Thursday, August 27, 2009

perspective.

kate mccann ~ 2007

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit".

Psalm 34:18
Align Center
death. disease. divorce. tragic accidents. murder. my family has experienced each of these tragedies over the course of my lifetime. the loss of a child remains unfathomable to me, but to think of one of my children being missing. abducted. vanished without a trace. . . . there are no words. i have nothing by which to compare it. it is a depth of despair only few have known and the rest of us cannot imagine.

i have been both fascinated and horrified by abduction cases since childhood. i was obsessed with the madeleine mccann case. in the months that followed, i would study every photograph, every interview, and every step of kate mccann. i would observe her in awestruck wonder, captivated by her ability to stand up straight; and to simply breathe in air.

tonight, i read the headline of jaycee dugard case. one click of my mouse and two hours of paralyzing numbness. article after article. taking each detail in, one by one. debilitating doses of sobering perspective.

most of us have had those moments. a fleeting moment in a store or in a crowded room where, for a split second, you lose sight of your child. fear and panic grip our hearts momentarily. but what if that moment yielded way to another and then, an hour, a day, a month, a year, a lifetime... jaycee dugard's mother has spent every day since june 10, 1991 gripped by the angst of the unknown.

the temptation arose to simply close my laptop, read something less dreadful and drift off into peaceful slumber, counting my blessings as one would count sheep. instead, i sat up in my bed. motionless. expressionless. i felt inclined to pray, but couldn't form any adequate words. or thoughts for that matter. something was keeping me from giving in to avoidance.

my heart was heavy. burdened. convicted. i recanted my mumblings and grumblings of every day life. the occasional self-pity over life's circumstances. difficulties of daily life spoken out loud. suddenly i regretted both the wasted oxygen and those wasted moments of my life, moments spent - even today - spent in self-centeredness instead of Christ-centeredness. moments spent viewing the world in light of my own understanding rather than the illumination of Christ.

i tried to imagine the unimaginable. the not knowing of a child missing. i walked down the hall to my children's rooms. i peeked in on their sweet slumbering little faces. i stood in each of their doorways and i asked myself what i would do if i didn't know where they were, if i didn't know if they were sad or scared, hungry or cold, safe or harmed ... dead or alive. unbearable to even think it. i thought about all the cases i had studied in the past, the parents' who had breathed their last breath still not knowing.

as i walked back towards my own room the question reverberating in my heart was not "what would i do?", but "would i still trust you, Lord?". would i? would i? i kept repeating this to myself, silently, urging my heart - or my mouth - to spring forth with the right answer: of course i would... wouldn't i? this series of questioning eventually evolved into a petition and from a petition to fervent prayer: "Lord, teach me to trust you. instill in me that kind of faith. you alone are the author and perfector of our faith. (hebrews 12:2). write across my heart faith that is immovable. protect my faith, causing it to be unbreakable. unshakable. help me to long for your provision more than your protection." (wait. were those last words my own?)

the thought repeated itself, this time out loud: "in Him, we are not guaranteed physical protection - not for ourselves - not for our children - but we are guaranteed spiritual provision in the shelter of His wings..."


Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4

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