Approaching the crosswalk, I turn to Jack and say, “Hold my hand, baby.”
“Why do I need to hold your hand?” he asks.
“Because we have to cross the street to get to the church,” I reply.
“Ok,” he says and places his small hand in mine.
We cross the street and make our way over to the church, nestled in the heart of our neighborhood.
“Alright, sweetheart, are you ready?” I ask.
“Yes,” he answers.
I open the door for him and we are greeted by kind smiles. I grab a bulletin, cross myself with Holy Water, and enter the sanctuary with his hand still in mine.
We choose the back row, which is empty and inviting. Jack’s eyes grow wide as we sit down and he hears singing. “Where is that coming from, mommy!” he half asks, half announces.
“From the choir loft, sweetie. See?” I point above, “That is where they sing. And we join them down here.”
He sits back, amazed, and begins singing his own words to the music, harmonizing with the voices we cannot see.
I pick up a missalette and rest it in his lap. I remember thumbing through the pages each week as a little girl. Feeling communion, even then, with brothers and sisters around the world who were reading and singing and worshiping Him through the very same words I held in my hands.
Jack holds the book and listens to the prayers, Scripture, and songs, and I can tell he feels it. That sense of belonging. That peace I have longed for him for years.
After the first 15 minutes of the service go by, I ask him if he is ready to leave. We are taking baby steps and I don’t want to push him too far.
He says he wants to stay, so we do. He continues to listen and look with wonder, and I can see he no longer feels overwhelmed, no longer feels frightened, no longer feels lost as he once did at church. And that the answer to dozens of prayers I have raised to the heavens for my son is unfolding before me.
After another 15 minutes, I ask him if he wants to stay or if he is ready to leave. He looks at me calmly and says, “I’m ready to leave.” So, we pack up quietly and walk out, hand in hand.
As soon as we exit the church, Jack smiles brightly and says, “I loved the singing, mommy!”
“Jack, you were a rock star,” I tell him. “Give me five!” He releases my hand for a moment to offer this shared gesture of pride, then places it back in mine again.
We cross the street together. Hearts in our hands.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him and be radiant,
and your faces may not blush for shame.
This poor one cried out and the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and he saves them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy ones;
nothing is lacking to those who fear him.
The rich grow poor and go hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
(Psalm 34: 5-11)
Questions for Reflection:
1. This Sunday was an unfolding answer to years of prayer. How might God be unfolding an answer to prayer in your life today, perhaps in ways unseen until now?
2. Motherhood is not an easy journey. It often pushes us and makes us wonder where God is in the chaos, but there are times when God’s goodness is tangible. When was a time you could taste and see His goodness?
3. What are you longing for today? Write it down and offer it up with open hands. Let your heart unfold so His answer can, too.