My children were ages 3, 1 and 3 months in the womb when I suddenly found myself as a single parent. I had a strong support system in the form of my family, but I knew I would need a partner “on the scene” and in my home as I raised my children. Blessedly, I knew who that Partner with a capital “P” needed to be. In Psalm 68:5 God promises to be a Father to the fatherless and I have held him to that promise and asked him to be the Father in my home these past 19 years.
I wanted to be faithful to God in raising my kids, and early on I read a book about speaking a blessing over your children each night as they went to bed. I chose the blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Every night I would put my hand on three sweet little heads and speak this blessing from the Lord over their lives. Lest you get the wrong impression, this was not always a sacred moment with a choir of angels singing back-up. There were tired days when I zipped through the blessing, and frustration-laced days when my hand was a bit more firmly placed on top of one of their precious heads. Sometimes they used the blessing as a stall tactic, asking for a repeat of the words like a child will ask for one more drink of water to delay the day’s end.
Time has passed and my children go to bed long after me these days, so the blessings at bedtime have ceased. The ritual is a sweet memory, one I pray my children cherish the way I do whenever they hear that familiar passage.
My daughter graduated from college this past month. Milestones such as these can be hard for a single parent. Your heart longs for someone to share the special moments with. I was at the Baccalaureate service, which was a beautiful time of worship held in the Susquehanna chapel. Students were there in their caps and gowns, listening to a pre-commencement challenge by the minister at the University. The service was nearing its end when I looked at a couple standing in front of me. They gazed into each other’s eyes and you could see the united pride they felt over this wonderful child they had raised together. My heart ached a bit.
But then the minister opened his mouth to say his final words. He began, “The Lord bless you and keep you” and he continued on with the familiar blessing. I felt the warm arms of my faithful life Partner surround me. His presence was so strong, I felt I could reach out and touch Him. God and I were able to celebrate together this precious daughter he had let me borrow for just a moment of her eternity. Tears filled my eyes, as they do now remembering the way my Father in Heaven loves me. Our God is so real, so present, and so personal.
God truly sees each life, each need, each celebration and each heartache. It is just one of the many reasons I will worship him every day of this life and long for the day when I can tell him I love Him...face to Glorious Face.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."