Saturday, November 12, 2011

Joshua 1:9

It is no small thing to put your son on a plane and send him halfway around the world.

It is no small thing to watch him collect his belongings, listen to him dream over what God has in store for him while he is abroad.

It is no small thing, too, to see him cast a glance over his shoulder as he walks through the massive, sliding doors of the airport and search for you--one last time-- to offer a reassuring smile.

I'm going now. I'm off! Can you believe it, Mom? I'm doing it! I'm really doing it. Just like you always said I would ...

Five years ago, I wondered and worried and prayed over the spectre of fear and defeat that threatened to swallow Atticus. Night after night, I would pray with him, asking God to cut his anxieties down to size, to give him victory, to help him claim the steadfast heart that Jesus wanted for him as a young man of God. More often than not, Mr. Blandings and I would slip into his bedroom just before we turned in for the night and pray once more; this time, it was Joshua 1:9. Every night, over and over, we prayed this verse:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

We recited it by day light, when the worries appeared. Over math that seemed too difficult. Over words that seemed too hurtful. Over fears about the future. Over questions that seemed too deep. Over a heart that seemed destined to cower.

Years later, I can tell you that the roots of this Scripture are so deep in my son's spirit that I have seen him whispering it to himself as he prepares to walk into a crowded room of people he doesn't know. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Today, Yahweh walked alongside Atticus as he took one small leap from boyhood to manhood. The God who hung the stars in the sky stood nearby as Atticus and Mr. Blandings made their way through security, found their gate, and settled in to wait a while. Then, it was Yahweh who carried my beaming boy on to a gigantic Airbus. Right now, the three of them are hurtling through the sky en route to Nepal and whatever adventures and blessings await them there.

Five years ago, none of this would have been remotely possible. Five years ago, it was a struggle for Atticus to strap into the car for a ride across the mountains without mentally steeling himself for the fiery death he knew was lurking just around every bend. Yet today, with God's help and to God's glory, this same young man kissed me fiercely as I prepared to leave him at the airport. His hands were not clammy, his face was not pale, his heart was not racing.

I must have held on a little too long for our last hug. The truth is, my heart breaks just a little bit with each day that I am away from any of my children, and knowing that it will be two weeks before this gawky man-boy is laughing at my side brings a hard lump into my throat. I was pondering this, holding on tight, as Atticus started to pull away. Sensing my hesitation, he leaned in just a tad closer, found my ear, and whispered.

"Joshua 1:9, Mom. 'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.'"

I cried just the tiniest bit as I let him go, even though really, it would have taken nothing for me to break into full-fledged sobs.  But to what end? Has God not commanded me? I will be strong and courageous. I will not tremble, nor be dismayed, for the Lord my God is with my son ... wherever he goes.


Susan in the Boonies said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. I absolutely love this post.

When my dear son was 13, we shipped him off to Mexico, just across the border, with his Daddy in tow.

When he was 14, he flew without his father, to Mexico City, whereupon, he went on a 12 hour bus ride, over windy, dangerous roads, high up into the remote mountains of Mexico, where the air is thin, and the needs of the Indians there are great. Only the presence of Jahweh with him allowed me to let go of those reins, to lift the protective veil that I've kept around him, and to wish him Godspeed.

I admire your son's faith, and courage. If it had been easy for him, it wouldn't have been bravery.

Michelle said...

Praying. For all of you, and for the specific requests you made. (((HUGS)))

Sandi said...

Mary Grace....thank you for sharing this. I have a boy that I can't imagine making this kind of trip. It is so encourging to hear Atticus' story. God is good! This encourages me to keep trusting and daily walking this out in faith.

Praying for their trip and family

Benny said...

Love that boy. Love your heart for him. Love God's heart for you both, and both of your hearts for Him.