At 11 months of age, my first-born received a prescription for glasses. At 18 months of age he had eye surgery. Until he was 7 years old we patched his weak eye every day. To say I was over-protective was an understatement. I was ready to protect my boy from threats – emotional and physical.
I successfully protected Joshua to the best of my ability for years. I controlled his little world and Life was good. Two other babies joined our family, and Joshua loved his little brothers. In turn, they loved him back. In fact, they adored him for his kindness and loving nature. None of the threats I had envisioned entered our world. My confidence as a mother had increased. However, this idyllic life changed in a day. Although it wasn’t a true catastrophe, it shocked us out of the sheltered life I had created. In a word, it was “school.”
The day Joshua entered kindergarten, I came to an abrupt realization of our new reality: Joshua had moved beyond my ability to protect him. I couldn’t protect him physically. And I couldn’t protect him emotionally. For five hours a day, other children surrounded Joshua, and they didn’t love him like his little brothers and I did. A teacher oversaw his daily activities, as she also cared for 20 other children. He was on a playground without me watching. Even though it was a Christian school, Joshua spent his day with children whose parents raised them with different guidelines than we had at home.
As the truth of this new reality smeared my makeup with salty tears, I had to find another way to help Joshua. I wanted to hide my little boy so no one would ever hurt him, but I knew that wasn’t an option. As I wrestled with this desire to protect at all costs, God started speaking gently to me about trust.
God asked me a defining question for my life; one that I had to settle in my heart. It was this: Do I trust Him with the life of my children, or do I just say I do?
I love my children so much, it’s hard to imagine anyone loving them more. God was reminding me that not only does He love them more than I, but He also has the ability to protect them when I can’t. Entrusting my children to God took me to an entirely new level of faith. For me, it was where the rubber meets the road. It wasn’t enough to talk about trusting God, I actually had to do it.
So every day when I combed Joshua’s hair, dressed him in his little shorts and t-shirt and drove him to school, I prayed. Actually, it was more like a desperate begging plea: God, please protect my Joshua. Every time fear rose up in my heart, I had to (and still do today) repeat the words: I choose to trust You God. I don’t want to just say I trust You, I actually want to trust You.
Through this question, God revealed a hidden sin in my life: pride. I assumed the role of ultimate protector – a role God never meant for me. Through that role, I took God’s place in the life of my child. The truth is, I am a woefully imperfect and inadequate substitute for such a holy, perfect, and powerful Savior. When I assumed responsibility for my child’s complete protection, I was in fact training my son to look to me for answers and not God.
This school year, God is asking you the same question. Do you trust Him? Or do you just say you trust Him? They really aren’t the same thing.
I hope you’ll spend some time in prayer digging deep into this question. And it’s okay if you unearth some doubt. It’s okay if your answer reveals a serious faith deficit. At least you have a starting point. The question then is, where do you go from here?
What God has to say:
Psalm 22:4-5, In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Psalm 9: 9-10, “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.”
Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
I love that I can trust God, because I surely can’t trust myself. Specifically, I can’t trust my memory. I’m astounded at what I can forget. Please do not interrupt me as I am walking from one room to the next or I might have to retrace my steps. And the number of brilliant ideas I am CERTAIN I won’t forget … yep … gone.
So there is no way I’m going to remember teacher work days and football practice schedules. After all, I seriously can forget a weekly meeting if I’m not careful to write it down. So today’s tip is for those of us who struggle with remembering dates, times, phone numbers and email addresses. And that is to write everything down even if you think you will NEVER forget it.
For the record, I use Outlook (synced to my phone) to manage my all my contacts and appointments. One of the first things I do at the start of the school year is enter all the school holidays, half-days and breaks on my calendar. Then, I enter my children’s teachers into my email contact list. I bookmark all the school and activity websites and have them organized in a “School” folder. I also enter in weekly events even though I should remember that every Monday night is Young Life and Wednesday there is church.
I have customized the calendar on Outlook so I can see certain things at a glance. For instance, I have holidays in red, doctor’s appointments in brown, birthdays in yellow, bills to pay in blue, and my speaking engagements in purple. Plus alerts set to remind me of each.
I also keep track of most everyone’s events on my calendar. As my children have grown, this happens less each year. But it is still a VERY full calendar.
There are two key practices in making this system effective: 1) entering information before I think I’ll need it. 2) Having it all in one place. So long as I enter the information
How do you manage all the data that comes your way? I’d love to hear! Thanks so much for joining me today! See you tomorrow!
In His love,