Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Watching Over Me

When my children were small and I took them to the playground to play, I would make sure I would position myself in a spot where I could see where they were at all times. If I was pushing one on a swing, I would make sure I did frequent sweeps with my eyes to watch the others. I wanted to keep them safe and watch over them. I guess I had heard just one too many horror stories of children being abducted, seemingly from right under their parents noses, that I wanted to keep mine close to me.

Knowing all this, you will probably find my story to be completely out of character, but everyone can have a lapse in judgement and that's just what I did. We had been living in Tennessee for six months or so at the time. I had been babysitting a five year old little boy, a couple of months, for one of the student's wives to make a little extra money; and it gave our boys someone to play with every day. One day she asked if the boys could go with her and her son, on the upcoming Saturday, to a place called Benton Falls on the Oocee River. I asked how long she would be gone and she said only a couple of hours. I had never been there so I believed her. I was reluctant but I rationalized with myself that I couldn't be so overprotective and she was a pastor's wife and I had to be reasonable. So I agreed that they could go.

When Saturday morning came, the boys were excited as they got ready for their adventure. She picked them up around 10:00 A.M. and said to me 'see you in a couple of hours'. I figured that being a mother of a five year old she would understand how far a five and six year old could hike so I guessed that they would be back well before 1:00 in the afternoon. But 1 o'clock came and 2 and 3. By 4 o'clock I was sick with fear and dread. I had no way of getting in touch with her and I really didn't know where the area was that she said she would be taking them. We were in a foreign country and I didn't know where my children were!

Brad came home from work around 5 and found me crying and upset. He said that maybe since her husband worked at a fast food place in town that maybe she had decided to take them there for supper. So he left to drive around Cleveland and looked in the parking lot of every fast food place there was for her car. He didn't find her. He came back home around 6 and we prayed and I cried. I had so many horrible imaginations going through my head. I thought I would never see my boys again and it was all my fault, I had let them go with someone I had only known a few months. We lived near the I-75 and I figured after that amount of time had passed she could have had them many states away. I didn't know what to do.

Finally, at 7:30 that evening she came to the door of our apartment and cheerfully said 'did you think we got lost?' I was so upset I just grabbed my boys and hugged them and vowed I'd never let them out of my sight again! She explained that they had found a small swimming hole where she let the boys go swimming for awhile and then they took another trail that looked like an interesting one to explore and the time just got away from them. My boys were sunburnt and tired and hungry. They had had a good day but they never wanted to go back because it was 'such a long walk to the falls'. She told me it had been years since she was back to the falls and she didn't realize how long of a walk it actually was. She apologized for worrying me and left us. We kissed the boys faces and hugged them to us and thanked God for watching over them when we could not.

The next year, when the boys were a little older, Brad and I took them back to the Oocee and took the walk into Benton Falls. Not only is it a long walk but just the drive to get there is a long one. When we were walking it we couldn't believe that someone would take children so young on such a long trek. I thanked God all over again for watching over the boys and protecting them and for bringing them back to us again. This woman wasn't an evil woman, she was just a foolish one. She didn't mean our boys any harm but she sure scared us.

We may not be able to have our eyes on our children all the times. There will be times when we have to let go and let God take care of them and He will! Whether it is on a trek to a waterfall or just going off to school every morning, He will watch over them. He loves your children even more than you do and He loves you too. He is watching over you and He will protect you from all harm. He never rests. He never grows weary. He doesn't take a day off. He is ever by your side and will never leave you. When you feel all alone, you're not. He's right there beside you.

"My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper....
He shall preserve your soul." Psalm 121:2-6

                                                           Benton Falls, Tennessee

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