Sunday, January 6, 2013

Back to School Blues

       Both of the girls just left the house, returning to school and all of the challenges and excitement each will face this semester. As I sit thinking about our holiday season together and how quickly it flew by, I can feel the temptation to sink into self pity creeping about the edges of my thoughts. And it IS a temptation to fiddle with fire and dance with the devil.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."

     So, I have been called to believe God's words to me, and He has told me how to fill my days - with continual, thankful prayer. I am to joyfully go about the busyness of each day, to hold onto good thoughts only and not dwell in the land of negative self-talk, to not let the fire of the Holy Spirit be doused with those negative thoughts or the careless words of another, AND just stay away from the bad stuff. Stay away from situations or people that make abiding and hanging with the Lord difficult.

     When we experienced the joy of bringing a baby into the world, our first thoughts were for her protection. We willfully dedicated her to the Lord and made the commitment to teach her about God's love. With the confidence of youth, I actually thought this would be easy! I was still innocent enough to not have my eyes and ears attuned to the unimaginable dangers - bombs destroying day care centers, gun going off in schools, children having cancer, or young parents dying before seeing their babies grow up.
     Then, the unimaginable horrors began to happen in the span of my children's early years. There was the Oklahoma bombing, The Columbine Massacre, a close friend's baby having cancer, and the death of my husband's college roommate and Emily's godfather at the age of forty. My vision shifted. It shifted away from a loving God and towards my own frenzied attempts to control my children's universe. I tried to exercise Godly wisdom in all my decisions, but lots of time, even if decisions were good ones, they were driven by fear and worry. I was always dancing with the devil, and he became the dancing partner I knew best.

       I knew I was struggling, but I couldn't find the key to closing that door and entering a new one.....and this went on for a long time. I was a "Henny Penny," the childhood chicken whose sky was always in danger of falling. There is a difference between diligent, prayerful parenting and constant fear, and I frequently found myself hovering in the land of fear and worry. It was killing my joy and sapping my energy. As dear, sister-friend, Julie, once told me, "Katherine, you have your feet stuck in the mud." She knows I have never forgotten these words of wisdom, spoken into my life while sitting in her swing and overlooking the marsh mud at low tide. But, how to dig out?
      We can talk about faith without understanding how to obtain it. How do you trust and believe? Does it pierce your soul or fall down on you like a cloak? Do you work at getting it, or is it a natural outpouring of a Christian life?
     Romans 10:17 tells us, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
     So, the first place I needed to run was to the word of God. It would show me the way. I was faithful to seeking God constantly, and He is the deepest desire of my heart. But when I read, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, I had a huge shift in how I experienced faith and trust in God. I learned the importance of giving thanks for all of life - the good, the bad, the big, the little - because all of life is God's gift to me. This point of view has changed me, forever. For this I give thanks!!! (by the way, Julie also gave me this book right after it was published)

     But, back to mothering these two precious young women.....Letting go of a young adult is the scariest thing I've ever had to do. I have to trust the job I've done for the last twenty-one years. Have I said all that I needed to say and exampled the best I could be? The answer can only be no, because I haven't been perfect. God hasn't finished perfecting me yet, so how could I have been all to the girls. That is a place for the Lord only.
      Now it is their turn to want Him, to seek him, to want what is best in this life, and to prepare for when it is hard. I have tried to be a sign pointing in the right direction, but sometimes the paint job has been sloppy or the sign a little crooked. But somehow, I think I've left a strong enough trail. They know what I believe, and they know I believe in them. I've got to trust in the truth of their own journeys. As each of their paths deviate from my own, and they take off toward their future selves, I'm trying to be satisfied with cheering them on and receiving only an occasional look back. But, I know to keep my arms open wide and my knees bent deep so I can catch them in a hug when they need to be reminded that life is good.....and all of life is gift.

No comments:

Post a Comment