Friday, June 15, 2012

Didn't You Hear Me Calling You?

Psalm 17:6
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

It is a Sunday afternoon on a weekend my children are spending at their father's.  I've been housecleaning since getting home from church.  It's so much easier to accomplish when little ones aren't underfoot.

I glance at the clock.  Only four.  Good!  Daniel and Sarah won't be dropped off until five, so I have plenty of time to vacuum the upstairs bedrooms.  I am eager to get this last chore out of the way so I can start dinner.

Up the stairs, lugging the cumbersome vacuum, I go.  Plug it in.  Flip the switch.

And, the stillness gives way like a levee in a flood to the motor's deafening roar.

I tackle my bedroom first.  Pushing and pulling the Hoover over every carpet fiber.  Maneuvering around furniture.  Coaxing dirt from the corners and beneath the bed.

Done!  Finally!  I turn off the noisy engine, unplug it, and begin rolling it to the next room.

That's when I hear the sounds . . .

Faint, but incessant knocking on the kitchen door.  Muffled cries of, "Mom!  Mom!"

It can't be!  It's only 4:30!  What in the world is going on?

As if responding to a three-alarm fire, I dash down the stairs and race to the kitchen door.

The tear-streaked, terrified faces of my seven-year-old son and four-year-old daughter behind the glass window of the locked door wrench my heart in two.  Hastily, I unlock and open the door to gather them in a reassuring embrace.

"Mom," Daniel sobs, "we called and called and banged on the door.  Why didn't you hear us calling you?"

"I'm so sorry, honey," I say.  "I was upstairs vacuuming and I couldn't hear a thing.  Why did dad drop you so early without letting me know?"

"He said he had things to do," Sarah sniffles.

And, in my mind, I entertain some choice words for which I know I will need to ask forgiveness.

"Well, you're both home now, and I'm here.  Let's dry those eyes and turn the frowns upside down."

"Mom," Daniel says solemnly, wiping his face, "promise me this won't happen again."

I look right into his eyes, so earnest and pleading.  I so want to give my word that never, never would I ever let this occur twice.  But, it is beyond my control.  I can only hope and pray I'll always be there when they call.

"Daniel," I tell him, "I will do my level best."
~
Was there ever a time when your parent let you down?  When you let your child down?

Will you join me in prayer?
We are so grateful, Father, that You hear us when we cry to You and that You answer us in love.  Thank You for always being there to listen to our prayers.  We know You will never let us down.  Amen. 



35 comments:

  1. That must have been scary for your children and a distressing experience for you as well. I've never had anyone drop off my kids and leave like that but they have returned home and, under the same scenario, they've knocked and knocked and I was unable to hear. I don't blame you for saying some choice words in your head! Kudos to you that you kept it only in your head. ;)

    I think you were wise in not making any promises but just saying you'd do your best. I've learned the hard way not to make promises to my children and do the same now. There are just sometimes things that are beyond our control, circumstances changes that we can't help, and sometimes things just change.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Jessica!
      Yes, this is one memory I wish I didn't have. I can still see their anxious, worried faces like it was yesterday. Their dad dropped them because he saw my car in the drive and knew I was home; still, no excuse to leave ones that young without knowing they are safely inside.
      And, I'm glad you've learned that about kids and promises - we may have every good intention when we make them, but can't always control the outcome.
      Blessings and have a great weekend!

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  2. Oh, yes, on both counts. But the memories that pain me most are not the ones when I was let down, but rather when I let down my own children. Memories that still break my heart. Very touching post.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Galen!
      When we love our children so much, it does hurt us to the quick when we let them down. Even though I had no control over this situation here, I still felt so guilty for not hearing their little, desperate voices calling.
      Blessings and have a great weekend!

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  3. Too many times have I done this, I got home from work and my youngest had bee dropped off. He was sitting on the front porch when my eldest daughter got home, he was battered and bruised by a step mother. I let him down twice in one day that day. Like you I told him and my daughter, I would do all I could to prevent this from ever happening again.

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    1. Thank you for visiting today, Jan!
      Oh, that is so sad about your little guy being abused by his step-mother. If I live to be 100, I'll never understand why adults think it's okay to beat up a child. Abuse like this always stirs that righteous anger up in me.
      And, you did all that you could possibly do in this circumstance.
      Blessings and have a great weekend!

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  4. There were many times when I let my nieces and the kids down. It breaks my heart whenever I remember those incidents. I have learned not to make any more promises to them.

    This post has touched me so deeply Martha.

    I pray with you...

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Melissa!
      I know . . . letting children down is a terrible feeling, and we've all done so at one point or another. Glad you no longer make promises to them for that very reason.
      Thank you for praying with me, as always!
      Blessings to you!

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  5. life has most certainly brought the human out in me... and it sticks, staying with me and that horrible feeling that I've let my children down. I know on more than one occasion I have had to tell them I would try differently or like you said "try your level best". I know once in the grocery store my oldest was around 3, she had a little scare and to this day she'll say Mom do you remember when... I cringe at the thought of my children not feeling safe.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Amy!
      Oh, wow, I know those type of "cringe" memories only too well. I suppose all we can truly hope for as we raise our children is that the good memories will far outweigh the bad in the long run.
      Blessings to you!

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  6. I'm sure that I often let my children down, even today as they are full grown! Of course they are better able to cope and understand. I don't remember an incident just like this one but I bet they would if I asked... Great to know that our heavenly father is more attentive than I have sometimes been.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Lynne!
      Yes, I'm so glad, too, that our wonderful God hears our cries the first time we call. As we are only human, we do let our children, and our friends, down from time to time. So soothing and comforting to know that there is forgiveness within our reach when we do so.
      Blessings to you!

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  7. Its ur care for the kids that make u so upset as to use some choice words when u are made to let ur kids down. somewhere down the line its those who rely on us that matter more than anything. we can only give our best and no more. I remember having waited at a bus stop for two hours for my kid with no phone in hand to ask why the delay. I shouldnt have forgotten the phone, else I would have known he had already been brought home. I regret that then in a fit of pain I cursed.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jerly, for visiting today!
      Oh, I did keep those horrid words inside because I was determined not to prejudice my children against their father, no matter what I thought of him at the time. It wasn't their burden to bear.
      I'm so sorry you had to go through this ordeal at the bus stop in worry about your son. We all make mistakes and say or think things we shouldn't. That's where the love of God comes in and helps us when we are too weak or upset to help ourselves.
      Blessings to you!

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  8. I know I let my children down every day, and it hurts <3

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    1. Oh, sweetie, please don't beat yourself up over this one. I know you are going through some rough situations and can't, perhaps, be as present with them as you would like. Just hug them and tell them you love them - they just need to know this from you, and nothing more.
      Blessings to you and know I'll be keeping you in prayer.

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  9. Deeply moved by this, Martha. You inspired me to write a post.

    http://everydaygyaan.com/2012/06/never-lost/

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Corinne!
      Yes! I saw the post and left a comment. :) I'm so happy that this reflection so inspired you; your post was excellent, by the way!
      Blessings!

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  10. Martha this is so well written I could picture it in my head easily! And feel both your emotions and those of the children...you are an excellent writer.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Coleen, and for your kind compliments. I'm glad you could get a picture of what was happening and that the story came to life for you.
      Blessings!

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  11. It is really scary reading this...I had a similiar experience with my mother sometime last year and I can truly understand what your children must be feeling. I really love the way you feel the pain it caused them and say that you let them down...

    Loved reading it!

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    1. Thanks for visiting today, Me!
      This was, indeed, a scary moment for my kids and for me so many years ago. Sorry you had to go through something similar with your mother - hope all turned out alright!
      So glad you enjoyed the post. :)
      Blessings!

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  12. this is beautifully written..i can feel their pain and disappointment...can't do anything about that, but I can learn from it...thank you.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, AnnMarie, and glad this post held meaning for you. It was a tough and hard moment in my life, but God always sees us through, even when we don't know how to ask . . .
      Blessings!

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  13. Mom, I hope you know that this experience did not make you a bad parent. I don't remember this particular experience, but I do remember many times where I was scared Dad wouldn't show up for us. You were always reliable. Even though this might have been scary for me and for Daniel, it wasn't your fault. I love you.

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    1. Oh, my, Sarah, how your words set my heart at ease! I love you, too, and would never want anything to come between us. Your words of love and encouragement mean the world to me. What a blessing to have my precious child, you, tell me that I was always reliable as a parent. There is no greater gift . . .

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    2. Yep, Sarah, you commented as me! :)

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  14. I so very needed to read this story today Martha. Thank you.

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  15. Mary, thanks so much for stopping by today! I'm so happy to know this story hit the nail on the head for you.
    Blessings to you!

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  16. Of course my parents have let me down. They promised ice cream if I won a talent show. But after I won first place, I never saw the ice cream. Wonder how a child can remember something like this all her life? Oh well, it taught me to be careful not to make empty promises to my children. I've always been mindful not to disappoint - if I could help it.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Debra!
      Isn't it amazing how some childhood disappointments or let-downs last with us our entire lives? They certainly are no fun but, as you point out here, going through them can make us much more sensitive to the needs of our own children in the matter of making promises.
      Blessings to you!

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  17. I think I am guilty of giving my parents gray hair more than once. As a parent myself, I work hard not to fall down on the job, but I'm human and therefore flawed. My view on life, which includes parenthood, is to keep moving, say you're wrong when you're wrong.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Brenda! Please forgive my lateness in responding; somehow, your comment flew under the radar. :(
      I like your view on life; I learned early on to apologize to my kids when I made a mistake. It models for them that no one is perfect and helps them learn to have forgiveness when others mess up.
      Blessings to you!

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  18. I've been let down and also have let people down. It's not a good feeling either way. What a blessing it is to forgive and to learn from our mistakes and never make promises we can't keep. What a heartfelt post.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Tameka!
      It is so important to learn from our mistakes and to forgive ourselves when we mess up. We've all been let down or done that to others at some point in our lives. We are only human.
      Blessings to you!

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