Claiming God’s Protection for My Wandering Kids
By Mimi Greenwood Knight
“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
At 24, my daughter, Molly, rarely let me help her with anything. So, when she called all in a tither one day because her debit card wouldn’t work, I was excited to jump into the role of problem solver for her. “Don’t worry, baby. Let me call the bank and figure out what’s going on.”
Just before we hung up, I asked off-handedly, “Where are you?”
“In the airport… in Russia.”
“Russia??? I thought you were in Thailand!”
“I had a long weekend.”
The thought that my child could be 6,000 miles from home, and I had no idea where, was more than a little unsettling. Over those two short years of Molly’s life, I learned more about trusting God’s protection for her than I had in the 22 that preceded. Sending her off to kindergarten, junior high, high school, and then college was mere practice for the day she announced—standing in her college cap and gown—that she was embarking on a gap year in Europe.
That “year” turned into 22 months in England, Ireland, Spain, Bulgaria, and Thailand—with at least one weekend jaunt to Russia—working as an au pair, while she experienced different world cultures, updating her father and me strictly on a need-to-know basis. Concurrently, our older son headed off to college, our younger son started high school, and our oldest announced she was moving to Mexico to teach English. Surely God had overestimated my faith, my praying abilities, and my ability not to worry every minute of every day.
I started Molly’s gap adventure asking God for scripture to call down protection over her and my other three and to calm my worrying mama’s heart. The Bible refers to God as our Shield, Fortress, Hiding Place, Keeper, Refuge, Rock, Shade, Shelter, and Stronghold. I needed Him in all those capacities for my kids. Here are some protection promises that came to mean a lot to me.
Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” (Surely, “wherever” includes Russia and Bulgaria.)
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Never! No matter what.)
Psalm 18: 2,3 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Many is the morning I called upon that Stronghold for myself, for my husband, and for each of my wandering kiddos.)
Psalm 91: 1,2, 10 -12 “No evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (No evil, Lord. No evil!)
Psalm 138:7 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me.” (Deliver them, Father.)
Isaiah 43:1-3 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Amen and Amen.)
It amazes me when I realize how little I worried during Molly’s time abroad, how I was able to lie down each night and go to sleep without running a dozen scary scenarios over in my head. She’s finally settled (for now) in Anchorage, Alaska. Her big sister appears to be putting down roots in Mexico. Baby Boy is considering colleges, and his big brother is shopping for graduate schools. Clearly, my days of praying God’s protection over my kids aren’t over. But it helps to remember that God tells us not to fear 365 times in the Bible. That’s enough to calm even this worrying mama’s heart every day of the year.