“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
During my teenage years, my mother lived in a house that was on the beach in Florida. When we were teenagers, and visiting my mother, my sister and I were out swimming one day in the ocean and when we looked up, we noticed that it was raining over my mother’s house. I thought it was hysterical that it was raining on her house while just 500 feet away, we were swimming in sunshine! I remember wondering if the fact that it was raining over her house meant “something.”
Many years later, I also lived in Florida. I was married and had 4 children. When my children were quite young, I liked to find fun things to do with them among the ordinary ins and outs of daily life. Since we lived in Florida, I noticed (and remembered) with interest that on occasion, you could be in one spot in the area, but in another spot, not so far away, you could see that it was raining. One day, this interesting phenomenon presented itself to all of us while we were in the car, and I said to my children, “Let’s go chase the rain.” They were curious to understand what I was talking about, so I pointed out the rain to them that was falling in the distance. I told them, “Let’s go find out where it is falling,” and off we went. It was like a scavenger hunt as we drove around that day taking a left here and a right there not caring where we ended up. Soon, without too much difficulty and with much satisfaction, we found and entered the rain storm that we had spotted a few miles away. We all laughed and had fun that we had “found the rain.” We made a wonderful memory that day. While there are many implications you could gather from this story, there is one that means the most to me: Memories are timeless treasures of the heart. They are all we can take with us from moment to moment in our lives.
Years after that experience of chasing the rain with my children, my marriage had been dissolved and the custody of my children awarded to my ex-husband, I found myself in alone in New York City attending cooking school. The memory of separation from my children was painful and sharp and relentless, but I had to carry on. One day, while riding on the subway, I noticed a woman behaving badly with her child and I thought to myself, “Lady, if something happened to your child tonight and tomorrow she was gone, would you look back and regret what you had done with your child today?” I was all too aware of the answer to this question.
This is an interesting question and one that has been formed on many lips throughout the ages. It usually begins with, “if only,” and is often accompanied by a tragic experience. “if only I had said ‘I love you,’”…”if only I hadn’t said, __________________ “(fill in the blank)…if only…if only…if only…you know what I mean. All of us have said it in one way or another.
Regret is a paralyzing emotion. We look back on our lives and regret this or that. Because of guilt, we emotionally “flog” ourselves into believing we are no good. Certainly, regret causes much sorrow in our lives. However, when we take the opportunities to learn from others, regret doesn’t have quite the painful sting as it would otherwise. I would long remember the lesson I learned from that woman in the train station that day and the way she treated her child. The lesson I learned was timeless: life is short and offers no glimpse in to the future. We cannot change the past; we can only influence the future by what we do in the present.
This was a huge lesson.
As painful as my life was without my children, it would be infinitely more painful if the only thing they remembered about their mother when they were with her, was that she was angry and bitter about the “hand” she’d been dealt. Therefore, I determined that if I would “stand fast in the Lord” (See Philippians 4:1) and wait upon the Lord, trusting Him to give me the strength to go on and be supported by His gracious hand, I would be able to run and not be weary and walk and not faint. (See Isaiah 40:31; Psalms 37:7; Proverbs 3:5-6).
I have never been able to reconcile the outcome of my life without my children. In this, I have had to walk by faith. I have had to learn that some things will never be understood in this life. In this painful and often bitter time of my life, I needed to learn to trust in the Lord; To rest in Him; To let go of the control of everything and let Him work His marvelous work. This has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I can testify with the assuredness of my soul that He have never, ever let go of me in my lonely path. He allowed me to feel the pain of separation from my children. He allowed me to experience all that was necessary to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming like Him. It has been the most difficult thing I have had to endure in my life and I am still not sure whether I will pass “the test.” He is gracious and good and all I am today is because He never gave up on me and my ability to endure with His help.