21 and 19 are the ages of my kids. Adults, yes, but in my heart they are still my babies. Just recently my daughter and I headed to Texas to work a young lives camp for teen moms. We were on the childcare crew and assigned to the 6-7 month old babies. Watching my 19-year-old daughter take care of those babies made me so proud, and it filled me excitement as I thought of her being a mom herself someday.
As the week came to an end, a storm rolled in and we found ourselves under a tornado watch that would soon turn into a warning. The camp where we were staying did not have underground shelter. As the storm grew, we were moved to an interior room of the building with the babies in our care. Others found themselves in bathrooms of the buildings where they cared for babies. One large bathroom held about 20 workers and babies.
This Washington state girl is not accustomed to tornados and to be honest it is one of my biggest fears. As I stood in that little room, with a sweet baby girl in a front pack, I became a mess of emotions. Across the room my daughter held a baby in her arms. The “what if’s” screamed in my head…What if a tornado actually touches down: should I tell her I love her just in case? Do I protect the baby in my arms or my baby? She may be an adult but she is still my baby girl.
Tears began to well up in my eyes and as I moved across the room to stand by my daughter. I wanted desperately to reach out and hug her tight, to protect her from whatever was going on outside that little room we found ourselves in. She is not one to be afraid of things and she started to tease me for being scared. What she did not understand was, I was not scared in the way she thought. I was scared because it hit me that my little girl was an adult and she would lay down her life to protect the baby in her arms if needed. I too would lay down my life to protect the baby in my arms and it was tearing into my heart to feel that I had to choose the baby in my arms over my own baby.
I started to feel my legs shake as I held in my tears and resisted the desire to hold her like she was a little girl again. Momma bear was a mess. Fear was winning and I needed to get a grip. I said out loud, “There is not fear in God”. Then, I simply said, “Jesus” a few times and peace began to come to me. I followed that up with “God, I trust you in this”. Fear loosened its grip and peace took over. In a silent prayer I asked God to protect my baby. I told him I trusted him to take care of my baby so I could be ready to take care of the baby in my arms.
I grabbed my phone to listen to worship music but the room was too loud, so we began to sing worship music ourselves. They say the center of the storm is the calmest place to be. As we waited that storm out I can say without a doubt that when you let God be the center of your storm, you will find yourself in a most peaceful place. We were off key when we sang but I know that to God we made a beautiful noise as we worshiped him and trusted him. A tornado did touch down about 25 miles from us and a home was ripped off its foundation with the family in it
I have always been one to pray and trust God but in that moment I saw the importance of it in one of the most concrete ways ever. If you are a parent, I cannot stress enough the importance of prayer for your child no matter how old they are. They will always be your babies; never stop praying for them. If you are going through your own storm as a parent, trust that God will be the calmness in the storm. Praise him in your storm and trust him with your babies no matter how old they are.
To see the story of the family who gave God the credit for keeping them safe in that real life Wizard of OZ moment, so close to where we were the night of June 12, 2014, click here.