ColumnsNaming Grace

I will never forget you!

I panicked while driving down Ansborough Avenue. It was 3:30 p.m. and I had told them I would be there at 2. The sky was already growing dark and I had forgotten to pick up Erik and his friend, who were ice fishing on a freezing cold day in January. For me, it was a hectic day with lots of distractions, and I had simply forgotten them. Thank God, seriously, thank God, the boys were safe and not frozen like icicles. Not a gold-star moment for this mom.

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Truth be told, I have forgotten a daughter at a play rehearsal and a son at soccer practice. Though I love them completely, I have forgotten. My heart weeps for the mothers and fathers, who have accidentally left their babies in the car, usually with disastrous, deadly, results. They had forgotten their precious cargo in the midst of a busy day. As mothers and fathers, we are simply human. We forget.

In this Sunday’s readings, the prophet Isaiah questions: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” The Gospel reflects on God’s intimate presence as never forgetting us and always providing for our needs: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” God never, ever, forgets us. Some theologians speculate that if God would forget—for even a moment—we would cease to exist.

Yet there are times we feel forgotten by the world—by God: fired from a job; diagnosed with a disease; betrayed by a loved one; a child addicted. We become heavy with worry and cry out, “Where are you God?” “Do you not care that I am hurting?” In these times, we must hold onto truth: God is mindful of us at every moment. God cares about the most intimate details of our lives. God provides our most basic needs.

Looking back on times when worry and anxiety have overwhelmed me, I realize I’m the one who had forgotten—God’s faithfulness. It’s those times, when God calls us to rest in him and to remember that if God clothes each wildflower, how much more will Jesus provide for us. If we seek first the kingdom of God today, we need not fret about tomorrow.

We name grace by speaking the truth of God’s ever-mindful presence to our children: “Even when you feel alone, Jesus is with you.” “God is always close to you. He will never forget you, even when you feel lost.” “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Jesus is with you today.”

Though I have “forgotten” my children, the truth is I carry them with me always. Whether they are living in New York City, Baltimore, Cleveland, Omaha, Kansas City or Minneapolis, they are right here, close to my heart. If I, one so human—so forgetful—so faithless—cares so deeply for each of my children, just imagine how much God, our Creator, our heavenly ­Father, cares for each of us.

Recently, when thinking about one son’s needs, I prayed: “Please don’t forget him.” I then heard, “Mary, how could I forget him, when I died for him?” Indeed. Jesus died for each of us; He will never, ever, forget any one of us—not for even a moment. Now, that’s good news.

How will you relay God’s faithfulness to your child?

How does reflecting on the beauty of the wildflowers deepen your faith?