A Child Lost
The moon rose huge, orange, and silent in the east. Still it was cold and dark in the orchard. The dogs had been barking and I knew soon enough that it was a skunk they were messing with. That musky smell permeated the frosty air as we grabbed our coats and headed out into the night to check our cows.
One cow had been blaring an emergency alert every few minutes. Ron determined it was Hannah, our latest mama to birth a calf. Her baby, Octavia, was only two days old. What could be wrong? Coyotes? A pack of wild dogs? Maybe the calf had fallen and was hurt or had died.
In the ATV we rumbled back across to the orchard to check the pond, the ravine, and the equipment yard. You never know what predicament a cow can get herself into. Our dogs ran with us. Scout out front––living up to her name and Lola loping steadily alongside. We found Rosa and Bessie. We saw Dolly, like a black satin ghost, standing alone at the front gate. She glared into the headlights. We found Liza and Leah with their new calves, and finally the three yearling steers. But we didn’t find Hannah and her little one.
We stopped midfield and shut off the motor so we could hear the direction of Hannah’s calls. I thought she was south at the fence along the creek bank. Ron thought she might have gone to the feed yard or water trough. But her next blast came from the front orchard fence.
When we found her she was squalling at her calf who was on the other side of the fence trembling, cold, and no doubt hungry. We went through a gate to the garden and around to the calf to help her through the fence back to her mama. She ran back and forth and suddenly dived into the wires and struggled on through. She ran past her mama and off toward the creek. Hannah headed after her. We knew she would find the calf and soon have her bedded down like a fawn in the pasture grass all warm and fed and safe.
Many of us moms have children who are lost, who have strayed far from us. It is a terribly hard thing to go through. We have seen these children make some awfully bad mistakes. They want to go their own way. They want freedom. Rarely do they realize how unsafe life outside the fence is.
We must cry out to God when this happens and never give up on our babies. God knows our pain and he hears our cries for help and will come to us when we are in distress and call for Him. We cannot go through fences to get them, nor can we lift them over. We can watch and pray.
Time comes when they have to decide to follow Christ on their own. They have to decide if they will repent and come back home though the barriers and back to God. We can’t force that decision and if we give too much help we may only cause more harm.
What we can do is call out to the Lord in our distress and He will come to us. He loves our strays as much as we do, even more than we do. He understands because He has had many lost children––his own children strayed like sheep––many rebelled and ran off. Who could understand our hurt and needs more than Jesus? Who could more strongly empathize with us? He gives us peace and comfort in the dark night of our lives.
Prayer and love are our tools. The Word of God is our weapon and our comfort. We steady our hearts on the truth and we can go on in our parenting with strength and hope. We may have to back off and let go of that lost child. Still, I have come to know this, that God will search on to find that child’s heart and draw him back to Himself.
If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have
lived in the land of silence. When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your stedfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the anxious cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
(Psalm 94: 17–19 ESV)
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Elece Hollis raised seven children and now is grandma to twenty-four. She loved mothering and homemaking. She and Ron have a farm in Oklahoma where they tend an orchard of pecan trees, run a small herd of beef cows, and where Elece cooks and cans garden fresh food.