What To Do When Someone Hurts Your Child
Ever since I was a little girl, I've read the Christmas story from Mary's perspective. What would it have been like to birth the Savior of the world? After a pregnancy where everyone thought the worst of you? And what was it like to experience that birth far from home, away from your own mother, with only your young, terrified husband to hold your hand? The birth of Jesus was a miracle in many ways, and one of them was that a young teenage girl said yes to the whole thing, trusting God to sort out the details of her very real life.
But, I'm certain the birth wasn't the hardest part for Mary. For, just days later, she would hear the words no mother ever wants to hear at her baby's dedication service, spoken by a prophet who whispered them while looking deep into her eyes,
"And a sword will pierce your own heart, also." (Luke 2: 35)
What could she have thought upon hearing those words? She had no frame of reference for what was coming. She hadn't yet read the back of the book.
She found out in real time that not everyone would believe He was who she always knew He was. That people close to her would turn on him, betraying Him into hands that sought to kill the life she brought in to the world. That He would die on a cross being mocked and spat upon by the very ones she knew He loved more than Himself.
And it's that part of Mary's story that both breaks my heart and captures my respect.
Because just recently, I watched a child born of my body experience hurt at the hands of someone else. It was small in the great scheme of life, the kind of thing that most everyone experiences in junior high. But, it brought tears and pain and confusion to one I love more than my next breath. And in that moment, I didn't want to sit on the sidelines and pray. I didn't want to counsel forgiveness. I wanted to crawl out of my mama bear cave, stand on my hind legs, and roar until I could force retribution. I wanted to fix it. And fix it with vengeance.
But, I didn't get to. Because that's not the way of the God I serve. Instead, I held my child close to my heart, waited for the tears to stop, and we prayed. We released the one who had done the wounding and we asked the Lord to bless them. I admit that a little later, I also had to quietly ask the Lord to forgive the angry thoughts I had entertained that may have involved super glue and a flagpole, but the point is, in that mama bear moment, my child needed me to model a life value.
Because my babies won't always have me around to run to. But, they will always have the God we can go to together.
And He is there for both of us, just like He was there for Mary.
He was there when she birthed her vagabond son in a stable. He was still there in her panic when she realized she had left her pre-teen in Jerusalem and was a three day journey away from him. And He was there again when she watched the man she knew to be completely innocent of sin murdered on a cross for her own sin.
He was there. He was there for her and He was there for her son. He was there because that boy was also His son.
And that's what brings peace in the moments when we watch our children walk through pain. The truth that, even more than being bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, these children belong to Him. He loves them more than we can fathom. He has a plan for their lives, one for hope and a future. And He will never leave them. They are His.