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FROM SUSAN:I am sure every one of you has read that famous, beloved, larger-than-life children's story, The Runaway Bunny. No matter where the little bunny runs, the determined and versatile mama rabbit chases it. Even if the bunny becomes a fish, the mama rabbit will become a fisherman, fishing with a carrot! The mama rabbit exemplifies steadfast love (as the Scriptures say over and over and over again, "steadfast love endures!"), and the little rabbit becomes so convinced that nothing can separate him from his mama's love, that he comes back home, embracing all that he had tried to run away from!
When I used to read that book to our kids as preschoolers, I thought of it as a sweet story of a mama's love, and I would say something like, "no matter where you go, I will always be your mommy and I will always come find you!"
Middle and High SchoolMy time chasing the bunnies now becomes primarily a spectator sport--going to harp, trumpet, piano, soccer, baseball, softball, wrestling, basketball, dance, art, ceramics classes/events/competitions. And at one point Trevor asks, "Mommy, do you love me more than all those other mommies who come watch their kids play baseball?"
I am intrigued and reply, "I can't imagine another mommy loving her kids more than I love each of you guys! But, why do you ask? "
He explains, "Cause you scream louder for me than all those mothers scream for their kids."
Like that mama rabbit, I am busy making my voice of love heard wherever my bunnies are!
CollegeWe still go to them--visiting their schools, meeting their friends, even becoming that mama rabbit to some of their friends whose parents simply let their bunnies hop away without following them.
After CollegeAnd we are still going, finding them where they are and learning to love what they love. Maybe they go to Alaska to grow in their love for beauty and for dogs....then we go to Alaska to visit! (Brian and I are here as I write with our son.)
Or maybe they end up going down a path of bad company that leads them to jail. Then we go to visit and remind them of who they are and who we are, that they are our beloved treasures with gifts from the Lord that the world needs. And we are their parents who love them and who will always love them and encourage them to live like as the treasure they are! Or maybe they are heading towards the mission field and so we go with them to visit the area of the world they are praying about moving to, and to meet those very co-laborers that they will be ministering with, like we just did with Cristi!
Or maybe what they love is playing golf, and so I go with them to learn golf, even at my age! Which is what I just did with my boys over the summer! Or maybe they are serving in a Summer Leadership Program in Florida , so I go to visit them and meet their friends and smile on their choices to use their "minas" to invest in God's eternal kingdom!
So, dear ones, what I want to leave you with is this: Our Lord Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us, and He has left us an example--to follow in His steps. We never stop being parents! Even if we have a prodigal or two who run away, our love continues in prayer and in communication often, trusting God's love to bring them back into His good and perfect plans, to complete that work He began in them. And when then are bursting forth with more dignity, determination, humility, and success than we could ever have envisioned, we praise the One who is equipping and blessing them. Ours is not to reflect the failures or successes of our children, to them or to the world. Ours is simply this: to love them.
Love them with a pursuing love that says, "Where shall you flee from my presence?"
And the answer is, nowhere! Nothing can alter or remove my love and my prayers from your life, my little runaway bunny.