A couple years ago, I lost my daughter at Disneyland.
We were in a large group: six adults and four children and we all stopped to look at a fountain.
But Hope, six years old at the time, kept walking. She didn’t intentionally wander off exerting defiance or trying to be naughty. She simply kept going in the same direction we’d all been walking a few minutes before.
But I didn’t know that.
None of us knew that.
We pause. Nine of us watch the fountain: all six adults and three children.
The crowd is like an organism with everyone moving slowly in different directions (there’s so many people); I’m searching for her frantically — at six her auburn hair is elbow level with most adults. She’s too short to be spotted easily.
WHERE IS SHE?
The adults move quickly: one takes over watching the remaining children, four each take a quadrant of the compass and spread out. And I? I jump up high on the closest bench I can find and begin to yell.
And I am screaming now and
The crowd, with the basic kindness that most people share, is now helping me look. A few mothers see my pained look and I can see their empathy.
My mind, like mothers do, races through the all of the evil possibilities that can happen when a little girl is stolen. Because people take little girls and then they…
My heart is truly sinking and now I’m crying.
I’m looking for my lost child.
Here, to the left, out of the corner of my eye, I watch my husband’s teary face and the back of my daughter’s head as he carries her back to the group. He’s found her and she’s crying too.
She’s shaking and still scared and won’t tell me what happened until a few minutes after she’s stopped crying.
She just kept walking.
And I hadn’t watched her well enough.
She kept moving in the same direction, hadn’t altered her course, but we had. We’d stopped. In many ways, her getting lost, her tears, her frustration, my horror, it was all my fault.
But unlike a child who’s parents should be watching her better, we sometimes get lost too. We walk forward without paying attention to what is going on around us.
My daughter was only six. She didn’t have the life experience to be more aware. That’s what her mother is for.
But the rest of us? We know better.
We walk forward, right?
Jobs, mothering, being attentive wives, writing, reading, working on our relationships. We move forward.
Call the doctor back, pick up my daughter from school, wash the dog in the upstairs bathtub, pick up my daughter from school again, email my friend from church, email my friend from high school.
I move forward. Almost blindly.
One step moves directly in front of the last one, sometimes so much that if we look behind us all we see is a collection of footprints in a straight line. But are we so forward focused that we lose a sense of where we actually are?
It’s good (and necessary) to focus on the Goal, the end being Christ. But maybe, just maybe, I’m fooling myself when I think I’m only focusing on that. I’m thinking about then next event, the next responsibility, the next squeaky wheel that needs my attention.
But in that, how far have I strayed from the path? How far away from my good, healthy relationships have I gotten? How far AWAY from Christ have I walked in trying to walk toward Him?
And then I’m lost.
Crying, shaking by myself because by the time I really figure out I’m alone all of what is familiar to me has already gone. I’m in a crowd of things and people and I’m desperately alone.
I have to do what I imagine my six-year-old did. She stopped, she looked around for a familiar face.
And I’m sure she had to look for a few minutes. She probably called, “Mama?!”
She called, “Daddy!!!”
(I cry in prayer)
And then she waited for him to rescue her, for his face to appear in the crowd.
(I stop, I wait, and I listen for Him)
And then it did because he was as desperate to find her as she was to find him. He was running and when he found her, he caught her in his arms and was Rescue to her.
I let the Father rescue me because that is what He’s best at: finding lost things, lost people, lost hearts. I let him pick me up and bring me back to where I’m supposed to be.
by Sarah Markley, The Best Days of My LifeLeave a Comment
I like this analogy.
WOW – WOW! This is good stuff, how true! It’s amazing to see our relationship with our Father best through our relationship with our children!
I can so relate to getting ahead of Him – and expecting Him to keep up with ME – how prideful! Even if it’s serving Him – I do not tend to wait for direction before I start going my own way first. And always I have to back up and wait to be lead.
GREAT POST – thanks for sharing something all women can relate to!!
Yes…in this fast paced world, it is easy to just keep walking trying to get it all done and then feel that all aloneness because we’ve walked too far away…not stopped to talk and be with the Father. That’s when I know, I NEED to pare my schedule…finding that alone time again because that is when I begin to flourish and feel connected again…connected to the spirit that feeds my soul. Thanks for the beautiful example…another modern day parable…tears were stinging my nose by the end…it touched my heart.
Lindsey Nobles says
Ughh! That feeling of being lost or to have lost is so present in your story.
In college I lived in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I loved how you could never really get lost. You just had to look up, see the mountains, acclimate to your direction and where you are heading, and ta-da you are found.
I would love to have the strength of faith to truly let God direct me. When I’m feeling lost, to look to him and feel peace about where I am heading.
Great post. Sarah, you have a beautiful heart. A beautiful heart.
Oh wow!…did this ever hit home with me! So beautifully worded too.
Oh goodness… we lost out little one at the mall in a similar situation and seeing you put my feelings into words made me cry. However, I never thought about it as in a me/Christ way. Beautiful! thanks for the reminder of who we are suppose to be watching, and walking with!
Sarah, what an excellent question you raised here for me. How often do I find myself lost b/c I kept on the same path without looking around to make sure that it was where I wanted to be? Thank you for reminding us that our Father loves us & is looking for us, just as the parent of a young child does.
Melissa Brotherton says
Your words always connect with me. It’s like you’re watching what I’m doing and then displaying it for others. Thank you for this.
Wonderful post, Sarah. I had something similiar happen to my daughter in Disneyworld when she was about 4. Terrifying moments – so I can relate.
God bless your sweet heart!
Thank you for the encouragement and for writing from your heart! Love that picture of Father as our “Rescue” – it’s so true. And to think that He LOVES rescuing us – how powerful a Truth.
wow, sarah. i get lost by walking forward all the time. as if with blinders on my eyes, i just keep moving along. thank you for the reminder that i need to keep my eyes and my heart fixed on Him.
Same here… Most days lately I feel very lost in every aspect of life because I am always looking forward. Maybe I just need to see a path where life is headed before I feel ok with today…=)
Thanks for the reminders….
Mary Joy @ Life Interrupted says
Oh my gosh! My heart sunk when I read this article. A mother’s worst fear! You did such a wonderful job of reminding me of paying attention to where I am going in this life and not just moving forward. I really needed that today! God bless you! And I am SO glad that you found your beautiful daughter!!!
Wow Sarah.. Amazingly beautifully written. The thought of Jesus running towards me takes my breath away and makes my eyes water.
My in real life friend, Sarah, shared this song with me… It is “When God Ran” by Phillips, Craig and Dean. Check it out.
I got all teary reading this on my phone while getting a pedicure. Thank you, Sarah.
I don’t think I have ever once read something you have written without finding myself in it. Without sitting for a moment and letting your words sink in. This one was no different. Thanks for showing your perspective, friend.
the BLAH BLAH BLAHger says
I have chills…wow!
Funny…I instantly recognized the back of your dads head =)
Such a great post. I loved this – such a clever analogy.
Just Jenn says
True … we all keep walking at some point and don’t even realize it happened! Beautiful post … Just Jenn~
Mel's World with Melissa Mashburn says
Wow, Wow, Wow…your story has hit right on the mark! Thank you for sharing your heart, your story, and the message He gave you through this. Truly powerful!!!