That precious face is my pride and joy.
That little two-year-old makes me alternately want to scream in frustration and yet also in exultation at his accomplishments. He makes me laugh, and I shed tears over him often. I spend much of my time thinking about his character, his integrity, his heart, his future, his needs, his happiness, and his hurts.
I also spend a lot of time thinking about how he could lose his father.
And I just can't imagine what it would be like to grow up like that. I had both of my parents - still do. All of my friends growing up were children of two-parent families. I have no frame of reference for what it is like to be raised as the only child of a single parent. And to suffer the excruciating loss of a parent at an early age...no, I cannot identify with that whatsoever.
You see, I have come to a certain level of acceptance of what the possibility of Ryan's death could mean for me. I know in my head - no matter what is ahead of me tomorrow, I will have abounding grace to tackle it. Whether that is the weariness of being a cancer caretaker for many, many years, or the heartache of burying the love of my life - I know that somehow, some way - I will endure that.
But the thing is, I am in my late twenties. I have been a Christian long enough and I have been in this situation long enough to know that God will sustain me through any pain that might be in store.
But that sweet boy that is pictured above - he doesn't know that yet.
And likely, I will be one of the major people in his life to introduce him to this concept of contentment despite heartache, and commitment to God through any circumstances.
Gulp. No pressure, ya know?
Ultimately, I'm afraid for my son and his future. I'm afraid he might grow up bitter if he loses his dad. I'm afraid that he will always feel an aching and a profound sense of loss that no male relative or family friend will ever be able to begin to ease. And I'm afraid for myself - how would I ever provide for my son's emotional and spiritual needs? What if I fail my son?
What if I fail my husband and his expectations for our son's upbringing?
"God is an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5
As much as my head can start spinning when I consider all of the possible outcomes and all of my shortcomings as a mother (and a person in general), I have to just stop. STOP.
My God is sufficient. For me. For my husband. For my son.
And - deep breath - no matter what is in store, God is going to support me (us), hold me (us) upright, gird me (us), and defend me (us).
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Thank you, God, for being enough for me. For Ryan. For Colton.
Thank you for protecting all three of us. And I know you will continue to, no matter what lies ahead.