Perfect Love…

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. Because perfect love drives out fear.

God entrusted me to raise my son Jayden, as he did all four of my children. But with Jayden, it was different. I am not his birth mom. The full account is for another time, it is a long and detailed story that is really his to share, not mine. But, I will say it is an amazing tale of God’s grace and plan for my family.

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However, for these purposes, I will only share a snippet. When Jayden was 8 months old we spent 6 agonizing weeks not knowing where he was. His birth mom had taken him after the court awarded us full custody, and we had no idea where she was. It was horrifying. The fear was constant, and my mind could not rest. The “what-ifs” consumed us. She was from Brazil and had family in Italy. We had finally come to a place of accepting that she had taken him out of the country and that we would never see him again, and that the few months we had with him would be the only memories we ever made.

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One morning my husband, Dean woke up and something had come over him. We were getting little help from authorities, we were exhausted, frustrated, but he had an energy I had not seen in weeks. He said, “Stacey, we are getting our son back”. We had nothing to lose. We drove from our home in Abilene to Dallas where she had been living. We stayed with family for the weekend while we tirelessly made phone calls to her friends, acquaintances, and relatives.

Dean went door to door at her apartment complex and drove up and down the streets pleading with strangers for any information. After feeling helpless for weeks, we suddenly felt empowered; we were going to do something besides just sit and wait.

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The fear was gone.

The strength and answers we had prayed for finally surfaced.

Furthermore… it worked.

 

The grandmother, fearing her daughter’s demise and possible prison time, finally fessed up that she had our son. Within an hour of her confession, we were meeting at a local restaurant parking lot to retrieve our baby boy. We came only armed with the court order stating our right to custody. We did not call authorities. We trusted it would be enough. We cried all the way there, breaking the speed limit and possibly some traffic signs, praying this was really going to be the reunion we had anticipated.

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And it was.

Jayden leaped into my arms as soon as we came near. He was filthy. He was dressed in a dirty diaper and an unfit shirt. He had a sticky face, a violent diaper rash, and rotavirus.

But he was back in my arms.

family

We buckled him in his seat and sped home to Abilene, stopping half way when we felt a safe distance, to snuggle him, have a good cry, and to thank God for bringing him home. After peas and carrots for dinner and a warm lavender bubble bath, he slept between us. He held onto my shirt the entire night.

Flash forward 15 years. Jayden is a delight. I have raised him as my own, no different from the 3 children I carried. I cannot imagine our lives without him. We have homeschooled all of our kids for the past 6 years, and it has been wonderful and joyous, through all the ups and downs. But, now with Jayden that season looks to be coming to an end. He has been asking to attend public high school for two years. He has seemed unhappy, hard to motivate, and not himself. He has a desire to play sports that are not offered in our homeschool community, and an opportunity arose that would give him that chance. I have struggled and prayed. I have not had a peace about it, until now.

“When we let Christ rescue, He rescues. When we let Christ be powerful, He’s powerful. ”  ~ Kelly Balarie

#FearFightingBook

I have come to a place of rest in the Lord. I have come to a place of trust that I have only spoken of in the past, but have not lived. Suddenly, much like that morning when a switch turned on in Dean, a light has sparked. I have nothing to lose. I don’t believe I decided to homeschool out of fear, I had a lot of reasons for this decision. But, fear may have kept me here.  I would count it among my top five things I did not want to put into God’s hands, to relinquish control of them at all is tough.  I am not saying I am thrilled with this new season. But, just like the time that Jayden was away from me as an infant, I will not be able to see him whenever I feel the need. I will not hear his famous “yuck-yuck” chuckle in the next room. I will not see him wrestling with his little brother, making ramen noodles for breakfast with his sisters, or hitting whiffle balls in the back yard.

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Still, I will have comfort in this, the Lord is with him. He has accepted Christ as his Savior, the Holy Spirit lives in him and will guide him. I cannot live in fear of what the world will do to him or the decisions he will make. He will get hurt, he will make mistakes, he will fall. But, he is a son of the King, and he walks in His favor. I trust the Lord with this boy that He entrusted to me.

“Uncertainty may maximize your capacity for faith.”  ~ Kelly Balarie

I reflected on this thought recently during a Christmas sermon speaking about Mary, Jesus’ mother. We all hear of her obedience to God upon finding out about her scandalous pregnancy. Her belief and obedience was a gift from God and was of no power of her own. Did that trust and faith continue throughout Jesus’ life? Did she feel the tremendous burden of raising the Son of man? When he teetered on toddler’s legs did she gasp when he fell? When he walked on a wall like a tightrope or jumped from rock to rock on a river bank, as all boys do, did she scream at him and remind him of his purpose in life? When he was missing in a busy city courtyard did she allow panic and terror to creep up thinking…

“Dear God, I lost the hope of the world?”

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Honestly, I think she had her moments, she was human. And in the end, she had to endure the pain and acceptance of giving her sweet boy up, literally, to God. She watched Him as He was rejected, spat at, beaten, and killed. Right before her eyes. Few of us will ever have to test our faith as she did. But, her belief and obedience was a gift from God and was of no power of her own. All God asks of us is to believe, and that belief is a gift from HIM! So, we literally have nothing to do but receive. So, I will receive this gift of faith that God has given me. I will rest in His plan for Jayden. I will not fear, for He is with him. I can drop him off on his first day of high school in complete confidence that the Lord trusted me with him, to get him right to where he is today.

The Lord will continue to guide him and care for him, as will I. I will still be his mom. I will still be his teacher for that matter. There is tremendous freedom and rest in this trust. I will let go of fear, for there is no fear in love.

Perfect love casts out fear.

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8 thoughts on “Perfect Love…

  1. mbethany says:

    Such a huge testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness. He can absolutely wake us up from fear and resignation to lead us into His better way- just as He did when you son was an infant and as He is now with the schooling. Thanks for sharing all this. I loved the book too, and love the way you put it here- you didn’t start it out of fear, but fear may have kept you there. I can so identify with that! Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • staceyleightodd says:

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. I feel so blessed to find new friends on this journey. I had no idea how this would be received in the homeschool community. Thank you again for your comment. It means the world to me!

      Like

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