Few things make me panic these days. After going through the medical fiasco that I did earlier this year plus the autism journey with our youngest, it’s like the Lord built up this super resilience inside of me. I became this unshakable mountain-ready to be used by God in massive ways. People have said that I do way too much, and at times they might be right, but God knows how to shut me down when it’s rest time. Whether I’m on the constant go or relaxing in an Epsom salt bath, I tend to feel the same peaceful presence of Christ-unshakable, immovable, peace…..
A couple of hours ago, though, I broke and shook. I rustled frantically through the junk drawer for a flashlight, any of our flashlights. The kids had just been using them for hide and seek in the dark a few hours earlier. I needed a flashlight-a good, bright one. The woods behind the house are completely Pitch-black at night. All I found was my husband’s head light for his army helmet. From across the house, he ordered me to use that and go. I needed him to tell me what to do. The panic had me paralyzed-both in my body and mind. The only thing racing was my heart as I slipped on my oldest son’s sandals. They were the closest to the door, and I didn’t want to spend a single second longer in the house when I knew he wasn’t there. I started toward the tree line when I saw a car in the distance.
“Could he be in that car? I’m not taking any chances,” I thought to myself as I sprinted back toward the street.
“Did you see a 10-year-old boy over there, by the pool?” I shouted at the man.
“No,” he calmly replied. Why was he so calm? A child is missing at midnight! What was he doing down at the amenities area past closing? Did he have my child hidden somewhere?
“Did you have some business or reason to be down at the pool this late?” I questioned him, as if he was on trial.
“Ma’am, I live here,” he said with a little bass in his voice.
“I’m sure you do,” I darted back, completely unaware of how non-threatening I looked in my oversized button-down shirt and old maternity pants, from the donation pile. I grabbed them quickly just before I began my flashlight search. I pointed my headlight into the man’s back windows,
“Cole! Are you there?”
The guy didn’t act nervous-just annoyed when he asked, “Did you call the police?”
No, I didn’t call the police. He was probably sleep-walking in the woods. At least, that’s what I had been thinking until I saw his headlights pulling out in the distance. I waved the man off and went back to my first line of thinking-the woods. If he was sleep walking, he could have fallen into the creek. I didn’t remember him wearing a shirt, and it was so cold out. There are snakes in the woods, all kinds of random animals out there, and–“Oh no. Oh God, no. Oh, please, God, no.” I began to repeat as my rigorous walk turned into a run. The path behind our property line leads directly to a hunting ground. They’re not law-abiding citizens either. They’re the type who shoot at night.
Through the woods, I could see the lights from my husband’s car. He drove through the neighborhood looking, and had come back home. I was almost to the property line when I darted back toward the house. Maybe he found him. My neighbor was out searching the woods still, and he had the pond covered. Ireached the driveway, but my husband didn’t have my skinny little brown-eyed boy with him. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t found.
That was the moment. I can definitely pinpoint it to that one, right there. My panic overpowered every single cell and bone in my body. He had just bought his own tablet. What if he met someone on there? What if they took him? Where was he? What were they doing to him? “Oh, God, please, no.”
He never has his phone on him, in fact, it’s always dead. He’s 10. He never charges that thing, but I figured I’d try it anyway.
It rang once. Then twice. A third time. Then a fourth, and then “Hello? Mom?”
“Son? Where are you? Don’t move. Stay right there. I’m coming. Dad and I are coming to get you right now. Don’t you dare move! We’re coming right now!” I quickly begged my neighbor to stay at the house with our other boy, as I peeled off the muddy sandals and slipped into the passenger seat of my husband’s car. The panic was still there. The shaking was at full force. I knew where he was, but he still wasn’t with me. I needed him with me.
His face was red from crying, and he walked slowly toward us in fear when we pulled up. He flinched and then hesitated when I threw open the car door and told him to get into the front seat with me. He thought he was in trouble, and he was right, but at that moment, I just needed him in my lap and in my arms. The panic was finally gone. My peace was back, and my breath slowly returned. He was lost, and then he was found.
Ironically, while airbrushing my makeup this morning, my son asked if I would paint his face to be like a black sheep. I laughed and did my best to make him look the part. Little did I know that he would actually end up being my lost sheep who was found in front of the doorway of our church a little after midnight. Why the church? What happened? I’m sure you’re wondering; the same way that I was. Through heavy tears, he said that he felt convicted and needed to be closer to God, so he went to the church.
The words that I chose as my reply felt more like God’s words to all of his children than simple motherly advice. I sighed and spoke softly when I said, “My son, the only reason you always feel him so strongly in there is because it’s usually full of so many other people who also have him in their hearts. The only thing about Jesus in that building tonight, however, was you. He’s in your heart, not in some magical building.
Few words were exchanged tonight. At the right time, we will deal with the appropriate action, but for right now, at 2am, both of our boys (plus both dogs) are in the bed with us. It’s a tight squeeze, but I love this backache. A sore back is so much better than a broken heart. Hug your babies. Teach them how to feel close to God by showing them that He’s always there-wherever you are. Even in the panic. He’s right there, right here, and so is my boy.
…sigh thank you, Jesus.