Editor’s note: On April 27, 2014, a massive tornado tore through central Arkansas, leaving a devastating path of destruction in its wake. One of the homes in its path belonged to our own Kristin, MomLife Today and MomLife BootCamp prayer director. In today’s post, she shares the spiritual insights she has gained from her experience.

“What was it like for you as a mom in that room?”

Mother’s Day fell two weeks to the day after an EF4 tornado destroyed my family’s home around us as we sat in a bedroom closet that had been constructed as a safe room. Our pastor asked my husband and me to share at church about that experience, and even though the emotions and memories were still fresh and raw in many ways, we agreed. And I knew the mom question was coming, so I already knew the answer. Actually, it was one of the things I could most quickly identify following the tornado.

“The hardest part was that I couldn’t reach everyone,” I began. “We didn’t have time to organize ourselves in the closet. The pets were between us. So when the tornado hit, and the power immediately went out, I knew that on the other side of that little room, there were kids Dan [my husband] and I couldn’t reach, couldn’t touch. They were holding onto each other.”

I went on to explain that I realized what a perfect, tangible illustration this was of the spiritual reality of our lives as moms. There are many times when, and many reasons why, a child might be out of reach. A mother’s arms are only so long. “And even if my arms were long enough,” I said, “I would be foolish to think I would be strong enough to hold my child in a storm of that magnitude. It was violent. I would be no match for it.”

Sometimes no matter what we do as parents, a child seems to get farther away. Our relationship might be strained or completely severed. We are brokenhearted. We want to hold onto our children to keep them from pain and destructive decisions. We want them to love us the way we love them. Sadly we find we are not strong enough.

“But God’s arms are long enough,” I told the congregation on that day. “And they are strong enough. That’s what I learned in that safe room. While the tornado surrounded us, God was with my children that I couldn’t reach. And He held them.”

To every one of you, that is my encouragement. When your arms are too short and your strength too small, trust God to reach and hold your child.

“Kristin, would you pray for the moms here today?” our pastor concluded. As moms in need of prayer came forward, tears fell—both mine and theirs.

I want to thank all of you who prayed for me and for my family when Tracey wrote about our loss. Today, let me pray for you just as I prayed in church that Mother’s Day morning.

Lord, You are good, and everything You do is good. Your mercy is new every morning, and Your love never fails. You know every situation these moms face. You know every child who is far away. Thank You that Your arms are long enough and strong enough to reach and to hold each one. Even today, would You break down walls and begin to reconcile relationships, to call back those children who have wandered away? May this day be a turning point. Encourage every mom to trust You with her children and never to give up. In the mighty name of Jesus, our Savior, amen.