This past week I have again wrestled hard with this letting go. As we live in a major European city that has been at the centre of international headlines, you can imagine life has looked a bit unusual the past 2 weeks. This last week in particular we played a waiting game. As public events were canceled and officials were seeking to make things as safe as possible, we found ourselves with a couple unexpected days off school. It was a bit emotionally exhausting, all the waiting and trying to normalize life for the kids while being so unsure of what was really happening and what was to come. However, I found myself at a breaking point late one night when we knew schools were re-opened the next day for the morning. I crumpled as I realized how out of control I was of ensuring their well-being both physically and emotionally. I wanted to freeze time while they were safely and peacefully asleep in their beds. I didn't want the uncertainty of the morning to come. It was a little funny as I look back. I wasn't afraid of attacks or even death for the kids or our family. I was afraid for their hearts with all the weight of knowledge and emotions this whole situation brings for them. Not knowing how the safety situation would look I worried it would cause some anxiety in them. Hearing reports of bomb threats and other schools evacuated the previous day, and knowing how on edge the country is made me unsure what sort of situation might arise in their school. What if they had to evacuate and my daughter was afraid? What if something happened and we couldn't get to them in a timely manner and they were afraid something had happened to us? What will their friends talk about? How will this affect their sleep at night? The reality is, Even if I kept the kids at home with us, bad things can happen. Sweet friends have just celebrated the homecoming from their grandson's 100+ day hospital visit with an infection that caused swelling in the brain. That came out of nowhere. They couldn't have sheltered him, or their family from it all by avoiding living. In the same way, I can't be sure of how things will go. I cannot fully protect these little ones' hearts, even though at times I'm almost desperate to do so. Once again, I was faced with choosing to trust God with our kids, even though it might mean something bad does happen.
And so they went to school the next morning. And so we continue to have conversations around the dinner table that I never dreamed possible when we moved to western europe. We continue to wrestle with hard questions alongside our kids, pointing them not to simple easy answers, for there aren't any to these kinds of questions. Instead, we point them to the truth of who God says He is. We play our "no fear" playlist of worship songs often and loudly. We speak God's Words of love and no fear over them and over each other. We reassure that we too have moments of fear of another attack. We demonstrate compassion to our friends of other faiths who are suffering much more than us in this and we listen to our children wonder at a world where this must be the case.
The truth is: we are not safe. Pain and suffering and death are very real in this life. The truth is also this: That God loved this hurting and broken world so much that He gave up his only son to take the punishment for all of the hurt and pain we all cause so that we could know God's love in our lives. With this truth we know we have a future with God for ever and ever in a new world without pain and without suffering that is so evident today. That is the only way I slept this week. That is the only way I took my children to school and left them there in the midst of world events. What hope that gives, what peace! This is why we've dedicated the kids and continue to do so, to God's care and his plan for all of eternity!