I was thinking today of one of the scariest moments in my early motherhood. Kayla was not quite 2 years old and we had been to the grocery store. We lived in a little duplex that sat at the end of a cul-de-sac in a slightly scary part of town. A huge lawn surrounded our house. We got home and I took Kayla out of her car seat and took her into the living room where she immediately started playing with her toys. As she played I unloaded the groceries, walking back and forth past her as I went from the car to the kitchen. On one trip in I noticed that Kayla wasn't in the living room. I knew I hadn't passed her outside so I looked through the house. No Kayla. It was a 5 room house and I couldn't find her. I looked in every closet, under every piece of furniture to no avail. I looked out the front door, back in the car, down the street...she was gone. I was trying my hardest not to panic as I called and called her name without response. I knew that there was no way her little tiny legs could have carried her all the down to the next cross-street in the short time she'd been missing so I was afraid someone had taken her. I circled the house, I searched the yard, all as panic welled up inside. I finally called Rick and told him she was missing and he said he was on his way. I was terrified that it was the beginning of a nightmare and since he only worked 5 minutes from the house decided to wait until he got home to call the police. I kept searching outside, in the storm drains, in the ditches, up the hill into the flowerbed...still no Kayla. Finally I noticed that the door to our house was closed when I had left it open. I opened the door and there was Kayla, playing in the living room. And that's when the control I had been fighting to keep during the 10 minutes that she had been missing evaporated. I picked her up and sobbed as she patted my back. And because we had thin walls that's when the next door neighbor finally heard me and came over. Her kids were grown and she hugged us both as I told her that I had lost Kayla and that I had been terrified because she was too precious and I needed to keep her safe etc. She just listened and then she said "Dawn, you have to give your daughter to God. You have to trust him to take care of her or you'll drive yourself crazy."
And so that's what I've done since that day--yeah right. It wasn't ever an easy thing to do, but that same feeling of panic occasionally wells up in me now that Kayla is living in Ensenada doing Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission. Someone mentions how bad things are in Mexico and I feel it creeping up. We hear of people who refuse to cross the border because of how unsafe it is and I struggle to maintain my calm. I feel that same feeling I had that day so long ago of her being too precious to ever imagine losing. I feel that same desire to hold her in my arms and force her to stay by my side so that I can keep her safe.
But the reality is that I still have to give my daughter to God. She is an amazingly precious gift that God gave to Rick and I almost 20 years ago. Not a day goes by that I'm not so thankful for her (for both of my kids). But the reality is that God loves her infinitely more than I ever could. And for her whole life we've been raising her to know and follow Christ. To listen to God's call and respond when he asks her to do something. And it would be horrible--more horrible than her being in a dangerous setting or even, God forbid, having something happen to her--if she ignored God's leading or even God's prompting in her life because of fear or my inability to trust God with my daughter. And so with fear and trembling I commit again and say, "ok, Lord, she was yours first and I give her back to you again and I trust you to take care of her." Pray for me as she follows God and learns what He wants her to do with her life. Oh yeah, and pray for her too.
Want to read more about Kayla or become part of her support team? Check out her blog at http://songbirdkayla.blogspot.com/ Oh and do you want to know where she was all those years ago when she was missing? She told us later that day that she went out into some really tall grass in a ditch and was hiding. She heard me calling, just didn't think it was important to come.