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If We Lost Them Tomorrow

She is a mom like any other. From her seat in the school auditorium, she celebrated the year-end awards with the rest of us proud and camera-happy parents. We applauded every accomplishment. We grinned through the 20-minute slideshow. We reflected on how much our children have grown.

What would today look like if it was our last with our sweet babes? What would you do differently? Sometimes, to live fully, we must keep the end in mind.

Yet when her daughter’s name was called, it was not the daughter but the son who skipped onto the stage to accept his sister’s scholarship. And the room erupted into applause—because we all knew why. Just one month earlier, the sweet girl went home to Jesus.

She was eleven years old.

And I cannot help but imagine the depth of this mother’s sorrow.

Even as I beamed at my second-grader walking across the stage, my heart ached for the fellow mom who will not see her child graduate to middle school. Who will never again feel her daughter’s hugs or tape her artwork to the wall. One day—one moment—her child was here and then in an instant she was gone.

And the weight of it still slugs me in the gut.

It could’ve been my child.

It could’ve been yours.

How would we treat our kids today if we knew we would lose them tomorrow?

It seems like a gloomy question, I know, but it begs consideration. Just today I snapped at my daughters for whipping me in the face with a T-shirt during one of their giggle-infested “laundry fights.” If I knew I would lose them tomorrow, I would’ve joined the game instead.

I scolded them for choosing not to hear my voice above the TV when I told them to turn off Odd Squad and set the table for dinner. In hindsight, I would’ve softened my tone.

I missed witnessing my daughter’s best cartwheel in the yard because my nose was stuck to my iPhone. Tomorrow I would sorely wish I’d opened my eyes.

So the real question is—why should the last day be any different from the middle?

Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. (Psalm 39:4–5, NIV)

If we would make different choices knowing it was our last chance to show our children how very much we love them, then shouldn’t those choices also prevail on a daily basis? Our job as parents is to build a legacy of love and faith. That doesn’t happen in a day. It happens day by day by day by day. Every day. Today.

We can choose to live today like it matters for tomorrow. That requires some self-examination. Is God on the throne of our hearts, first and foremost? Are we pointing our children to him in the everyday scenery of family life? Are we delivering more hugs than hollering, more grace than grief, and more attention than distraction?

Are we seeing these little people for who they are—gifts from the Lord who deserve to be cherished, nurtured, and enjoyed?

It shouldn’t take a life or death moment to remind us.

Let’s start today—loving our kids like there is no tomorrow.


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  1. Hi Becky,

    You post is timely in a strange way. My family is working through the grief of saying goodbye to three precious little foster boys who have lived with us for almost 18 months. We have always treated them as our own biological and adopted children and this is the first time as foster parents that we are preparing to say goodbye. It is difficult for many reasons that we can’t and won’t post publicly but this does feel like a death of a different sort, and you are right that it makes us hold them tighter, play harder, and thank God for our three other children who will always be ours. What a hard road God calls parents of all sorts to. God bless.

    1. Thom, my heart aches for your family. I’m reminded how God gives and takes away, yet he is good through all of it. I’m honored for the chance to pray for these three boys. They are the Lord’s. God bless you for embracing them and showing them what a loving family looks like.

  2. Thanks for the reminder to love my kids each day as if it was my last with them. So often I am yelling and getting upset when I should be enjoy the gifts that God has given me. Thank you for sharing this I will be sure to pass it along

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