My little daughter panicked, frantically calling my name.
I had rounded the corner to take something out of the closet in our room, and she couldn't see me, didn't hear me, didn't know where I had gone.
So I popped my head out and she saw me and she ran into my arms, relieved.
And I hugged her close and touched her tiny face and reassured her little soul, "Debbie; Mama isn't going to leave you . . . "
It was one of my worst fears as a child . . that I would get lost and not be able to find my Mom in a store. That I would be left alone and not know what to do.
It happened in the library once. My Mom left me for the story-time for the first time--she was nearby, on the same floor, listening with one ear and looking at books.
But I couldn't see her and I panicked.
I didn't know that she was right around the corner.
So I started to cry and they found her . . .
And my Mama reassured me, "I'm not going to leave you; I was right here all the time."
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed in this marathon of mothering.
Where every moment is filled with little voices who need me now, who rarely let me sleep or have a minute "off."
And this is God's will for me right now--to nurture these souls that the Lord in His mercy has entrusted to me for a season.
But sometimes I get caught up in the chaos of it all, and I lose sight of the Lord, of His pillar before me and His cloud of fire by night.
I get lost in the crowd and I just can't see Him.
And I panic.
I just don't have the time that I used to to spend in uninterrupted prayer--I often have to "pray as I go," pop in a sermon tape, pull out my Bible while my children nap, and make the most of the opportunities that I've been given.
If I stay up too late at night, I have a hard time functioning the next day, especially with babies who still don't sleep through the wee hours.
And sometimes through the tiredness, through the constant "going," and picking up babies and putting them down and feeding them and praying with them and disciplining them and loving them,
I lose sight of Him.
And like my daughter, I don't know where He's gone.
So in my moment of anxiety, I call His name --
I search for Him.
And I find that He was right there the whole time.
Waiting for me to notice that I couldn't see Him for the moment, waiting for me to cry out for Him, to run into His arms in my need.
Waiting to hold me--
And to touch my face with His peace and calm and quiet and trust and tell me,
"I'm not going to leave you."