Well folks, it's official. I won't be receiving the "Mother of the Year" award this year. I messed up big time. I lost one of my boys! But wait, before you gasp and declare that you would never do such a thing, let me explain.
Our youngest Golden boy and I were shopping at a used book store. These musty places with various books, toys, DVDs, and workbooks crammed into overflowing shelves are some of my son's favorite places to be. He loves books. He would love to buy a hundred of them! But our deal each time we go is that he gets to pick out one book for me to buy.
So today, while I was scanning titles to find a "robot" book as he requested, he was sitting on the floor behind me looking through a Disney search-and-find volume. I found lots of dinosaur books, animal books, truck books, food books and strangely, an entire section of "farting dog" books. (Not kidding.)
But while I was diligently searching for his requested robot book, he apparently got bored and decided to do some searching on his own. I turned around to find neither my son, nor the book at which he had been looking. I tentatively called his name, and then called it louder, more firmly.
This drew a few looks from other book store shoppers, but at this point I did not care. Not one bit. My precious three-year-old with big brown eyes and curly hair, who loves to sing, loves his Ducky, and has his momma wrapped around his little finger, was missing. Missing.
My heart dropped and I began to run through the aisles calling his name. Have you ever been there? My little one has no idea about the evil intentions of some people in this world. But I do. By this time, I was telling the people that I passed that my son is three years old and wearing a green shirt. Strangers began to look around for him too.
And just as quickly as he had disappeared, I found him. He had discovered a kiosk with train books that were just at his eye level. He was happy to see me and show me what he had found, blissfully unaware of the mini-heart attack he had given me. All-in-all, only about 20 seconds had passed since I discovered his absence, and he was only a few aisles away...but still.
Once my heart stopped racing, my mind began churning. I wonder if this is a tiny taste of how the Father felt when Adam and Eve fell. When they stepped outside of the protection that God provided, they were vulnerable. And although they were unaware of their precarious position, God knew the vile hatred that Satan had for them. While they were coming up with new apple pie recipes, Satan was planning to steal, kill and destroy them (and us) in the most heinous ways.
So what is a parent to do? I ran around calling my son's name and soliciting the help of strangers to find him. To make him safe. To keep him with me even though he loves to wander. Father God went to far greater lengths to secure our safety. Since our sin debt could only be satisfied by One who is holy, God chose to pay the price Himself. He allowed His Son to pay the ultimate sacrifice - His life, His blood - for us.
When I found my son and scooped him into my arms, it would have broken my heart for him to reject me and say that he preferred to take his chances with the book store shoppers. He's only three! What does he know about life? I would have carried him to the car with me and taken him home, whether he liked it or not.
But God doesn't strap us into a carseat and make us go to heaven. He has provided the way. He has fulfilled the requirements Himself. And He graciously allows us to choose. Amazing grace, indeed!
I've got a long way to go to become the perfect parent. And I don't think that a "Mother of the Year" award is in my future. But I'm committed to protecting my sons and teaching them about God, the perfect Father, who loves them far more than I do.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that I bought that sweet baby TWO books today!