Monday, September 23, 2013

Four Motherless Children

Disclaimer:  I am not a perfect mother.  I am not even an excellent mother; I know a lot of moms who are better at motherhood than I am.  But, by the grace of God, I love being a Mom (most of the time), and I am either with or available to my boys.  Once disorder sets in, there are a lot of circumstances that cannot be helped.  Addiction and divorce are two of them.  I am not criticizing the mothers below.  I could easily be where they are, if my circumstances were the same.  I simply pray for them, and grieve for their children. 

I spent three and a half hours at the skate park with my two older boys yesterday afternoon.  The skate park is almost always a win-win because they're doing what they want to do, and I get to be outside, sitting.  Two of my favorite things.  But, if you've read some of my other posts, you already know that sometimes I leave with a heavy heart.  Yesterday was one of those days.

The first heartbreak (and joy) was spending the afternoon with my little four-year-old buddy.  He was there before we arrived and stayed until who-knows-when after we left.  His 7th grade brother was also there, and everybody knows them, but the just-turned-four-year-old is still pretty much on his own.  At some point, his older sister showed up to bring him lunch.  A sandwich, chips, and a Capri Sun.  She left right afterwards.  His brother "stole" his chips, and they were ultimately spilled on the ground.  It was the first time I ever saw him cry.  I was getting ready to head home to supplement his lunch when one of the girls hanging around offered to buy him another bag, which was the first act of kindness I've seen there (that part was refreshing).    

I asked the boys if their Mom ever came to watch them.  The little one said, "No".  The older one said, "Sometimes."  While I was thinking about my four-year-old at home napping, and seeing my little friend's  "thousand yard stare", I was struck by such a feeling of helplessness.  After sitting with him the whole afternoon, I had to tell him it was time for us to leave because I had to make dinner.  The helplessness struck again.  He can't cross the street by himself and he can't come home with me... 

His mother is alive, and lives right across the street.  I can't blame her because I don't know her, and justice is not mine to meter out.  But, I know what I see (and have seen many, many times), and that, for whatever reason, is a motherless child.

The second heartbreak was running into an old friend who told me "Things aren't so good at home right now."  I pressed a little, and he told me that his wife (and mother of his only son) is strung out on prescription drugs and alcohol.  She was recently arrested for public intoxication after she lost her son at the store.  She just went through a drug rehab program, and according to him, things look the same as before.  I overheard one of their friends say, "I hate seeing her like that.  She wouldn't even talk to us."  Her son is the same age as mine.  And right now, he is a motherless child.

The third heartbreak was when my friend told me that a mutual friend moved several states away, to live closer to her daughter.  The closer-to-her-daughter part was good, but she had to leave her two boys behind with her husband.  Again, they're about the same age as my guys.  Until they rendezvous for the summer or holidays, it seems to me, they are motherless children.   

I have to admit, my boys don't seem like they need me most of the time.  But, I cannot imagine being separated from them for much more than a week.  Anything less than that, I fantasize about.  But anything more, I cannot fathom.  I can't imagine saying goodbye, or leaving them in my rearview mirror, or not being "there", for whatever

I ache for these mothers, for I know their love is no less than mine.  I ache for these children, for I know their love is as boundless as any child's love.  I am powerless to reunite them or swoop in to fix what's been rent.  But, I can pray for them, and love more intensely, because the thought of living in any one of their shoes, unable or unwilling to guide the children God entrusted to me, leaves me numb. 

And to the parents in my community, who lost their 4-year-old son last week when he was accidentally killed in their driveway, please keep loving.  The kids in this world need your love.  We all do.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for Your Mother, who was present throughout Your Life, and most especially at the foot of the cross, when very few were left.  Thank you for a mother's heart.  Help us to intercede for those children, mothers, and families where something has gone awry.  Please comfort those who need more love than what they receive.  Please help us to take our responsibility as parents seriously, for it is the greatest work on earth, and we will have to give an account of how we've done.  Please be with parents of older children who have to make them live somewhere other than home, to keep them safe.  Please hear the cries of those parents who have lost their children.  The pain of trying to imagine it is unbearable.  There can be no words for the pain of living it.  Please give us the grace to love well while we can, since we do not know how long we get to try.    Amen.


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and observations about the four motherless children. It is rare that I get to read about or see another person actually taking interest in children (up close and person with the love of Christ) who do not belong to them. I found the idea of turning observations into prayer to the Lord innovative, and look forward to doing the same. 3 John 1:2

    1. Hi C.A.! You are welcome for sharing; thank you for taking the time to comment. It is my privilege to tell another's story, albeit it abbreviated and one-sided. I am trying more and more to turn EVERYTHING into prayer. Washing the dishes, driving, writing, etc. I came across a prayer the other day which tells how we can even pray when we sleep, by offering every breath and heartbeat in advance. Wow. Truly, the only way we can pray continually, is by uniting our thoughts, words, and actions with those of Jesus Christ. Peace to you.