I lost one of my children this weekend.
It was only for a couple minutes, but it seemed like a lot longer than that. And I was pretty sure we would find her as soon as I realized she was gone. We were at church and she had to be within the confines of the building. She had only been gone for a matter of seconds before I realized I couldn't see her anymore. She couldn't have gotten far.
But I can't deny that slight panic started to set in once I had circled the room for a third time with no sign of her. I knew she was somewhere close, but where was she? While one of our friends watched the other kids, Matt and I spread out to look for her. It was only a matter of minutes before he spotted her in another part of the building, happily skipping off with a childcare worker who had noticed her wandering and was taking her to the children's area until they could locate us.
It wasn't a big deal, it really wasn't. But it's always things like that - small incidents that could have been something so much bigger - that get me thinking. The "what ifs" start to set in. What if I DID lose one of my children? What if I never saw one of them again? What would our family become? What would I become?
During times like these I'm reminded of how grateful I should be. Grateful that I have four beautiful, smiling, healthy children that I was never sure I would be able to have. Grateful that I have a husband who loves me for who I am and not for who I was or could be. Grateful for a God who keeps forgiving me and teaching me. Grateful for so many things that we often take for granted in our normal and ordinary everyday lives.
So every time I feel burdened or stressed, every time I feel like the whining and crying in my house is about to drive me to the breaking point, every time I think about how it would be SO MUCH easier to have fewer kids, I'm going to remember what it felt like - even if it was just for a few minutes - to have lost something as precious as one of my children. I'll remember that a silent house would be lonely and I would be empty. I'll remember the ache I felt in my chest and the panic knotted in my throat and I will be thankful for everything He has given me.
I'll be thankful for reminders like the one I had this past weekend.