Sometimes our children choose a path that seems to wind and twist and loop back on itself. It seems sometimes they prefer to walk right along the edge of the cliff, where the limestone crumbles away beneath their feet with every step they take. They teeter on the precipice – their arms outstretched, refusing to heed our calls to come back from the edge or to take a different path or to choose the road we highlighted for them on the map.
Our hearts beat fast and our hair turns gray and we wring our hands as we watch them tempt fate. They laugh at us, or wave us off, or maybe they don’t even turn to look in our direction. We toss and turn at night and then fall asleep at stop lights in broad daylight.
We write laments in journals. We submit prayer requests and we sign them, “Anonymous” because the story doesn’t just belong to us. We pray and give up praying. We cry and shout and whisper and grow silent, and our hearts sit heavy in our chests. We hold our breath.
I’m only telling my own story here. I’m offering it up in case there is another someone out there who has tried everything she can to fix it, or to make it right, or to call her child back from the edge. I just want to tell you, you are not alone.
And I want to tell you, God’s got this. He does. So go ahead and breathe.
I don’t say that lightly. It’s hard to breathe when every phone call makes your lungs stop cold. And if you remember to breathe today, by tomorrow you might forget again.
One day I sat breathless before God. My gut was twisted in a knot, and I couldn’t even look in His direction. My hands fell open in my lap and I whispered, “What am I supposed to do?” And just as quickly as I asked the question, one word slipped its way into my heart: “Love.”
“I can do that,” I thought to myself. “I can love. But what else, God?”
“Just love,” He breathed into my heart. “I’ll do the rest. I’ve got this. All you have to do is love.”