As many of you know, a third sweet little one is growing inside of me. I’ve been meaning to write something about this third baby pretty much since I found out I was pregnant…but somehow the words haven’t come. With 28 weeks rapidly approaching on Monday, I thought that now was as good of a time as any to finally write about her. But to do that, I have to go back to the beginning…before this baby was even a possibility in our minds.
My grandma always told us girls that “men are like buses…there’s always another one coming”. During whatever current heartbreak we were going through, her words weren’t terribly comforting. Looking back, though, I realize how much truth lay in them.
My freshman year of college I was on the hunt for a man. I was lonely, my heart ached for love, and, frankly, I thought that meeting and marrying the man of my dreams was the highest goal of my life. It should come as no surprise to you that my search for a man fogged my vision and caused me to make more than a few mistakes in the boy department.
The first was a guy that didn’t even like me as more than a “friend”. In my head, however, I’d decided that he was the guy for me. I made up this fantasy world in my head where he was exactly what I was “needing”, that we would soon admit our love for each other, and that that would be the end of the story.
All I can say is I am so glad he didn’t show an interest in me. In reality, he was all wrong for me. If we’d ended up together we’d have made each other miserably unhappy. The fantasy in my head did not line up with reality, and dealing with reality would have been an unbearably hard pill to swallow.
The second was a guy who really did like me. He was a really great guy with a heart for the Lord and I liked him too. Only, I never had peace about the whole thing. Something just wasn’t right. I decided to tell him, but then reconsidered when my hunger and aching for a man tried to sway me otherwise.
In that situation, the only thing that stopped me was God. Out of the blue, I heard Him tell me two things: a very firm and resounding “NO”, and a very clear directive (and desire, strangely enough considering my former negativity) to join homeschoolalumni.org.
At the time, I wanted to fight Him. There were no other guys in my life that I was even remotely interested in. I didn’t even know how I’d meet other guys. Furthermore, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this guy. When I say he was a great guy, I really mean it! What I realize now that I didn’t know then was that he was a great guy, but he wasn’t God’s best for me (nor was I God’s best for him).
And so, with His leading ringing in my head I broke things off with this great guy, joined HSA, and clung to the words of my Grandmother. Little did I know that a month later I’d meet this other great guy named Andy Baker, or that I’d be engaged to him 9 months later.
My friend, don’t lose heart, and don’t let your hunger for a man cloud your vision like it did mine. My grandmother was right…you never know what great guy is just around the bend.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
I saw him out of the corner of my eye and my hand involuntarily tightened around that of my three-year-olds. Part of me felt bad for my reaction. Christians are supposed to love everybody, and by all accounts this was a good, upstanding man. I had no “proof” that there was anything underhanded about him…only a few strange experiences and a weird vibe I get in my stomach every time I’m around him.
Next to me, my son prattled on, telling me one thing or another, completely oblivious and innocent. It was then that I knew that I’d do anything to protect that innocence. It was then that I knew that I’d rather be overly cautious then to stifle my misgivings at the cost of that innocence.
You see, I’ve seen too much of the world. The people I know that are the most caught in darkness were once masquerading as good, upstanding citizens, from the “Christian” homeschool father and police detective who turned out to be molesting his own daughters, to the cult-like leader who preached strict morals all the while not following them himself, to the uncle raising his niece and secretly molesting her until the little girls’ plea for help from her friend fell on the ears of people who took a stand. I could go on and on. I’ve known too many wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I’ll never forget the day in college that we watched a video highlighting a few exemplary teachers from across the country. I can guarantee that everyone in that room thought something was a little odd about the way the male English teacher rubbed the back of one of his male students. I can also guarantee that every person in the room quickly pushed those thoughts aside, thinking they were just being overly sensitive. It wasn’t until the end of the video that we learned that that same teacher had later been convicted of molesting a male student, and that 18+ more former students had come forward saying that he had molested them as well. He was the Georgia teacher of the year and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and yet all the while…
Wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Don’t for a second think that being a teacher, being involved in church, being “happily” married, or seeming like a nice person means anything. Predators are smart. They want you to believe that they are nice, upstanding citizens. They want to gain your trust, so that you will let your guard down. They know that trust gives opportunity.
The struggle is real, though. I want to love everybody. I don’t want to be judgmental or unfair. I’ve learned, however, that you can still love someone without trusting them. You can still love unquestioningly without trusting undeservedly.
I hope and pray that someday when I get to heaven that God will say, “You were wrong about those people.” Yet, I also know that I would rather be overly cautious and be wrong than to stifle down misgivings only to let one of my children or any other child be an opportunity.
Be on your guard, parents. Educate your children, set boundaries, and do everything you can to prevent these wolves in sheep’s clothing from having access to hurt your children. You can’t always keep them safe, but you can do everything in your power to protect the innocence of these precious children that God has entrusted you with.
My son is one of those uncommonly sweet people. Every time I pick him up from Sunday school I hear, “Miles is so sweet!”. And then almost every night I hear our doorknob rattle and turn, followed by tiny little tiptoes across our floor. My almost-three-year-old then silently climbs into bed on my side and neatly tucks himself in next to me before drifting back to sleep. It’s hard to say no to something so heart-melting.
He’s the type of little boy who tells his mama often that she looks pretty, and you know he means it. When I was sick recently, he voluntarily would softly rub my back and say, “I’m sorry you’re not feeling good, Mommy.”
His sweetness goes beyond just loving his Mama, though. He notices peoples emotions, and it bothers him when others are upset. When we took him to see Big Hero 6 in theaters, we thought that the movie would mostly go over his head. However, by the time the credits rolled we were left with a sobbing little boy quaveringly telling us that “Baymax fell into the water!”. He may not have understood everything, but he understood that Baymax was gone (or had been), and was absolutely torn up about it.
As his mommy, I both cherish and fear his tender heart. I cherish it because it is a gift, rare in this world, especially among males. Don’t get me wrong, he’s all boy, from his ability to turn anything into a weapon to his obsession with sticks and rocks (especially the throwing of them). Yet, he has a sensitive streak in him that not every boy has.
I fear his tender heart because I am his mom and I don’t ever want to see him hurt, and yet I know the heartache that this world holds for those sweet ones. Often in the world we live in, the ability to emote and empathize is degraded and made fun of. I know that there will be times that my precious boy won’t fit in because of it. I know that there will be times that he will be misunderstood because of it. I know that watching the suffering of others will just about break him apart.
I also know that God has gifted him with this heart for a reason.
I may not know yet what that reason is, but I pray every day that God will give me the strength and wisdom to nurture this precious little heart that He has entrusted me with. I can’t wait to see the man he becomes.