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Our Kids Will Be OK

Psalm 139:13-16

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.

One concept that is difficult for me to believe sometimes is that God loves my children more than I do. I planned for them, named them, dreamed about them before they even existed. He created them. I get the delight of discovering them, unraveling the onion of their personalities and interests as they travel from infancy to, now teenhood. I remember the joy of meeting each baby for the first time, seeing blond hair and light eyes and marveling that recessive genes won over dominant ones in two different humans.

As they have changed and matured, I get the experience of both knowing them well and meeting them over and over again. In kindergarten, my son arranged playdates with his friends so at pick up time we had to scramble to figure out if his social calendar actually fit into our plans for the day or if we would have to take a raincheck. As a teen, he has used these social skills to help establish and grow a Bible study in his middle school, proving himself to be a leader. When small, adults would tell me, "there's something about Anna," and they would be right. We couldn't define the trait, it was something like a purity of spirit and the ability to see the good in everyone and every situation. This is changing with age, transforming into a passion for social justice. I am excited to see how my children's gifts will transform as they become adults. How will they use their special powers to make the world a better place? I don't know this yet, but feel confident God does.

As a parent, I want to lead them down a pathway to their best selves. I lose sleep over decisions, knowing sometimes I need to drive them up the difficult path, ignoring the complaining and resistance because I know what they don't: the view from the top and that feeling of accomplishment will change them for the better. Other times, we take the trail downhill: easier, more joyful, providing us with the rest we need to face another day. Some of these decisions are obvious, though not always easy. Other times the nuance is overwhelming.

There is nothing nuanced about Covid. It has steamrolled over my decision-making ability as a parent and created such angst about my decisions for their lives. Parents have been asking me for my "expert opinion" about whether or not schools should open. I tell them I don't feel like much of an expert right now. Certainly, our priority should be toward opening schools over opening bars. If we are able to implement summer camps, it seems we should be able to open schools. Beyond that, it is harder to land on a universal truth. I have patients who are medically fragile or live in homes with high-risk individuals. To protect them, how could we possibly open schools safely? Then I will see a teenager contemplating suicide, whose anxiety is skyrocketing secondary to isolation. To protect them, how can we NOT send kids to school? Both of these sides of the coin are equally real. Covid is dangerous. Loneliness is dangerous. How can I possibly make decisions to protect my kids when there are no good choices?

My stress level goes up and up and up.

This is when God reminds me, in that whispering way of His, that He knit them together in my womb. He knows the number of hairs on their heads. He has already written their stories in the books of Heaven. While my perspective has changed so much over the past few months, His has not. I did not see Covid coming. He did. His path and His plans have not been changed even though mine have. Whichever plan for schooling I choose, they will be ok. If one day I allow socially distanced get-togethers and the next day it feels too dangerous, it will be ok. If they miss a year or two of education as I had planned, it will be ok. (This one is the hardest for me to trust, but I have to.) Although I cannot make plans in the midst of this chaos, He can. He did. He does. He was not caught unaware. He is the great redeemer. When the world falls apart, He gets to work lighting up the darkness and shining in ways I had also never planned for or expected. This fills me with hope when I otherwise would be hopeless. He loves my children more than I ever could and wants them to be successful in His mission. And He loves your children too. Together, by the profound grace of God, we will get through this and we will be ok.

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