9.26.2012

dotMOM Part 2: RELAX

Before I even begin to record my thoughts from the weekend at the dotMOM conference, let me first say this:

If you are an older mom, with adolescent or grown kids, and find that you wish you had done things differently...I really don't want to discourage you. Please don't let the guilt brought on by the enemy make you feel like you've failed. If anything, you've done what all young moms are doing now. Learning as you go, making mistakes along the way, and thriving on God's grace and forgiveness. And in the end, your child is exactly who God created him/her to be. 

So, moms--young and old, there is no room for guilt or regret here. Only encouragement, because we all need that. And conviction, because we all need that too. 

I'll start by saying anyone who does not know Jen Hatmaker needs to get acquainted with Jen Hatmaker. Like now. Well, read this post first, then hop over to her blog. Do you ever hear someone speak or read something from an author and think to yourself, that person is so much like me! Her sense of humor/sarcasm/bluntness/no-shame-in-what-I-say is, umm, just like mine. So you can imagine that I absolutely loved hearing her speak. 

RELAX. 

That was her theme. Just relax. 

Do you ever pre-worry about a hypothetical scenario involving your family? 

{Cue finger pointing from my husband}

Here's an example, in case you are abnormal and only deal with reality. Or a man. Because they don't play the "what if" game.  

You know what I'm talking about. 
The thoughts that flood your mind every time you are on a bridge. If this bridge collapses...

First, I'll roll down the windows. While we are falling to our death, I will unbuckle my seatbelt and crawl to the back of the car and unbuckle Lily. Then, I will quickly put her in the life vest that I have hidden under her seat (which reminds me, I need to buy a lif evest to put under her seat). If we are still mid-air (you know, in case the bridge is really tall and we fall in slow motion like we do in my imagination) then I will jump out while holding her, land safely in the water and swim to shore or wait for a rescue boat. If we are already in the water, I will hold her tightly and make my escape from the car. By that time there will already be a rescue boat waiting to get us. 

It's kind of like the one time I was sitting on the emergency exit row in an airplane between my brother (16) and Brent (23). I was the 22 year old that looked too young to be sitting on that particular row. Pretty sure the minimum age requirement is 15. That's besides the point. The stewardess bent down in front of me, like I was 8, and said,

"Sweetie, I want you to be aware that you are sitting on the emergency exit row. You are not old enough to be sitting here so I was wondering if I could have you switch seats with someone who is." 

"I'm 22," I said, maybe with the attitude of an 8 year old. 

"Oh, ok. Well do you feel comfortable being responsible for the others on this plane in case of emergency?"

"Yes. Now get out of my face." Ok ok, I didn't say that last part. 

What I wanted to say is, "Look, stewardess lady, if there is an emergency on this plane and I am responsible for doing anything but spazzing out and screaming 'help me God, help me God', I will fail you. There is no age that I will ever be that will improve that outcome. I will be helpless to everyone, including myself. I will succumb to my inevitable death and die of a panic attack before anything else. So, no I do not feel comfortable sitting on this row in the event of an emergency. But in the meantime, I'm going to buckle up and hope for the best and enjoy the extra leg room." 

Whether I'm falling to my death off a bridge or out of a plane, it's just plain foolish to imagine those things happening and spend my time praying they don't. LIKE I'M GOING TO BE THINKING LOGICALLY IN THE EVENT OF A DISASTER! So what's the use in thinking logically about hypothetical scenarios that a) may never happen, and b) won't pan out quite like we prepare for it to.

It's silly to waste our time worrying about anything. And it's silly to waste our time praying for those things that we do worry about to not happen. What we need to pray is that we can overcome worry and, instead, trust the sovereignty of God over our children all day long, every minute, every second of the day. And trust that when we are in a horrible situation, we will receive the wisdom in that moment to do what's best. 

All that leads to this: when in your life have you grown the most? In times of certainty, comfort, safety? 

I don't think so. 

It's in the times of struggle, pain, sacrifice, and loss that we grow as children of God. 

Guess what? It's the same for our children. They learn the true marks of a disciple of Jesus when they are scared, out of their comfort zone, hurt, and selfless. 

Not that I desire for Lily to be scared or hurt, it's just that I desire for her to know Jesus. And the best way for that to happen is to experience suffering as Jesus did. 

So, if she gets her feelings hurt on the playground, gets a teacher she can't get along with, isn't invited to a birthday party, doesn't make the team, etc. I will hurt/cry with her. I will comfort and encourage her in light of God's word. But, I won't parent her in order to avoid struggles and failure. I won't jump to call the school when I don't like who her teacher is. I won't hunt down the parent of the child who called Lily a name on the playground and give her a piece of my mind. 

I will remind her of the life of Jesus and that putting up with the crappy stuff is part of life. Minus the word crappy...I'll substitute a more kid-friendly word. I'll teach her that we don't run from the tough stuff, instead we take it to Jesus and ask Him to give us grace as we deal with it according to His will and for His glory. I will remind her that He is FOR her and for her good. 

I agree with Jen when she said that she doesn't want to be the reason her children choose safety over courage. Amen! Instead, I want Lily to recognize God's sovereignty in her life even at this early age. I will parent with diligence, not fear. Read this post, I hope she is already figuring that out. 

What do I want for Lily? I want her to be brave and fearless. I don't want her to compare herself to others, although I know she will. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. I want her to be confident of who she is in Christ so that potentially hurtful words and awful situations will only affirm in her heart that she is engraved on the palm of His hand and she can walk with a smile on her face because she knows Who she is joyfully trying to please. 

I just want her to know Jesus. That's it. 

So, all you parents out there. Just relax. Take your worries to God and trust His sovereign grace over your children...and yourself. 


2 comments:

malyssa joy said...

Hey! You commented under my blog a while ago, and I completely forgot to get back to you! I have a terrible case of the I'll-read-it-now-and-remember-to-do-something-later syndrome. My bad. Anyways, did you say you are adopting through Lifeline from Ethiopia?? I would love to maybe meet up and talk about our adoptions. Do you have a facebook? because I am much more likely to check that than my email. I'm basically the only Malyssa Joy on fb I think. If there are others I'm probably the only one with a bajillion pictures of a baby on it. Look me up!

Camille said...

Great post! I wrote about exactly the same thing on the same day. I have several other #dotMom posts to finish, but I had to finish a grad school assignment and have ignored my poor little blog for weeks. :-( Anyway, I'm enjoying reading your take on everything. Hope you're having a good week!

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