Friday, March 30, 2012

Tender Mercies

Over Spring Break, we had a great time. I always love extra time with our kids. Being with them is my favorite thing and because there are so many, we usually just hang together. But, this Spring Break, thanks to my friend (and exploring buddy), we went to Gatlinburg, TN, up in the Smokey Mountains. And it was WONDERFUL. Thank you Rebecca!

The Smokey Mountains are beautiful! We decided to take an auto tour up a mountain before sightseeing in town began. I don't know how impressed our kids were with our drive through the mountains, but I loved it. As we were headed back down the mountain, Rebecca's brakes started smoking and burning. We decided to stop and let the kids get out and run around and explore so the brakes could cool down. 

We found our way to the river and the kids got right in. It looked like a great spot. Safe for the little ones, but fun for the older ones as well. We played hard. Kids were laughing and fun was had by all.

Luke loved it. He is an adventurous kid and loves to explore. But he loves to follow his buddy Zach around even more. So, he moved closer to where Zach was. It still looked like a good spot for him, but it was what I DIDN'T see that caused my heart to completely stop a few minutes later.

Luke was playing. He had his stick. He had stripped down to his cute little Superhero underwear and was having the time of his life. Zach was a bit further out than him.....also with his stick.

 The next few seconds were a blur. I turned my head to check on the little girls, and in that few seconds, Luke had decided to go a bit further out to be with Zach. As he stepped on a rock, his foot slipped, and he fell. He grabbed the rock and tried to hold on. What I couldn't see from where I was standing, was a strong current behind the rock he had been standing on. And in a split second, I watched as this current tried to take my son. I felt so hopeless. I couldn't get to him fast enough and he was holding this rock with everything he had in his little body. He was looking at me with this panicked look and was screaming, "MOM!!!" It was one of the worst moments of my life. It makes me shake and cry again by just typing it out.

Then, in a split second, Zach came flying. I still don't know how he got to him in time, but he did. He grabbed him and didn't let go. He saved Luke that day, and I will always be grateful for him.

After we got back to the bank of the river, I sat and looked at that current. The realization of the seriousness of the situation started to sink in. If Luke had let go, if Zach had not been able to get to him in time, none of us would have been able to catch up with him. The current was so fast. And my heart was filled with a mixture of terror and complete amazement and gratitude.

I had miscalculated how safe it really was. I was not prepared. I let him go too far out of my reach. 
I had made some serious mistakes as a mom.

But, my heart was full of gratitude as I recognized the tender mercies of the Lord. I believe we were protected that day, in spite of my mistakes. I believe that Zach being in the right place was a miracle. I believe that Luke was given extra strength to hang on. I don't believe that these were just coincidences. We needed added help that day, and it was there.

I can't prove it. 
But, my heart doesn't need proof. 

We all have those unseen currents in our lives as well. Things that suck us in, things that can cause harm or damage in our lives, things that take us from other things that are more important, unexpected heartaches and trials, and things that we're not prepared for - many times due to our own weaknesses and mistakes. I'm grateful that we will always have added help when we need it. I'm grateful that we're not expected to go through this life without it.

I know that the tender mercies of the Lord are real.
I know that He is aware of each one of us, at all times.
And I know that He stands by ready to help, to save, to protect, to lift, to comfort and to guide.

I'm grateful for tender mercies. very grateful.


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