Saying Goodbye to Something You Love
And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided." 1 Chronicles 29:19 (NIV)
Cheri handed my crying baby to me, his little eyes swollen, his sobs subsiding into gulping sighs. Within seconds, Robbie calmed as I nuzzled him and kissed his sweet face.
I hugged my friend and thanked her for trying again to watch Robbie while I went back to work part-time. Again, my son refused a bottle and cried constantly. We both knew this wasn't going to work.
Forcing a smile, I turned quickly so she wouldn't see my tears. By the time I got to the car, I could hold them back no longer. Securing my son, I slipped in the driver's seat, put my head on the steering wheel and wept.
He was my third child, so I thought I had the mommy-thing figured out. Only Robbie didn't have the same personality or needs of his older brothers. They'd taken bottles easily. But this child had a unique bond with me.
Not only that, but we couldn't just sit together; I had to be walking and rocking him. If that boy was awake, he needed to touch me and be moving, or the crying began.
My older sons, ages 2 and 4, weren't the quiet type either. Other children kept occupied with a bag of toys, crayons or paper. Not mine.
My life changed dramatically with the birth of my third son. As a result, I made the difficult decision to quit many things I enjoyed: my part-time job, leading children's ministry and teaching Bible study to name a few. Most days I just felt sad as the world seemed to pass me by.
A highlight was picking up a dozen donuts and a Diet Coke and heading to Cheri's house. She was the only friend who could tolerate my three rowdy children. And she also understood that Diet Coke offsets the calories in the donuts. The perfect friend!
I loved those little boys immensely. And not a day passed that I didn't thank God for them. But I grieved what I'd left behind, and that grieving affected my enjoyment of the present.
I missed having position and authority at work. I longed for the sense of completion. Sadly, I thought my "ministry" was outside my home, and wondered when God would use me again.
Thankfully God intervened in a dramatic way, and I came to understand and appreciate the calling and cost of motherhood. God changed my heart and priorities, and the rewards have far outweighed the sacrifices. But it was still hard.
Recently, God brought those difficult years to mind as I read 1 Chronicles 28 and 29.
These chapters record King David passing his crown and assignment to build God's temple to his son, Solomon. In this decision, David gave up his position, authority, respect and purpose.
Did David mope and moan? Did he grab donuts and diet soda with a friend? No, the Bible tells us David "praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly" (1 Chronicles 29:10).
What follows is one of the most beautiful, humble prayers in the Bible. David's gracious actions and adoration for God inspired and moved hearts in the Jewish people.
After praying, Scripture tells us David invited the people to praise God: "So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the LORD and the king" (1 Chronicles 29:20).
What a vivid contrast between my response and King David's when each of us gave up something we loved. David didn't grip the past tightly; he opened his hands and heart to embrace what God was doing in the present.
I can't go back to those early years, but with God's help and David's example, I can change how I respond in the future.
David had cultivated a life of praise, so when faced with loss, that habit elevated his response. David's trust in God was so great that he joyfully supported others who would build the temple he longed to build.
As I've addressed this personally, I've discovered praising God is at the center of contentment. As we praise Him, we find the assurance that He's got things covered ... even babies who cry inconsolably and our longing for significance.
It's there, in knowing God sees us and hasn't forgotten us, we find peace.
And it's there, in every walking-rocking-sleepless night, we find purpose.
My season of life is different now, but I'm still faced with saying "goodbye" to things I love. That "little" boy moves away to college next month, and I'm praying for an attitude like King David's — full of praise, grace and generosity of heart.
Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing me right where I am today. You see what I've given up, and what I long for. Help me have an attitude like David's to impact others for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Read David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20.
How might praying this prayer change your perspective?