In this world we certainly have trouble. But God used Moses’ choices to mold him and make him into the leader he needed to be, and he will be faithful to do the same with our children.
When I first felt God nudging me to write a contemporary story about Jochebed, Moses’ birth mother, I could not have felt more unqualified.
I’ve never given up a child.
I have no experience with crisis pregnancy or adoption or birth mothers.
Though none of my novels have been easy to write, more than ever I felt just like Moses must have when he pleaded with the Lord in Exodus 4:10:
“O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (NLT).
Still, the story would not leave my mind.
I knew I had to write it.
I researched birth mothers and read blogs and books they have written. I visited adoption agencies. I talked to adoptive mothers. I read books about crisis pregnancy. Much of what went into Before I Saw You is the result of this research.
However, the heart of Before I Saw You emerged when I realized I had more in common with Jochebed than I originally thought.
Throughout the writing and editing of the novel, we graduated and launched two of our three sons from our nest. (And the youngest graduates next year.) Oh, my heart, this is such a bittersweet season of motherhood! Gratefulness overflows from knowing they are growing up and healthy and realizing their own goals and destinations. And yet, there is a very real grieving that occurs for a mama in letting her children go.
While I’m not setting them in tarred baskets in the crocodile-infested currents of the Nile River, I am releasing them into a dark and overwhelmingly sinful world. I don’t know where each of them will land. But I know that for the Lord’s plan for their lives to be accomplished, I have to let them go.
I’ve read through Jochebed and Moses’ story numerous times in the last couple of years because of writing Before I Saw You, and the Lord has used this journey to help me realize three key things about entrusting our children to the Lord—no matter what the age or circumstance:
1. He puts exactly who they need in their path, exactly when they are needed. From Pharaoh’s daughter to Miriam, Moses landed right where he was supposed to. I’ve been amazed to see coaches and teachers, friends and supervisors come into my sons’ lives precisely when they needed those individuals the most, to provide wisdom I could not have provided them myself.
2. The Lord’s plans—not mine—are the best. I could try to steer each of my sons down the paths I think they should take, and the way they ought to take them, but only the Lord knows the situations they need to encounter and places they need to go to accomplish and fulfill the gifts for which he has created them, and for such a time as this.
3. He really does love them more than we do. It’s so hard for me to imagine, and yet the farther they fly from the nest, the more I cling to this truth.
None of this means my sons’ lives will be perfect, any more than Moses’ life was perfect. Moses made some pretty horrific choices, after all. He wandered around in the desert for forty years and didn’t even set foot in the Promised Land. We only have to watch the news to be reminded that sickness can come. Tragedy can strike. In this world we certainly have trouble. But God used Moses’ choices to mold him and make him into the leader he needed to be, and he will be faithful to do the same with our children.
Over and over again the Bible promises the Lord watches over us and our children (Isaiah 49:25; Philippians 1:6; Proverbs 22:6; Hebrews 11:1). There’s a reason Jochebed shows up in the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame.
Releasing our children takes great courage, whether you’re a birth mother surrendering her newborn, a mother putting her kindergartner on the bus on the first day of school, the mother of a high school or college senior, or facing some moment in between.
Some say motherhood is one great journey of grieving.
I say motherhood is one great journey of learning how to trust the Lord.
His faithfulness to date is all we need to provide the assurance that frees us to release our children into their own rivers, where they will find their own places to come ashore and grow and thrive.
Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells
Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.
Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer—not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.