I stormed out to the mailbox, desperately needing a breath of fresh air. Not even the country air and beautiful surroundings brought me comfort this time. I clearly needed more than just space—I needed an entire recharge.
I was mad not only at the situation, but at how I’d responded to it.
With tears of sheer frustration flowing down my cheeks, I decided to stay outside a minute before going back into the battlefield.
Although I didn’t hear it, the front door must have opened because suddenly a blond-haired boy appeared next to me.
I was cut to the quick. It really wasn’t him, although he had participated in the final thing that had pushed me over the edge.
He came at me with an enormous hug, putting his arms around my back. I could feel the strong, compassionate arms of a man in my nine-year-old.
We held each other like that for a good five minutes, me weeping and him just rubbing my back saying, “It’s OK, Mom.”
It’s a strange thing to have your child comfort you, for them to help you in your weakest moments. I’d imagined this happening someday, of course, but I’d always envisioned that someday way, way in the distant future… you know, like 20 years from now when our life circumstances and maturity levels were much more in line.
It felt awkward at first—almost as if I wanted to reject it—but then I realized that, no, God had sent this little messenger to comfort me.
He began talking me through the situation.
Although it wasn’t the first time I’d witnessed it, I was amazed at this child’s intuitiveness. As I listened to him I thought, yes, that was exactly what I’d needed someone to say. I just in a million years didn’t think that would come from my nine-year-old.
We continued to quietly talk through the situation, and he continued to comfort me. What was especially beautiful is that I heard myself in the words coming from his mouth: “It’s going to be alright. I know this is difficult, but this is the situation we’ve been handed and we need to push through it.”
Geez, someone has been listening and paying attention.
I had always been the comforter, the drier of tears. And here we were in this incredible role reversal—me sobbing and sharing, and him holding and comforting.
Like every mom, there have been countless times that I’ve helped my kids deal with their own emotional battles. I’ve tried my human best to let Jesus’ example of radical, piercing love fuel my efforts to soothe them through their situation.
But here he was recognizing me not just as “his mom” (perhaps someone far-off and unreachable because of our age difference) but as a human being who needed someone to tangibly demonstrate God’s heart for my utter angst.
There was no chasm between who we were: I was simply a hurting soul in need, and he wanted to help.
I tend to wear my superhero cape around here a lot (I think it’s standard issue from the hospital when babies are delivered), and yet, he’d seen me with it off and wasn’t scared away. He was willing to not only accept me in my imperfection, but to love me through it.
This was perhaps the most shocking (and freeing) realization of the situation. Talk about bringing this feeble mom to her knees.
I’d always seen my children as gifts, but now I was being blessed by the indescribable, godly treasures growing in their hearts…? Indescribable. This was the other side of motherhood—the at-long-last result of that daily, relentless struggle to sacrifice my life to this calling.
My mind was flooded with scripture as this situation played out:
What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
The preciousness of the moment was simply heavenly.
We walked up the driveway, arms still around each other. The trial remained before me, and in fact would hit me in the face the second I entered the house again.
But this comfort from such an unlikely source had brought a new hope in my heart.
I took the gift. . . grateful beyond words.