Life has the tendency to blindside you on a day you weren’t worrying about something or a day that is just ticking along easy peasy.
That day for me was Wednesday.
I’d worked on the yearbook, answered texts about an upcoming school trip, checked books in and out. It was an ordinary day of helping kids, joking with colleagues and making plans for the youth group that night.
It was all normal, until I came out of the hair salon with our youngest, Ellie only to find our 14-year-old Max, gone.
We had gotten into an argument on our way up to the salon which resulted in me taking his phone from him.
I had no way to find him or contact him.
I started driving circles around the building.
Praying circles around my son.
Drawing a boundary as to a line the enemy was not allowed to cross.
I checked the comic book store, a card collector shop, drove more circles.
We were in the heart of downtown and he was nowhere.
I texted Jason and said that I couldn’t find Max.
I called the hair salon and said “if he comes back, keep him there. I’m going to look for him.”
I wasn’t so much concerned that someone had hurt him.
But maybe he’d hurt himself.
You see sometimes you struggle.
Sometimes your kids struggle.
Most of the time you have no idea how to help them.
A sweet soul at the salon said, “I think you need to call the police. They have eyes everywhere.”
Soon after my call to dispatch, an Ashland Police Officer was asking me questions like “does he have any friends in Ashland? Has he done this before? What was he wearing? What’s his date of birth?
It was during this time that God flooded me with the memory of me being a fresh-faced 25-year-old and pregnant with my first child.
Literally, the most perfect pregnancy, ever.
Come time for our little porkchop to be born, and he was hanging on.
A week late and three days of trying to birth him…he just wasn’t having it.
With each contraction, his heart rate would slow to a standstill.
Finally, at 4:00 am, we prepped for the OR and an emergency C-section.
When they pulled him from my abdomen, I heard no cries, no gasps of air.
Strapped to the table, I followed the nurse with my eyes only to see a limp, gray baby being carried to the assessment table.
I bounced from my mom to my husband.
Why isn’t he crying?
When’s he going to cry?
I was frantically asking these questions and searching the room for someone to make him cry.
What felt like days later, after a good roughing up from the nurse, he finally cried and it was music to my ears.
I’m brought back to the current situation with the police officer and I flashed quickly that this was going to be our story.
Our firstborn would be the missing puzzle piece of our family and we’d forever have a hole.
I felt the courage of the Lord whisper to me, “The enemy has tried to take him since the day I gave him to you. You need to believe Me.”
Peace flooded my body because I didn’t feel so much that God was speaking to our current missing person report we were filing.
But instead He was speaking to the current emotional struggle Max is enduring.
That yes, he is currently lost, but like the good shepherd leaving the 99 to go find the 1.
That’s what Jesus does.
Kicks down walls,
Lights up shadows.
Tears down lies.
For the one.
As the minutes ticked by God dropped some more reminders.
One of a visiting guest minister, Pastor Thomas Durden, and a precious word from the Lord that he prayed over Max in January of this year. In the middle of the message, we got this…
Talk about getting your face rocked in a way only God can
We finally did find Max.
My heart and mind had been on a roller coaster that I never want to experience ever again.
There’s nothing that can prepare you to give a physical description to a police officer of your child.
It was a quiet evening, our family thankfully being back together.
Later that night as we were settling into bed and I was catching up on texts and Facebook messages, I came across one that was sent by a precious friend…THAT MORNING.
And through her obedience and prayers, God was able to prepare the way for that evening.
Now, this isn’t just about how God is good to my family.
His promises are for all of us.
I want to encourage you.
If you are struggling.
If your child is struggling.
Cling to Jesus.
Believe Him at His word.
The struggle is real.
And so is the enemy.
There is a target on your back…and it’s made of the blood of Christ.
And you are loved fiercely by the One who is able to do more than we can ever imagine.
Because you are the 1 He’s coming after.