'GIVE THEM WINGS'

WHEN OUR SON CHRISTOPHER called us to announce he'd decided to put his music studies on hold to join the US Marines, I had two reactions. First, I wasn't surprised, because it had been a lifelong dream of his. But my second reaction was a bit more skeptical. He'd just found an entirely different focus for his musical talent, and I thought, "Why would he give that up now to put his life on the line?"

As I talked with friends who'd served in the military, it became clear that the experience Christopher was about to embark on wasn't just his. It was mine as well. I heard about the nights military mothers would be awakened by a sense of immediate need to pray for their sons—instincts later confirmed by stories of life-threatening situations resolved at that moment.

Alertness and humility were crucial. A surrender and trust in God's tender care. I thought of a song by Mindy Jostyn that's resonated with me over the years and has always brought confidence and peace. It's called "Give Them Wings to Fly," and speaks of heaven-sent angels sheltering the children God has given us to love. It continues: "Far beyond the reaches of my love, I know You will be there. / Father, hear their every cry, / And give them wings to fly."

I realized I had to immediately place Christopher in his Father-Mother's care and send packing any fearful human emotion or parental role-playing. Deep-down, I knew that Christoper was "about [his] Father's business" (Luke 2:49). I knew that his motives to serve his country with courage and commitment were pure and inspired, and that I could trust his protection to divine Love. God, not human parents, would always define Christopher's life purpose. Science and Health says, "Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action" (p.454).

I also thought about David, who with pinpoint accuracy and confidence slew Goliath. He couldn't physically overpower the enemy, but his humble devotion to God was his constant source of wisdom and strength. As I prayed about Christopher's carefully considered decision, I soon felt ready to embrace whatever would bring him closer to God, and would strengthen his ability to grasp and follow his Father-Mother's lead.

Once Christopher was at boot camp, the only way we could communicate with him was through letters. But it was so refresh ing to put down the cellphone and look forward to the beautifully crafted, thoughtful letters that arrived in the mail. I cherished the early mornings I'd spend writing to him, curled up in front of the fire. Each of his letters to us began with gratitude for our supportive correspondence and inspiring ideas—the one thing he said he looked forward to.

Christopher told us how he turned to God in the "rack" each night, and found comfort and strength. How he found endurance and composure in strenuous physical and mental situations. He eagerly anticipated the Christian Science chaplain's visit each Sunday, and was helped by attending church services held by other denominations, as well. Christopher was impressed and encouraged to see so many of his Marine brothers finding God in their own way.

So I asked myself, How could I not rejoice in the foundation Christopher and God were building together? Christopher was recognizing and finding support in God's grace, in the way God's unconditional love was becoming increasingly evident in this intense, totally demanding military training experience. Christopher was making these important connections. And as I continued to pray, I realized that I, too, could experience a similar sense of dominion.

Now, when others give me a questioning look when I tell them what our son is doing, I'm unfazed. I know with such certainty that he's placed right where he's growing spiritually—and that's what matters. I feel at peace as I continue to leave him in God's care, trusting Mind's plan and Love's constant guidance to look out for him.

IN THE MARINES, OUR SON WAS IN HIS HEAVENLY FATHER-MOTHER'S CARE.

In recent months, Hymn 443 in the supplement to the Christian Science Hymnal has kept me company on many mornings in the car. To me, it's a complete blessing for our whole family, and has been a great comfort at all times as I pray to understand my place as a parent: "No child can ever stray beyond / The compass of infinitude."

I'm so grateful to be learning that when we give our children wings—when we fearlessly release them to embrace every opportunity to grow spiritually—God graciously gives them what we wish for them most: an awareness of their unbreakable, unconditional relationship with Him.

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SENTINEL WATCH
TO END PAINFUL MEMORIES
July 6, 2009
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