I don’t know how I made it to work that day. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t see through all the tears. They just wouldn’t stop. They were huge and bountiful. The pain was almost unbearable. But I made the call through the pain. On the other end of the phone a woman answered who was graced to deal with the request I would soon make, “Can you come and get my kids and take them home with you for the next month?” My mother answered quickly and with as much gentleness as she could, she massaged my heart over the phone.
My family had recently moved from California to Texas to start a new life with new opportunities. We were fortunate enough to work for the same organization but quickly learned that working for the same organization was a double-edged sword. We understood the demands of what the other faced, but, more often than not, the same demands were placed on both of us at the same time. At the time we had two little girls (three years old and ten months old) sweet, beautiful girls who, up until this point, were used to one or both of us being home with them all the time, but not in this season. This season required us both to be out of the house more than we were in it.
We usually worked six days a week, but during the month of October we were required to work seven days a week, no exceptions. How could we do that and still be everything our children needed us to be? How could we do that and still have a semblance of what we valued as family time? We realized we couldn’t. We couldn’t give our own kids what they needed from us the most, our time and attention. So, as painful as it was, we decided to ask my parents, who lived in Maryland, if they would do it for us. My mom was there within days, and a few days later I was dropping her and my two babies back off at the airport for what seemed like an eternity.
The same day that I called my mother, I called my “bonus” mom (my best friend’s mom) with a second round of tears. My mother had calmed me down but, as I kept thinking about it on my drive to work, the more I worked myself up. What my “bonus” mom said to me that day has stuck with me through years and impacted me at my very core. Through my tears I told her about the pain of making the decision to send the kids to my parents and said, “It hurts.” Her reply, “It should. Anything that means something to you should hurt to let go.”
There was something about the soberness of her voice that pierced my heart. She was right. It shouldn’t be easy to let them go. It’s my job to take care of them. It’s my job to tuck them in at night. It’s my job to get up with them in the middle of the night. It’s my job to hug them and hold them and love on them. I am supposed to be the one they look to for affirmation. They are supposed to look in my eyes and feel safe. And I couldn’t do my job for them and that hurt. It hurt having to ask someone else to do all those things for me, even if that person was my mom with whom I had full confidence.
Looking back I realized something; you don’t know how strong you are until you have to prove it, and I definitely was given the opportunity to prove it. Every day that I didn’t quit my job and hop on the next plane to Maryland, I proved it. Every day that I called them and told them how much I loved them without harboring anger and resentment to the organization for me not being able to do it in person, I proved it. The Bible is so true! 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” I love how the ERV states it: “Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” I gave God 31 days to perfect His strength in me. I gave Him 31 days to show me and everyone else that grace was my daily fuel. I was weak but I was strong.