We just came back to our condo from our first ever “Dive-In” movie. The resort where we are staying had a special showing of “Finding Nemo” shown on a big screen at the edge of the swimming pool. The kids thought it was quite unique to float around in the pool while watching one of their favorite movies. Alan and I enjoyed lazing in the beach chairs and watching our little fish and enjoying one of our favorite movies.
I had forgotten what a great message can be found in this charming movie. I can so identify with Marlin, Nemo’s father. At the beginning of the movie, he is shown to be an overly protective, somewhat neurotic father. He is so afraid of harm coming to his little fish that he prevents Nemo from experiencing much of anything. He is constantly warning Nemo of the dangers to be found in the ocean, and telling him all the things that he can’t do. Nemo finally rebels against this suffocating parenting style, and his rebellion gets him into serious danger. The movie goes on to portray Marlin’s desperate search to save his son and the lessons they both learn during their time apart.
I remember the first day we brought Molly home from the hospital. Alan and I looked at each other with a great deal of fear and trepidation upon realizing that we, alone, were now responsible for this tiny, fragile being. All of a sudden, we were the ones charged with the task of making sure this little person had food, shelter and all the emotional and spiritual nurturing necessary to grow them into a successful adult.
I remember the first time I held my son in my arms as he suffered from a serious asthma attack and as he struggled to breathe. I was filled with terror as he gasped and coughed, feeling helpless to provide his most basic need for oxygen. Many more of these nights occurred before Noah finally began to outgrow his very serious asthma.
I remember when the pediatrician came to me in the hospital and with tears in his eyes told me that my newborn daughter had a serious hole in her heart and would probably require open heart surgery a few months down the road. I looked at her perfect, tiny body and held my hand over her chest, feeling that heart beat and wondering if it would continue.
I once heard motherhood described as living forever with a part of your heart walking around outside of your chest. The fears and anxieties we struggle with as parents can paralyze us. We can be so consumed with the “what ifs” and the frightening possibilities, that we completely miss the joy and excitement of watching our children learn new things and celebrate new experiences. There came a point for me, as a new mother, where I literally fell to my knees and surrendered. I had to let go, and give God my children. They belonged to him anyway, and I had to learn to believe that He loves them best. I had to learn to trust Him with their lives, and with their futures. As hard as it was for me to accept, He loves them even more than I do, and He loves them perfectly. Psalm 112:7 became something to cling to: “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”
Does this mean I no longer worry about all those horrible things that can happen? Unfortunately, no. Just ask my children…they will probably tell you that I constantly remind them to “lock the door” when I leave, rarely let them go to the restroom alone in a public place, and am frequently heard saying, “Be careful”. It’s an ongoing process, this letting go…and it doesn’t happen easily. But I believe that, ultimately, my children belong to God, and that He has good plans for them and that they are safe in His loving care. So, I’ll try to curb my Marlin tendencies, and give them room to grow…but I will gladly cross the ocean, just as he did, if my little fishies should need me.
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