That moment of blessing when your offspring share a story and you realise that once again, God has watched over them and protected them.
When Son#1 left home and was studying it became somewhat of a joke between us ...
Me (on the phone): "What time did you get home last night?"
Son#1: "What time were your awake and praying?"
Me: "Two o-clock [or whatever time it was]."
Son#1: "Close enough."
Since then there have been many times I've been praying and I have not learnt until afterwards (if at all since I am sure my sons don't tell me everything) how God's Hand has kept them safe and brought them back to the family fold.
I am entirely grateful. Immensely grateful. More-than-words-can-describe grateful.
Usually the stories begin with "I don't think we've told you this ..." or "You don't want to know but ..." or even (because my sons know me very well) "You're going to freak out when you hear this ..." but Son#5 had an original opening when I spoke to him last night:
Son#5: "Do you want to hear a funny story?"
Me (mother instinct kicking in): "Am I going to want to hear it?"
Son#5: "Probably not." (At least he got that right.)
He then proceeded to tell me how the previous evening he and two friends were walking to their Life Group at Church on a busy street while it was still very light (we're moving into summer here) when a car pulled over and a guy with a balaclava covering his face jumped out and demanded, "Where's my money?"
[I know, I was also wondering what kind of company my son keeps but remember that I said they were on their way to Bible Study.]
This balaclava-clad guy then proceeded to punch Friend#1 in the face, punch Friend#2 in the face, and then punch Son#5 in the head.
Me: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?" [ Just imagine Mama Bear rising up at this point. How dare anyone touch my cub!]
It appears they were too shocked/stunned/nice to respond which may have worked in their favour since it didn't turn into an outright brawl and the worse injuries are bruises and a split lip. Apparently two women stopped to help by ringing the police (I'm grateful to them too) and someone had the presence of mind to get the car's number plate (although DH seems to think that the police won't be able to do anything even with that information and witnesses). Son#5 and his friends eventually got to the Life Group, after filing a report with the police, but they didn't tell anyone why they were late because they didn't want "a fuss" (so I'm making a fuss now).
And so that moment. The one where I am once again extremely thankful for God's protection and that I wasn't answering the phone or a knock at the door to a police officer with bad news.
I wonder, though, how long it would have been before Son#5 told me if we hadn't rung last night. You see, he has only a week to go at uni before he finishes his four-year degree, and he is busy with last minute assignments and normally I wouldn't have bothered him except the previous night The Most Adorable Granddaughter#3 complained that she hadn't seen Uncle#5 in a very long time and I realised just how much I missed him too. Unlike his older brothers, he doesn't come home every month or so, and as DH told The Most Adorable Granddaughter#3, we've [almost] forgotten what he looks like.
[I had another reason for ringing. Son#5 has landed a job four hours' drive away that he starts a week after finishing uni and I wanted to make sure that he's planning on coming home for some - read all - of that time before he moves away for good. And to remind him that he will be attending his graduation and better not forget to apply!]
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you (Psalm 91:7).