I will be the first to admit that I am a control freak, especially, with my kids. Regarding them, I like things done for them my way, and I tend to think my way is best. Normally I’m right to a degree because I know them so well (though they do survive quite well when I’m not home and someone else is taking care of them), but not when it conflicts with God’s will. As my kids have gotten older I have come to realize that my control tendencies relate to fear for their wellbeing. Fear that things might not go according to how I think they should, or Fear that something may happen to my kids.
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body?”
We must allow our children to be who God created them to be or else the body of Christ will suffer. Things work best when used for their intended purpose/use. Take a hammer, sure you can pound in a nail with other objects, but it doesn’t work as well. Not only that, but it is more frustrating and time-consuming.
I have a question though, one that God has had me mulling over the past few weeks. Does our fear hold our children back from being all they were created to be? The story of Hannah and Samuel has always struck a chord with me as a mom. It’s easy to say “sure God”, “they are yours!” However, it is harder to actually give them to God like Hannah did. There are several things lately that I have pondered as God has pressed them upon my heart that I wish to discuss.
I reread in my prayer journal recently that I was scared when one of my children asked Jesus into their heart. I was worried that I did something wrong. I was terrified they would not make it to heaven and that I had given them a false sense of security. I learned that it takes more faith to trust in someone else’s salvation than it does my own. Did I have them say the right things? Were they ready? Did they totally understand or did I pressure them in some way? While those are all valid concerns, if I have truly been praying and asking for God’s guidance, and the child is clearly under conviction then I must leave the rest in His hands. Jocobed had to trust God by placing Moses in the basket, thereby placing control of her son into God’s hands. If she had kept Moses home attempting to save him herself, he would have perished. It is important to keep in mind that God is the one doing the saving, not us.
Letting Them Learn From Their Mistakes
I like my kids to get straight A’s, and look perfect to the world. Why? Because it makes me look like an exceptional parent. However, sometimes the pressure feels even greater since not only am I their parent, but also their teacher. While it is true that people do look at our kids judging them, it is not 100% true that they are a reflection of my success as a parent. For example, God is the perfect parent and does everything right, but his kids are a mess. Sometimes I don’t want my kids to mess up so they won’t have to deal with the consequences. I love it when my kids are happy, but I have had to learn to love them enough to let them be unhappy. When I focus solely on my kids acting right so that I look good or if I protect the from the consequences of their actions, they fail to learn from their mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, that is how we learn. We must allow God to teach them lessons so they will grow through the process.
Overnight Stays Away From Us
Overnight stays are an area that I struggle with constantly. While I enjoy the occasional break from my kids, I love them all to be at home tucked into their beds at the end of the night. We are very picky about where our kids stay overnight, but as they have matured I have tried to relinquish control in more supervised settings. The biggest challenge so far has been church camp. We trusted the leaders, the kids were just 3 miles down the road, but it was still a struggle to let them stay for several nights. What if they got scared? What if they were picked on? In the end, they had a BLAST and grew so much in their walk with God, and now they look forward all year to camp. However, If I had allowed my fear to hold them back, they would not have grown and made those wonderful memories.
Fast forward a few years and we will be facing our kids moving out. To be honest, I’m dreading it. It’s one thing to say that “there is nowhere safer than God’s will”… it’s another thing when your baby moves several hours away and closer to their in-laws… choosing to put themselves in harm’s way for their country… or has been called to share the gospel in the Middle East. I found it so interesting that God didn’t allow the people in several passages in the bible to go back home just to say goodbye. When Jesus called the disciples (Mark 1:17-20) they “…straightway left their nets, and followed him.” He told a mean seeking to be a disciple Luke 9:59-62, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” when he wanted to go back and say goodbye to his family first. Honestly, that always has seemed a little harsh to me. Instead, I wonder if he knows us mamas are great at using guilt trips and tears to change our children’s minds. Instead of finding a source of encouragement to follow God’s plan for their lives, they would discover discouragement and doubt from someone supposed to push them towards God. It is possible that we place too much emphasis on family and not enough on God’s will. (Luke 12:3)
Last week I read the story of Samuel coming to Jesse and asking him to bring all his sons to him so he could anoint one as king. I found it interesting that Jesse gathered all his sons except David. Jesse just took for granted that he knew God’s will for his son. I’m sure he loved his son, he just didn’t see the same potential God did. I’m not sure what made him think David wasn’t king material, but the potential was there. Then there is the story of Jacob and his son Joseph. When Joseph shared his dream with his family, Jacob laughed and got a little indignant. Even though Jacob loved Joseph more than his older children, he still did not see a mighty ruler in his son. He just saw an arrogant teenager instead of the ruler that God knew was inside. Who can blame him, how easy it would be to focus on the sass of a young teenager rather than the meaning of his dream. Take even Jesus’ parents in Luke 2:48-50. I found it amazing that even Mary and Joseph had trouble letting God work his plan through Jesus because all they saw was a child. God has a plan for each one of our kids that will blow our minds, where we see weaknesses, He sees their awesome potential. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) God is in the business of making the weak strong. He is also in the business of sanding the rough edges of spoiled teenagers, BUT FIRST WE MUST LET HIM.
So how can we surpass these enormous and valid fears?
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him:”
Showing faith by focusing on God and not our children. We can start by taking baby steps to release our control. (like maybe letting them go to camp) Finally, we must ask God to open our eyes to who HE sees when he looks at our child.
Ponder the following questions with me: