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When my kids were little, I always kept them close by me whenever we’d go out anywhere. We’d make a trip to Walmart and if they were not contained in the cart, I constantly had a hand on them. I’d hold their hands when we walked down the street. I was momma bear when it came to keeping them safe.[Tweet “I was momma bear when it came to keeping them safe. @AimeeImbeau #imperfectmom”]
And time on the boat was no different. This wasn’t just any boat, either. It was a ‘home-made’ boat that we were invited to board. The sides were maybe 2 feet tall, making this already anxious mommy more uneasy and apprehensive.
My kids were 5, 3 and about 4 months old. I MADE them sit with me the entire time the boat was moving. I held on to them tightly and they stayed safely tucked by my side.
We anchored at a dreadfully rocky beach. The jagged stones were easily seen underneath the water’s surface. I did not like the look of any of them.
After a bit of time, my anxiety calmed a bit. Sarah was playing in the water with her dad. Emily was napping in the shade. Matt was peering over the edge of the boat with my hand tightly grasping his shirt. I was not about to let go of my 3 year old!
But holding onto an active toddler isn’t always easy. I would have to release my death grip that had loosened in order to get a better hold of him from time to time. And one time, when my hand was merely centimeters from my son’s tiny body, he toppled over the edge.
I screamed in panic. My husband hurried to our boy and picked him up out of the water. He had only a few small scratches on his precious, little face. I stood at the edge of the boat and gazed where my son had landed in the water…only inches away from a huge, sharp rock just at the water’s surface.
The ‘what ifs’ began flooding my mind.
What if I hadn’t let go for that split second?
What if he had landed right on that rock, head first?
What if this had happened when the boat was moving?
What if he had landed in a way that broke his neck?
What if he had been seriously injured and we couldn’t get him to a hospital?
The “What If’s” continued to plague my mind over the next several days. As did the guilt. Why did I let go of him? How could I be so careless? I am the most vigilant and protective mother out there…and yet my toddler son fell over the side of a boat. What kind of mother allows this to happen?
Does this condemnation sound familiar to anyone?[Tweet “Does this condemnation sound familiar to anyone? @AimeeImbeau #imperfectmom”]
He Is Their Heavenly Father, Too
When my fretful heart calmed down, I was able to hear my Lord speak to me, revealing truth and bringing comfort.[Tweet “When my fretful heart calmed down, I was able to hear my Lord @AimeeImbeau #imperfectmom”]
This is what He told me:
Your son is safe and unharmed because of MY protection. As a mom, there is only so much that you can do to keep any of your children from harm. You won’t be able to be there every single moment of every single day, but I will be. You will fall short because you are human. But I never fall short. There is a limit to how much you are able to protect your children and when you come to the end of your limit, that’s when I take over. And believe Me, My protection is far greater than your part. You need to trust me to take care of your children, especially when you can’
And then I got this picture of a line – kind of like a number line from school.
I was humbled to see that while I did matter, I did not matter nearly as much as God. His protection and love for my children is far greater than mine could ever be (Luke 12:22-26). I still have a responsibility to keep my children safe, but in my humanness, I will fail. And just because I fail does not mean that He will. So, instead of beating myself up over my inadequacies, I need to turn to Him and thank Him for His sovereignty and love for my children. I need to praise Him for all He is. I need to worship Him because of who He is – who He is for my children.
Can we do this? As mothers and sisters in Christ, can we do this kind of thing for each other? When a friend fails at this mothering thing, can we take her in our arms and reassure her that He’s got this? He’ll take care of it all. He is our children’s Heavenly Father, too.
Aimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC. Aimee has been blissfully married for 17 years and still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus. When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking and hanging out with her family. She blogs over at A Work of Grace. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
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