   But if the alternative to faith is perpetual, endless anxiety– well then, give me faith, any day.

 The fears of this world are too big for me.  I cannot possibly safeguard my family adequately from every danger.  My walls of defense are gauze-thin.  

So each time I watch my precious ones head off into the world, waving them off with my shouted “Be careful!”,  I also give them to God, the Father who loves them even more than I do.  I choose to trust that somehow, whatever happens, He will make it all come out right in the end. 

In this mixed-up, angry, unpredictable and dangerous world,  God’s Grace is the only safe place

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  1. There are so many hard things in this world. So much pain and suffering and wickedness. The knowledge of the Savior is the only thing that will bring peace in this crazy mixed-up world of ours.

  2. Good stuff Mary. Thanks and peace to you.

  3. Mary, I share many of the same feelings. My feeling today over the school shootings is sadness and shock at how we've lost the sense of urgency over these matters. It is just another story, on another day, in the sick world we live in.

    My hometown newspaper had the story about the Amish school shooting on page 4 of the paper. Not that long ago, something as tragic as this would have been on page 1, and we'd all be shaking our heads in disbelief. Now we're just used to it, numb, and not moved like we should be.

    Come Lord Jesus Come.

    By the way—the photos of your daughters in the dresses are absolutely beautiful!!!!

  4. This Amish school shooting is local for us. Made me have 2nd thoughts about sending my DD to school this morning. I hate to see such young children robbed of their innocense!

  5. Beautiful words Mary. Beautiful.

  6. Amen, Mary. Amen.

  7. You have so beautifully expressed the heart and thoughts and prayers of every mother I think. I read something just this morning that spoke to my heart that tends to worry about my grown children (my daughter is 27 years old, single, living alone, and I still make her call when she gets home so I'll know she arrived safely!). It is from Greg Laurie's book "The Best Is Yet To Come": "…the next time you wake up and worry comes knocking at the door, send the Lord to answer it. Say to Him, "Lord I commit this to You. I have no ability to fix it….so I'm just leaving it in Your hands, and I'm going back to sleep." That's not a cop-out. That's a person who understands the power of prayer. That's a person who trusts in the Lord with all his heart…"
    I think there is a balance between good sense and being over-protective. Add to that our prayers for them, and I think all will be well.

  8. i'm new to your blog..having been reading through your "30 days of nothing" and this is my first comment. thank you for this post. i needed to hear it. i have 3 boys, and i worry constantly, forgetting to place my worries in His lap. i needed the beautiful reminder of your post today. 🙂

  9. I agree. With only one child, already I am learning what it means to place your child in the Lords hands, knowing that only he can protect your child!

  10. Wonderful perspective. I just did a post on this yesterday, with a discussion specific to homeschooling one's children.

    Interesting discussion.

    You are right to put it all in God's hands. Because, ultimately, that is what He wants from us (and we would never want to thwart His will for our children)….and then we will have complete trust and peace.

    But, oh, it is SO hard sometimes!

  11. This grace, this God given grace is one a God's daily reminders that I must be in his hands. Before I knew Christ, I worried about the world and had done since I was old enough understand about pain. I fretted about nuclear weapons when other children worried about the care bear. Not a healthy perspective on the world, and although I wasn't forever biting my nails, I was always mindful that the world was a dangerous place. But then I was saved, and the cloud lifted. I won't say I never worry, never fret, I do and like you mainly about my children. But I know this side is better than where I was – Thank the Lord, literally. Sorry for the long babble, I had an extra cup of coffee today. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. It is sad that our children are being subjected to this, and that these crazed people are taregting such innocence. I work at one of the law enforcement agencies that responded to the hostage/shooting at Platte Canyon H.S. It has been difficult to deal with, both hearing about the girl who died, and seeing the aftermath in the lives and on the faces of the deputies and emergenciy crews that were there. Very good post.

  13. Amen sister. That was beautifully written.

  14. Thanks, Mary! Sometimes it's difficult to place things in God's hands, but really, where else makes sense? His hands are the ones that fashioned the world, yet held babies and treated them as precious. What a wonderful Savior we have!

  15. Mary, Mary…thank you, my friend.

  16. thank you, Mary, for the very necessary reminder.
    intentional, transparent, full of humility & a reality that has yielded faith.
    you inspire us all to true-er trust, blatant honesty with God, & thoughtful living.

  17. You captured it perfectly. It is a semi local story for us – emblozaned across the papers, shouted reapetedly on the newscasts – MORE INFO — THE LATEST ON>>

    I am tired – my heart MUST rest with my Savior. He knew this would happen before those little girls were born. His plan is perfect and beyond my human understanding. I will rest.

  18. Beautiful Mary, thanks!

  19. I had a moment when I was pregnant with my second. It came after reading a newletter from a missionary family that we know in LIberia about their evacuation at the end of the civil war when the capital was being bombed. They had to leave two children behind with some friends because their adoption papers had not gone through yet and the Canadian govt. refused to evacuate them. I just broke down, I was so terrified at the thought of having yet another child walking around so vulnerable and unprotected outside of my body. It was more than I could bear.

    And in the end I just had to remember that God is more powerful than I and loves my children even more, and I had no choice but to trust him to take care of them, or go nuts.

  20. Thank you for this. It's a good reality check after my heartache post. It's hard not to wallow sometimes, isn't it? Whether for yourself, your kids or someone else.

  21. This is the sorrow and joy of every mother's heart. Very wonderfully said, thankyou.

  22. These thoughts are some that I have had this week, knowing I am overprotective at times, but also knowing even more that our Savior is The Protector and trusting in Him is the one thing, the only thing that we can do to protect our children. Thanks for writing this so beautifully.

  23. Hi, I'm new to your blog, but decided to check it out when I saw your comment on mine yesterday, and am so glad I did.

    As a mother who is raising two children and has buried two more, I am constantly learning about God's grace. There are many times I still feel too battered to be able to fully trust Him, but I remember that He helped me through some of my darkest times.

    I'm not sure what else to say, except that your words touched me, and I am thankful for that.

    God bless you.