July 23, 2021
Author: Andrea Maher
Can you imagine holding your little toddler’s hand, with his precious fingers confidently entwined in your own, and traveling to a place where you prepare to give him up to a total stranger – even if a reputable one? Can you feel the heaviness of your mother’s heart beating more rapidly as you get closer to your destination? Every step feels like you are trudging through mud. Do you second guess your decision and desire to turn around and run back to the safety of your home? You can break this vow. No one needs to know about it … oh, except the God whom you made it to.
I cannot comprehend this as a real-life scenario, but it was! And as I studied the Book of Samuel in the Bible and read of his mother Hannah, my mind ruminated on what kind of fortitude it took to carry out the ultimate, selfless act of fully surrendering a child to God.
Just some background if you’re unfamiliar with the account: Hannah couldn’t have children, and to be childless was shameful in a Middle Eastern culture that valued bearing children. Hannah, a believer, entreated the Lord in fervent prayer to grant her a child that she pledged to give back to Him in service of Eli the prophet all the days of his life. Samuel was born; vow was kept.
Have you ever bargained with God? If you do this for me, I will …. you fill in the blank. I have, and trust me, the very act is a total misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God and why it is so easy to renege on such faulty pleadings. But not Hannah. She wasn’t bargaining, she truly desired to have a son who would be dedicated to the service of God. She understood one of the hardest truths a parent will ever reconcile and that is our children are God’s first and they are just “on loan” to us.
I have grappled with this concept my entire life as a mother — especially in my younger years. I continually tried to control; to referee; to smooth over; make better — whatever. There were times I even attempted to clear paths that were cluttered with obstacles. More often than not I lived their highs and suffered their lows. And was continually surprised at the “Mamma Bear” mentality that dwelt quietly beneath my spiritual facade ready to pounce on anyone desiring to harm them. Not that some of these things are not good, it is just problematic when our hands are wrapped so tightly around our kids that we don’t allow God access. The truth is, I was pushing God out by trying to control the external and what I needed to do all along was to surrender the internal.
It took some hard knocks from God to get my attention and those shake ups quickly left me helpless and more than willing to hand those children back to Him. God’s method of nurturing is not to provide smooth sailing, He uses rough spots in life to round out the rough spots of our hearts. My reliance on Him reoriented my perspective.
I often think how difficult it is to parent children in this day and age where all the traditional institutions of support are crumbling: woke churches, broken families, and a corrupt overreaching government. I can’t imagine relinquishing my children to government schools where parent’s values are trashed and the accepted curriculums undermine race, assault their senses with sexual inuendo and laud an underlying disdain for this country. I cringe that the schools now seek to influence children’s health choices — and without parental consent — through continual propaganda and false science narratives. I am stunned that Drag Queens are invited to read to kindergarteners and that is touted as “good for little minds.” These atrocities leave parents with hard choices to make and have many scratching their heads with saddened hearts.
And that is why today more than ever we need to be more Hannah-minded. It will defy all motherly or natural instincts because we are at war with the supernatural and in a real battle for the minds of our children. We don’t have time to fret the circumstances or the times we live in, but we must press on towards a Deuteronomy 6 parenting style: These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
We need to remind ourselves and our little ones of the sovereign God we serve — and that even in all the insanity that they were created for such a time as this. We must continue to encourage them on, while we stand and push back the darkness.
Parents, the reminder is that your children were lent to you by God, so continue to pray for clarity regarding all decisions surrounding their lives. And like Hannah, be intentional to give them the tools they need to stand for truth and then surrender them from your hand to the Lord’s hand. “May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors, may He never leaves us nor forsake us” (I Kings 8:57).
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Andrea Maher is the former editor-in-chief of PARENT ABC’S a monthly magazine. Her writings have been featured in local newspapers and parenting publications nationwide. She is the author of LETTERS TO MY SON: Soley a God Story and SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief.
She is the executive director of the Be Still Foundation, a ministry that disseminates hope and encouragement to families in crisis. She has been married to her husband John for 44 years and has four children, and 10 grandchildren. https://bestillfoundation.org