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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Best First Option

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

I’ve been wearing this necklace, a birthday gift from Luke and Ali. My son told me how at first he’d resisted. Mom’s not really into jewelry. But he followed the lead of his wife. And he must have known, too, it wasn’t the bling, but the meaning, I’d cherish. The word, in Hebrew. SHALOM. And let me say this as an aside. Guys. You are wise to listen to the advice of your wives (:

Of course, if you’ve been following these posts from their Boy Mom beginning, you know. This word is our story. Shalom Story, was and is, ever unfolding.

This morning, a phone call. Felipe, from Colombia, in a bit of a pickle. He talks to Dad before I’m awake, and several times more, after. I send a text on WhatsApp. Reminding him I’m praying. Reminding him, too, of the words of wisdom I’ve already given on several occasions. Make prayer your first resort, not your last.

“Talk to your Father in heaven before you call your earthly dad.” I remember saying this from the front seat of our old Jeep, on the way to the airport last summer. Two boys taking flight for a graduation trip. Sidney was there, too, and I remember later, how she and Jimmy recounted my piece of advice.

So this morning, before my first cup of coffee, I’m on the sofa, with my husband, hand in hand. Both praying. “God. Whatever it takes. Our boy needs YOU before he needs any earthly provision.” And we pray this, too. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Jehoshaphat’s prayer, and ours, too. God showed me this in a dream, days before Felipe’s departure. Gathered with family for a Thanksgiving send-off, we’d prayed, and I’d recounted, how from the beginning, it was all we wanted. God’s Shalom for his life, and our eyes are on you.

It’s not peace the way we think of peace. It’s the peace of shalom. This Old Testament PEACE, which is not really peace at all, but wholeness. Healing. Restoration. Nothing missing, nothing broken. Am I repeating myself? Of course, I’m repeating, what choice have I got? Nothing else matters if this doesn’t happen. God gave them to us, made them our sons, for this very purpose.

And then this week, I hear something else in a sermon. How there’s this New Testament word. Greek, this time. Sozo. And it means—get this—both salvation and healing. Like physical healing and soul healing—BOTH. Which is why we pray and it’s what we’re asking. When our son is on another continent and it’s our best first option. Salvation for body and soul.

Jimmy wears it on his arm, and for Christmas Sidney’s uncle engraved it on a travel mug. Jeremiah 29:11. Plans to SHALOM you… And I’ll say it one more time. Nothing else matters. Until you are shalom-whole and sozo-saved. This one earthly life will have no meaning. Because this is God’s dream and the mission of Jesus. To make you WHOLE and HOLY.

And you may as well know this, too, my sons. All five. Your Mom and Dad pray for you as our best first option. And yes, we are truly interested in your physical well-being, but we care even more about whether or not it is well with your soul. Which is to say. Sometimes, those phone calls, first thing in the morning, are ANSWERS to prayer and not cause for worry. Because what we really want is for you to know your Heavenly Father, and we’ll take whatever it takes for you call on Him.

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