Clint and I have started noticing a pattern. When we have babysitters for the older two and just take the baby out with us, people are all smiles and kind words. When we go out with all three, people either give us a wide berth and hope to avoid an encounter or else they make a big deal with their comments.
It doesn't really bother me because I think most people are well intentioned. However, while out for dinner with my family this evening, we had at least 4 people come up to our table and make a big deal about the fact that we had three little boys at our table.
I'm starting to dislike the comments. Not for my own sake, but for the sake of my boys. My oldest son is now five and he catches everything. He keeps asking us, "Why are those people saying all that?" It seems like people don't notice that my boys are real people. In a way it seems disrespectful to my boys. They are not a burden or an inconvenience. They are people, made in the image of God.
I look at my son's face. He doesn't seem to be insulted at all. I feel relief. He knows his mom and dad treasure him. And I trust he is beginning to know his worth in his Heavenly Father's eyes.
This is just the beginning of the trials that my boys will face in this life. At some point, maybe sooner rather then later, they will endure mocking and name calling from their peers. If they choose to follow Jesus they will face even greater opposition. Maybe they will go off to war or be missionaries in a hostile country. The difficult part for me is that I won't always be there to help them. For that matter, I may not be capable of helping them.
When we were walking back to our vehicle after dinner, a drunk man started talking to my boys. Afterward my oldest said, "He sounded like he was speaking funny. Maybe he is from somewhere else." My middle boy commented, "He was speaking nice words." The innocence of their words, however lovely and generous, made my defences come up a bit. I said, "When you are with Mom and Dad you can be friendly and say hello to everyone. If you are ever by yourself, don't talk to strangers."
"Why can we talk to strangers when you are around?"
"Because I would protect you if there was a bad person."
One of my boys, who will remain nameless, laughed out loud. He couldn't help himself. He could barely speak, he thought I was telling a good joke.
"What could YOU do to defend us?"
Thankfully, my darling husband came to the rescue of my wounded pride.
"Oh, if Momma got upset she would be a force to be reckoned with!"
We all had a good laugh at this, but there was truth to my son's words. I cannot be their ultimate lifelong defender. I cannot pave the road for them and smooth every bump. I cannot stop every bad thing from ever happening to them.
There is only one who calms the waves and stops the storms. There is only one who sees and knows all things at all times. He is the one who orchestrates all things for the good of those who love Him, however painful they may be.
Can I release my sons into his divine care? Will he not pry my fingers open anyway? I have a choice between fear and trust. How can I not trust in him. He can never fail. He will never forsake. His sufficiency is much greater than my own.
Thank-you, my son, for the not-so-subtle reminder to look to Christ.