My Worst Possible Fear

filed under: Miscellaneous on October 26, 2010

Birthdays are an exciting event around this house.  No matter whose birthday it is, it is cause for celebration.  When Chad and I told the kids that we were heading over to Uncle Jamie’s house for his 60th birthday, they reacted with screams of delight.

Upon arriving they were not disappointed.  There were friends and family members in abundance, and even candy dishes set out for their grazing pleasure. (they do not get candy at home!)  The backyard was huge and had big climbing trees and lots of places to play hide and seek.  The cousins ran with wild abandon and laughed until their sides hurt.

We dined on catered food and every side dish imaginable and more candy, and then the kids were off to play again.  Keeping track of them was hard, and me being in the throws of a very trying first semester didn’t make things any easier.

About two hours into the celebration, I finally sat down and chatted with family.  I figured I had told the kids the rules enough times that they knew where they could and could not go.

About fifteen minutes later, I realized I had not seen Colton.  I found Chad and asked if he knew where Colton was.  He did not.  We started looking all over… in the yard and the house and in the yard again.

Five minutes later, it started to get serious.  Colton was no where to be found.  We had searched everywhere and were going back a third and fourth time.

The party started to quiet down and I heard someone whisper, “Are they really looking for a lost child?”

I walked to the farthest corner of the yard and started to call out for Colton, but was overcome with fear.  The tears flowed, but I tried to keep my back straight and pretend I was not losing all composure.

Horrible scenarios ran though my head as if every worst possible fear of mine was being realized. 

I had lost my child. 

He was missing.

I cried out to God, “Please Lord, I cannot stand this!  I feel like I am going to burst… please Lord, I need some peace.  I need to find my baby.  Please help me to find your peace so I can think rationally and help search for Colton.”

It was then, approximately twenty minutes after we first realized he was missing, that I heard the four most precious words in the world.

“We found the boy.”

I held my breath until I saw him, and then I ran to Colton and hugged him with a fierce desperation.  I then reached for my crying baby (I think she had sensed the anxiety) and brought her into the back bedroom.  There, in that room, I sobbed like I have never sobbed before.

I cannot explain that moment of relief.  I literally shook with sobs as I held onto Audrey for dear life.

I had been totally unable to comprehend my life without Colton.  To imagine that he had been kidnapped or scared and lost or injured somewhere was an unbearable physical pain in my heart. 

Priscilla Shrirer told a similar story in her latest Bible Study*, Deeper Still.  Her child had been lost in Disney World for fifteen minutes.

Only when it was over, after she had thrown herself at the feet of our Lord in a desperate prayer, she heard a very specific message from the Holy Spirit.

It was as if God told her, “You could not bear your life without your son for fifteen minutes.”

“I gave my only son over to the enemy to be beaten and tortured and killed… all for you.”

All.  For.  You.

Her divine insight blew me away.

I had never before really put into perspective what it must have been like to send Jesus into the fallen world.

It was like I was experiencing God in a whole new way, and I was speechless and in awe of the awesome sacrifices He had made.

All for a wretched sinner like me.

I don’t know about you, but after that glimpse into the unparalleled and unconditional love God has for us, I sure want to make sure I am making choices that are making Him proud.

I want to make sure He knows how grateful I am.



*Pricilla’s story is also found here.


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  • Bethany says:

    I cannot imagine. Nor can I fathom His love. Praising Him with you that your boy is safe…and that His was not. For us.

  • Nicole says:

    Amanda, what a nightmare! And yet, what a blessing in the way you have linked such a trial to your unwavering faith. My child was once lost while in the care of another, and I think my heart did not beat for 45 full minutes. I thought he was *gone*.
    I feel blessed to call you friend and sister-in-Christ. *hugs*
    (And, no matter how important the lesson learned has been, let’s pray that ALLLLLL our kiddos never go missing again!)

  • libby says:

    wow Amanda. I have goosebumps. How horrifying. I cannot even imagine. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing this with us. So very true! I cannot even begin to fathom how God sacrificed his precious son,Jesus, for a sinner like me. You see it in a whole new light when you have children, don’t you? It sure is amazing his love for us!

  • Joy says:

    oh my. I can not imagine the feeling. Thank you for sharing this story.

  • Becki D says:

    Awesome testimony, Amanda!

  • Jackie says:

    Wow…that does put in perspective. Tears–thank you, I needed that.
    So glad your little one is okay. 🙂

  • Liz says:

    A beautiful and scary story at the same time…SO glad you found him!!

  • Crystal Whittaker Gracioso says:

    Awesome testimony Mands. God is good…and it’s amazing to stop and think of what He sacrificed when He sent His only beloved Son.
    In a side note to all of that…the gut-wrenching feeling of having your child be lost is just one of the most awful feelings in the world.
    Last week at church, I dropped off my kids and husband and had to run back home to pick up the lunch that I had carefully packed and then left on the kitchen table. By the time I got back to church, service was almost over. So I went to the nursery to drop off the lunch, potty Mason (the 2 yr old) and see how the boys were doing (my Colton, Mason and Talon are too young for junior church).
    My sweet pudgy Talon, was sitting on the nursery worker’s lap, sobbing…his face all splotchy. He was very very upset.
    Apparently, there was a miscommunication and a nursery worker was alone in the nursery when her daughter had an accident. The worker brought the children into the restroom, lined them up and proceeded to clean her child. While she wasn’t looking, Talon wandered away.
    Our church is a huge old building…it used to be a nursing home (and before that, a casino…imagine that). Talon wandered, unnoticed, down the hall, down a second hall and out to the front door where he began to cry and bang on the door.
    Joe told me later that he heard a child crying in the hallway but that it didn’t occur to him that it was OUR child. (A key difference between men and women…we know our babies cries…they don’t). Sometime later, he said, one of the women from the church got up and left the sanctuary.
    This women told me that after hearing the baby cry in the hallway, she got up to make sure everything was alright…she said something didn’t seem right and that’s why she went to check. She spotted Talon all the way down the hallway banging on the front door, crying.
    My poor sweet 17 month old was looking for me. It pains my heart to even think about it.
    Fortunately, he’s alright. He didn’t get out of the building, nobody kidnapped him, he didn’t fall into any of the restroom toilets or get into any cleaning supplies, etc.
    But just the thought of him being in the hallways…alone and scared and crying…it just makes my heart hurt. It makes me want to go grab him out of his bed right now and snuggle him.
    Can we tie tethers on them and just not ever let them out of our sight? I mean, seriously?
    So…in the end, where was your Colton all that time?

  • Reeve says:

    Oh my dear girl! Thank you for sharing that – so often those super scary moments (loosing a child that I’m babysitting – HOW on earth could I ever tell a parent that I LOST their CHILD?!) that show amazing parallels between us and
    God. Even though it was a horrible situation, thank you for sharing it with us and letting us get a peek into relationship with Him. <3

  • scatterbrain says:

    That is my worst nightmare too!! Thank God for Keeping Colton safe and for teaching you this valuable truth! My eyes filled us as I read this post. God is just so good, isn’t he? However hard w e try, we can never understand his goodness!

  • Amanda Rettke says:

    Wow Crystal!!!  That makes MY heart hurt thinking about your sweet baby!  My Colton was hiding, he had had a little accident and was embarrassed. 🙁

  • Londa says:

    Oh that is totally my worst nightmare, too. So thankful he was okay! Doesn’t it break your heart when kids hide from embarrassment. Sometimes, I have to remind our children, “There’s nothing you could ever do that would make me stop loving you.”. What an amazing comparison Priscilla gave–I love her and her heart for Jesus!
    On a total side note, we lost BOTH my grandparents at Disney when I was 5 years old. I will never forget that fear! Thankfully, we found them, sitting right where we left them–we’d somehow gotten turned around.
    Hugs those kiddos tonight! I’m off to steal one last kiss!

  • Amy's blah, blah, blog says:

    The other day I took the girls for a walk and Lilla decided it would be funny to run ahead when I was turned around picking up Anna. She, unbeknown to me, ran around the corner to where the little parking area is. I turned and she was gone. Talk about panic…anxiety…horrible thoughts. I called out for her, no answer. More panic. The sound of my then super panicked voice must have gotten to her because she came around the corner giggling. Thinking she was totally funny for fooling mama. This mama…not thinking that was so funny. We had to have a chat about the sickos in the world and why running away and hiding is not such a good idea. Scary stuff even for a few minutes.
    All that to say, I understand how you were feeling. I will never be able to understand how or why or what gracious Love the Lord has for me to have done such a thing. Indescribable.

  • Amy K says:

    Oh Amanda, this brings back vivid memories of a similar situation we had with our youngest a year and a half ago…I empathize with your mommy panic. My heart is racing just from reading your post. I am so very thankful for your Colton’s safe return to your arms…prayers of thanksgiving being lifted up.

  • Renee says:

    When a child is lost, a moms heart sinks. My kids have gotten lost in stores a few times, and it is the worst feeling, probably for both mom and the child! I’m glad Colton was found safe and sound. I hope you never have to experience that again.

  • Tammy says:

    Oh Amanda I am so glad to hear that Colton was fine. I have a story to share with you the next time I see you about missing one of my own children. It made me grieve for those parents who have lost there children to some sad catastrophy. How there hearts must break everyday. Praise and thank the Lord for all that He has done for us and still does every minute of every day!!

  • ali says:

    Oh, Amanda, praise the Lord it turned out ok! I know that fear, my 5 yr old went missing at the county fair for about 15 minutes this summer… I was terrified. Last summer our 3 yr old went missing from a large party, after what seemed like FOREVER, but was probably 15 minutes, I found her locked in our van! She had climbed in to dig for a snack, as I kept a bin of snacks under one of the seats… the crazy thing was that there was so much food and so many goodies at this party, there was no reason at all to go to the van, well, other than secrecy, and sometimes that’s a factor with our littles, kwim? Anyhoo, so glad everything worked out in each of our situations, and that perspective from the Lord is so powerful!
    (By the way, last weekend was wonderful, and I thought of you several times. I think you would have loved Relevant! Maybe next year?!)

  • Mary says:

    So scary!!! I love how you were able to turn it around and think of the life that was given for us. 🙂 Hugs to you and Colton!

  • Sarah says:

    Oh, my dear friend – I have so been there, several times. My oldest is a traveller and has gone walking in the neighbourhood a couple of times. And like you, I cried out to God. Like you, I held it together until I knew she was safe. And then I. Lost. It. Joy at knowing she was safe, Praise that God had kept her safe, Fear of what *could* have happened, and anger with myself for not keeping track of her. Big, fat, salty tears flowed in between the sobs of extreme emotion. God is so good, and I thank you for sharing this testimony – makes us all hug our kidlets a bit tighter, and cling to Him that much harder, I reckon.

  • ElizaBeth says:

    I got to experience this today. My son was not where he should have been when he should have been there, by over an hour. His phone was off(required at school)and I couldn’t reach him. He may be 16, but it didn’t stop me from having every horrible thing run through my mind. Turned out he was stuck at the school he takes Spanish at, but called as soon as he could. Just in time too, I was ready to call 911!

  • Cassie says:

    In our weakness he makes us strong. Thank God your precious one was safe. That hasn’t been happening a lot here lately. And thank God you have his word planted in your heart that you turned to Him first. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I have been wanting to email you just not sure if you have an email for the public. Just had been wanting to send you encouraging words in private.

  • Ruth says:

    Nice analogy, I never would have thought of it that way either.
    I had one of those heart drop to your tummy moments not too long ago too, although mine wasn’t quite as upsetting…
    We were at my son’s baseball practice and I had specifically told my beautiful daughter where she could and could not play at. Now mind you, she’s been coming to these baseball fields since she was three so she’s completely COMFORTABLE just wandering all over the place while I am not. I mean it is relatively safe, but… you just never know. Well I was busy watching my son practice and then I stop and look around and low and behold I am missing a daughter. How long exactly? Hmmm… I didn’t know. I searched high and low for her from one field to another for at least ten minutes. Now I am starting to panick and just as I am about to ask a friend of the family if he can help me out, here she comes from a place I said was off limits COVERED in mud. Apparently she and this other boy got the brilliant idea that they should go chase the geese in a nearby field and she slipped and fell. Yeah that was nice. What was even better was to have all eyes on me to see how I was gonna react. Let’s just say she had to stay right beside me the rest of practice and we dealt with the situation at home, because had I dealt with it then someone woulda gotten herself spanked. As it was she saw just how upset I was and apologized BIG TIME and has told me everywhere she wants to play ever since. Looks like lesson learned. Hopefully.
    Whew. Tired of my rambling yet? 🙂
    See not quite the same but kinda sorta and I can still see the parallel that other person brought to her story LOUD AND CLEAR.

  • bridget {bake at 350} says:

    Oh, Amanda! I’ve have that same experience and it is the worst, scariest experience in the world.