I am the mother of eight children, something that feels very normal and unimpressive to me, but usually elicits a response of shock and awe in people I meet. I feel largely unremarkable. You, too?
In all these years of mothering, there have been joyful, wonderful, absolutely fun days, and there have been hopeless, depressing, despairing, and desperate days when I wanted to stay crouched beneath the covers and not have to face all of those little and not-so-little people who expected me to at least feed them.
What hope is there for us when we see only the messes, only the discipline issues, only the strained marriage and the family problems and the failing business? We need hope, don’t we?
What if I told you that the God who created you, created the universe, created every living thing, loves you, cares deeply for you, and has a perfect plan to bring all of our hopelessness to an end because He perfectly provides, perfectly protects, and perfectly carries out everything He set out to accomplish?
In the summer of 2008, I found our 7-week-old in a coma. He was barely breathing, his skin was blue, and his eyes were rolled back into his head. An ambulance rushed him to the nearest ER, but it wasn’t until he arrived at a children’s hospital late that night that a diagnosis was made. We were told to sleep with our cell phones because he probably wouldn’t make it through the night.
He had a deadly enterovirus, and it sent his body into liver failure, kidney failure, damaged his heart, and permanently damaged his brain.
As I stood over my tiny dying boy there in that ICU, I suddenly heard the sounds of a woman wailing outside our little Joe’s room. She had lost her daughter to cancer, and she was hopelessly wailing outside our baby’s room.
In that moment, I knew. I was so busy placing our hope for our children in everything but God. Our homeschooling, our church, our theology, our choices. These were the things I was hoping were going to keep our children from harm and cause them to grow up following Christ and living a life without major issues.
I knew, too, that that woman felt hopeless, and I was so busy camping on things that were not the gospel, when what our dying world — what we need — is the gospel.