27: In the Father’s Hands

27: In the Father’s Hands

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

In the Father’s Hands

By Michele Cushatt

All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.

~Isaiah 54:13

When I first became a mother, the future bloomed with dreams to last a lifetime. I sang sweet songs as I rocked my little ones to sleep. I planned special family days and took enough pictures to fill dozens of albums. I read stories and prayed with each child before bed. In the beautiful simplicity of those early years, I didn’t realize being a mother would include challenges and heartache along the way, especially during the teen years.

Our oldest son was sixteen years old when he decided not to come home. House rules proved too confining, too limiting to his preferred way of life. And so he decided to live with another family member, severing his relationship with us. The days and weeks in the wake of his departure moved agonizingly slow. Phone calls were ignored, and text messages went unacknowledged. Learning to set the dinner table with four plates instead of five brought me to tears. Tucking two children into bed instead of three left a devastating hole in my heart. Friends and family tried to reassure me with their own stories of teenage rebellion. After all, they’d matured and turned out okay — our son would, too. I tried to find hope in their encouragement, but the grief over my son’s absence trumped all other emotions.

Weeks turned into months, and slowly our family adjusted to life without one of its members. We still planned fun family days, took pictures, and said prayers at bedtime, but with a dulled joy. Never was my third child far from my heart. Daily, I prayed — boy, did I pray! — that God would lead our prodigal son home, and that we, as his parents, would have the grace and forgiveness to embrace him if and when he did.

In the end, he was gone for nearly six months, a painful stretch of time that seemed much longer while in the middle of it. In hindsight, however, I now realize I learned a significant lesson through the waiting, something that has served me well as I continue my journey as a mother.

As much as I’d like to keep my children safely within my home where I can teach, protect and love them day in and day out, a day is coming when each will leave to build their own life. Ultimately, this is what we want, what we’ve been training them for — adulthood. Mistakes will be made, and sometimes I won’t agree with the paths they choose. But this reassurance gives me peace: Our Heavenly Father has promised to faithfully lead my children on their life’s journey, to the very end. Over time, my role will change, and I’ll need to let go so they can live. But God’s hands will hold them steady, and my children will never be far from home.

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