What If I Don’t Live to Raise My Children?

by Amy Wages

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“How long will I live with a pacemaker?’ I asked the doctor who had just diagnosed me with an atrioventricular block of my heart. He gave me a half-grin and answered, “The rest of your life!”

I’ve encountered various cardiac issues over the past twelve years, but things became a little more serious over the past few months. I began having trouble walking up inclines and stairways and getting winded more easily than a 38-year-old should. Various tests were performed over several weeks of time before my diagnosis and a course of action was determined.

Certain events or news in our lives can send our minds reeling. What if I don’t live to raise my children?  (It’s painful to even write that last sentence.) I think if we are honest, we as mothers have all anguished at some point about the possibility that we may not live to see our children leave the nest. The truth is, none of us knows the days the Lord has numbered for us here on this earth, and there will be a time when He calls each of us home. But can You just wait until the kids are out of the home and out from under my care, Lord? Every fiber in my being desires to raise my children to adulthood and beyond, but what if our Father has other plans?

I realize that some of you out there have much more serious conditions than I do, or perhaps your daughter or sister has faced these struggles. My desire is to be sensitive to hurt and pain while conveying what the Lord has taught me as I continuously face my own thoughts and questions. I have seen two friends go Home and leave young children behind. It was an excruciating thing for me to witness. I so admired their families and their strength, but I know I can’t comprehend how they must have truly felt.

Taking all of this into consideration, I’ve pondered a Biblical example of a mother who let go of a child early on. In Exodus 2 we read about Jochebed, the mother of Moses, who dismissed the command of Pharaoh that all Hebrew baby boys should be thrown into the Nile River. Instead she hid him for three months before placing him in a tiny ark-like basket among the reeds of the Nile. Can you imagine the anguish she must have had as she walked away? She may have known the place where Pharaoh’s daughter would step down to the water and hoped she would have sympathy for the infant. The princess did find Moses. His sister, Miriam, waited nearby and offered Jochebed as a woman that could nurse the baby. So in a sense, Jochebed received her child back for a short time after releasing him. Oh the joy she must have had to freely hold her baby again and be assigned the gift of nursing him until he would be weaned. This mother had just a few short years before he would be raised full time in the palace and away from her care.

What would you and I do if we knew we truly only had a short time to invest in our children?

Would we take our roles as mothers more seriously? Would we treasure each day that we have the privilege to raise and instill truth in them? With the reality of life, we couldn’t expect each day to be stellar. We would still blow it and wish for do-overs. But pressed by the possibility that our time and chances are shortened, I believe we would amplify our efforts to do this thing well. I can only imagine that as Jochebed fed her growing son physically, she also poured into him spiritually the truth of the God Who had sustained her people and promised to deliver them as a great nation.

I’ve had to wrestle with some feelings and thoughts of discouragement, disappointment, and fear, but the Lord is teaching me to look to Him for the peace only He can provide in the middle of uncertainty. Let me share with you a few things I am learning.

Every day counts.

Not every day will be like a Hallmark movie. But teaching our children God’s word, pointing them to Christ in even the simplest ways, and loving them through it all gives me a better sense of peace that I’m doing what I can for now. None of us knows what tomorrow holds, but for THIS DAY I will choose to serve the Lord and trust Him and His plans. “But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV)

Prayer is powerful.

According to Revelation 5:8 our prayers are held in golden bowls before the throne of God. I pray intentionally for my children to become the Godly women He would have them be. I pray for their walk with Him, their relationships, their growth, their future husbands, their character, and more. No one can take those prayers away, and our God will be faithful to answer them according to His will. What a comforting thought!

The Body of Christ is crucial. 

During our hardest days, He not only promises His precious Presence, but He also gifts us with the his bride, the Church. A mentor of mine has stressed the importance of having other godly people pouring into the lives of our children. While the primary responsibility is ours, there are many around us that can teach truth to our children—but make sure they are following wholeheartedly after the Lord and HIS ways. These same people are most likely the ones who will surround you during your own times of discouragement and pain. The ministry of fellow believers helps to sustain and carry you through the darkest days and these friends celebrate with you on the joyous days.

In Christ, we are conquerors!

We don’t have to cower down, helpless against the attacks of the enemy. We have a Savior who has already won the victory at Calvary. That Victor Himself used God’s Word to combat the discouragement and false persuasions of the devil. Place the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 over yourself, dear sister, and fight back with the sword our Lord has given you. That sword is the Word of God! Select some verses from Scripture that speak to your personal struggle. Memorize them, mediate on them, and utilize them when the enemy tries to drag you down to the low places.

The day I got my pacemaker was New Year’s Eve of this past year—seven short weeks ago! I remember my husband kissing me on the forehead at midnight in the hospital room. It was a new year to remember, indeed! I am truly thankful that the Lord has this device for me. It is an answer to prayer for better health and to be sustained for the days He has for me. He is a good Father.

Each beat of my heart is truly in His hands, and yours is as well. He loves you and has a plan for you and your children. Whether you spend a century on this earth and see multiple generations springing forth, or have what you consider to be too little time, you can trust His sovereign hand. Like Jochebed, we should turn our children over to the Lord and do our best with the days He allows us to have with them.  What will you choose to do with the time He has entrusted to you for raising your sons and daughters in Him? A “Moses” can rise up by the Lord’s power and through the investment of a dedicated mom pouring into her child with the time she’s been given. In a generation that seems to be falling further from the Lord, choose to be a mom like Jochebed who looks beyond what human eyes can see to what God can do through faithful people. May you find strength in the Lord!

Amy Wages

AmyWages

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6 comments

  1. Lisa says:

    What a beautifully written article! With the heart issues I’ve had over the last year and a half, all of these thoughts have run through my head. I was told that there is no way I should still be here, but God provided a miracle! All days are certainly not “Hallmark” days, but I do cherish each one so much more. As you said, we can love and guide them as much as possible with our whole heart and pray fervently. God will provide! He has surround my family with so many Godly, loving individuals who are there to help. I pray we all get to raise our children to adulthood and see them have their families as well, but no matter what, God’s already there and he will work all things for good. Praying for your health, Amy! Thank you for the words of encouragement!

  2. Linda Dawkins says:

    Precious, Amy! Many of us mothers have had the same concern about living long enough to rear our children. Your answers for this fear are outstanding! Blessings to you for a long, long life!

  3. Melissa Bowman says:

    Such truth! Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me (and others) that each day with our family is a gift from God and we are never guaranteed another. I know for myself that I am forgetful of this often and I don’t always spend my time wisely with them. ❤️?

  4. Susan Shelton says:

    Amy,
    Thank you for sharing your heart and inspiring me to view my life differently! There are days that we are all weary but we can find rest in the One who is always with us! Every day is a gift from Him!! May He bless you with a long, beautiful life!! Love you! Susan

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