Today I’ve got a devotion running on Encouragement for Today about how God continues to challenge me to step out in faith where my children are concerned.
Since my children were little, I’ve dealt with wanting to over-protect them. I thought if I could only keep them within my sight, nothing could harm them. However, I knew that wasn’t true. Kids get hurt with the mom watching!
There was a deeper issue afoot in my fears. It was the question of who I really trusted. My mouth and my heart offered different answers. God knew this, and at each phase in my children’s development, challenged me with questions like:
Do you trust Me?
Or … do you just say you trust Me?
These questions made me explore deep parts of my heart that I didn’t want to face. I wanted to be faith-filled. But in truth, there were fear-filled places in me that drove my decisions about my children.
Thankfully, God didn’t relent. He pursued me until every doubting piece of my heart was addressed. That didn’t mean I was always confident, but at least I could deal honestly with God and myself.
As many of us are facing the start of school, I thought I would share another story, one of many, when God taught me something about trusting Him. This one was published on our devotions way back in 2008, when my son Dylan was a sophomore in high school. That same son is now a junior in college and currently in China on a 2-month mission trip (hence the devo today). Here’s a photo he sent me this weekend:
And here’s the devotion I wrote five years ago:
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
Psalm 91:11 (NIV)
I watched the weather report with heightened concern. A winter snowstorm in the White Mountains was normally great news. It meant the ski lifts would soon be open and that our dry state would benefit from moisture. Today, however, it had a more ominous meaning, for my son Dylan was in the path of the storm.
Dylan and his high school wrestling team had been at a tournament in the mountains for a few days. They were due to be leaving soon, and my concern turned to dread as I pictured those desert dwellers trying to navigate through a snowstorm. My panicked mind reviewed all the horror stories of school sports teams in vans or buses, going off the road. I pictured the curving Mogollon Rim road with blinding snow and my heart started to pound.
The ringing of the phone jarred me from my unhealthy thoughts, and I heard my son’s voice on the other end. “Mom,” he said. “We’re leaving right now to try and beat the storm.” I breathed a prayer of thanks for those coaches who cared more about the kids’ safety than finishing the tournament, but continued my worry.
Never before had I experienced such a longing to have my son safe in my arms. But that wasn’t possible. Dylan had to make that journey home in the care of others. Thankfully, in the midst of that worry, God reminded me that Dylan wasn’t just in the care of those coaches, but that He was watching over Dylan.
I’ve struggled with this issue of worry over my children’s safety since they were born. Because of my tendency to worry, I have the potential to be over-protective. However, years ago, God revealed to me that my fears were born more out of my lack of trust than a healthy concern. The truth was, I believed my children were only safe when they were in my care. The reality of this fallen world is my children are only safe in the care of God.
As school starts, and many children head off to school, sports and clubs, many of us will deal with anxiety over their safety.
Instead of being overcome with worry, I’ve learned to identify when I’ve misplaced my trust. That prompts me to pray more, trust more, and enjoy more of life with my children. By the way, my son and his wrestling team made it home safely that day. We’ll be gearing up for more out of town matches in a month or two, and I’ll be increasing my prayers.
I hope this brings you some peace today if you worry about your own children, or any loved one for that matter. God is real and He has the power to protect. I’m taking my doubting thoughts captive and choosing to trust God today. I hope you’ll join me.
And thanks for joining me on my blog. May the Lord bless you!
P.S. I did write a book for parents who long to help their children deal with life’s challenges. It’s called When Your Child is Hurting and it’s available on Kindle. Although the focus is on children, it will help hurting mommas too.