Letting God Have His Way In Our Lives, Especially In Difficult Times, Can Benefit The Lives Of Our Children
In 1975, songstress Diana Ross starred in the film “Mahogany,” one of the most popular songs from that soundtrack was, “Do You Know Where You’re Going To.” The lyrics, “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to, Do You Know? Do you get what you’re hoping for? When you look behind you there’s no open doors, what are you hoping for? Do you know?” Of course this song has nothing to do with parenting, but it does speak to many challenges in life, specifically, a love lost because they felt it necessary to completely separate from one another in order to chase dreams rather than chasing those dreams with their partner at their side. Like everything else in life, parenting is full of mysterious circumstances and when we do it without God, we may find ourselves asking the very same question, "Do you know?" In pregnancy we are consumed with the where, the what and the what ifs, from gender to names, and of course the fearful thoughts, what if I deliver early, what if something happens to the baby, what if something happens to me? These concerns grow throughout the years, and become greater, as it feels like your heart is literally walking outside of your body. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
When I was a child, one of the biggest ways to shut me up, when the infamous question “Where are we going?” and the one that takes the cake, “Are we there yet?” was for my mother to say “Following,” “The Backseat Follows The Front Seat,” or put me to work and make me read the map for myself. While children may be naturally inquisitive, the last thing they usually want to do is to work to figure out a question they’ve asked you. With our children, I try my best to respond as my mother did, within reason, while I do think as the adult I am here to answer some of those questions, I have learned to put the question back on them, because I want them to think critically, my mother often complained about my lack of critical thinking as I grew older. But there are those days where I hit them with a “Following” response. All of my responses are intentional, because I want them to learn to have faith, faith that I, their mother, will never put them in a situation where they have to have a legitimate concern. So through the independence they are gaining, especially in being able to question me about where they are going, they are not only learning to let me, the driver, be in charge of this trip, but also learning to trust and have faith that the one who was designed to protect them on earth, is the one who will. That is why it is necessary for me to put my faith and trust in God.
A few years ago, reading and listening to the comments of mothers who were not very pleased with their children’s father, I decided then to refrain as much as possible from using the word 'My' when it comes to talking about our children. Please believe me when I say this simple change in pronoun is not easy to master, but I felt it was necessary, because it is an extremely conscious act. It forces me to recognize the fact that I am not alone in parenting. After all my husband is very involved and my using the word ‘our’ acknowledges his responsibility in parenting, even if he was not involved, I did not create the children alone. Using the word ‘Our’ also allows me to acknowledge God in our parenting. During marriage counseling we were told that in order to have a successful marriage we need to understand our marriage is a union between God, and the two of us. For me, our whole relationship has been about Who brought us together and Who has kept us, and I must admit, that in extreme good and extreme bad times, it is the Lord Who speaks, it is His Wisdom that guides, and His faithfulness that sustains us. It is He Who allowed us to become parents after all and to not include the One Who allowed this in a relationship with our children would be a detriment to everything we hold near and dear.
When our children were babies, I learned early to let some battles go, especially when it came to my husband. They have two parents that care for them, so I shouldn't even call them battles, but rather different ways of thinking and doing things. In the early years, I would find myself fussing over they way they were changed or fed and directing my husband to do things my way, thinking I was not being as obnoxious as I was. Had he done what I did to him, I know I would be irritated and even more agitated than I was watching him change a diaper, but after a few times of him telling me, "Well here you can do it," I retreated and let him be the father he knew to be. We still have our own way of doing things and getting upset about them, but over the years we've learned that while it's okay to have our individual thoughts, every issue should not be a battle and to let go of thoughts that seem like they are headed in that direction and if we see a legitimate issue with how things are being done, lets talk through it. When we constantly feel the need to be in control and don't consult God in our parenting, we are not acknowledging His presence and His power to do beyond what we think, we place limits on an omnipotent God.
We are all human, we worry, we fret, we have anxiety, we fail and feel horribly bad at times, but we are never alone. When I took my first steps out of the hospital room where my mother took her last breath almost 18 years ago, I physically walked alone with tears that were not profuse, but present, a head held high, and a heart that did not know who to cry out to, but screamed out for the Lord. His presence kept me sane when self control was hard to grasp. Some people deny the existence of the God, they shun Him or mock Him, but when you have a relationship with Him, allow yourself to loose control in love, in fellowship, in worship, in praise, with your children by your side. Although we may question our journey from time to time and be anxious about what direction life is taking us, have faith that while the road may be rocky, the destination is glorious. Let go and let God! Let's allow ourselves to loose control and become fully immersed in Him! The stress and the need for us to feel like we have to be in control will diminish, when we let Him have His way in our lives and the lives of our children.