Over the past year my husband and I have guided our children through one drama and then another. There is no one size fits all here; the terrain is a little (or a lot) different each time. So are the travelers and their guides for that matter. We have none of us “arrived;” Nathan and I are being shepherded even as we shepherd. I love it! We don’t go this thing alone, and there are “pastures of grace”* awaiting us in His presence.
A fellow momma, and shepherd of her own little flock, and I were talking before pilates the other morning about our kiddos and the drama and the guiding and the command we gave each of our girls before they got out of the car that day, “just don’t talk to anybody today!” (Listen, sometimes after 3 times 5 school days of hearing about the same mess everyday, we just go straight to “zip it!” and “Mama loves you!”) And the great things is, we have each other, we love each other, and we love each other’s kids. After years of me trying to keep myself from sharing with other people, I am enjoying the fellowship God designed me for…good, pure, God-centered fellowship! That is a GIFT!
After chatting and laughing, someone piped up across the way with a bit of a negative outlook on drama and girls and how we may want to react in our flesh. I know these thoughts and feelings; I have an inner mama bear. Yet, this particular day I noticed that my flesh didn’t agree like it would have a few years ago. I was thankful that on that day I had a different perspective. It is a perspective born purely from being gently yet firmly corrected by Jesus and then held in His grace and love. I am so giddy really that DAD would be Emmanuel to me – with me, doing life with me, caring about these trivial daily things.
That day I realized how much I believed in our sons and daughters. I believe in them because I believe in the One Who made them for Himself and Who lives within some of our babies already. They are learning relationships, respect, trust, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, kindness, thoughtfulness… Sounds a whole lot like what I’m learning. Instead of getting discouraged, I find I am getting more excited when I see a weak area in my children. A weak area comes with a promise – His strength. A weak area is fertile ground ready for planting, watering, weeding, and, yes, GROWTH!
This change of perspective DAD shared with me has me longing to absorb it for myself. I have been trying to hide and cover weaknesses all my life. Ashamed, scared, embarrassed… It all seemed so nasty…ugly…everything I didn’t want to be. I let myself follow the lie that if I kept myself from relationships, that would be better for them and for His glory. (Interestingly, I had to help one of my children defeat that lie for their life already.) I have been a child of God choosing slavery over freedom for so long. This is not a legacy I am willing for my children to inherit from their momma. ENOUGH!
God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Romans 8, The Message
I pray we, your children, will remember that You are Emmanuel – God with us! Let us remember the great pains You took just to be with us. The whole point of salvation from our sins was so we could live day in and day out in the presence of our Holy God; we were and still are the JOY that was set before You. Let us not get discouraged by the weaknesses within us and within those around us. When we spot one, let us instead lift our hearts and minds and voices in prayer and praise. Prayer for the work and healing and strengthening to come and praise that You are all about doing it! Remind us that we are Your children and there is such promise and power in that Truth. Our lives are wrapped up in You, the Creator of the world, the Omnipotent and Omnipresent, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Father (Daddy) to the fatherless, the Hope to the hopeless, the Almighty, the Good Shepherd, and Jesus – Friend of sinners. May we greet this day and the days to come with, “What’s next, Dad?”