Friday, February 22, 2013
where we're safest
She's a quiet and gentle spirit, often assessing facial expressions and trying to scope out the inner thoughts of others. She's a helper by nature and in her world, people matter. A lot. She likes simplicity and enjoys the comforts of blue jeans and tennis shoes. She's my girl who leans toward perfectionism...legalism...the having to get it right. She presses in on herself to please others and perform well. She's slow to speak and slow to anger and quick to forgive. She believes in her heart that if it isn't positive it shouldn't be spoken and I know this because she lives it.
He's passionate and loud and seems to be talking at all times he's not sleeping. He is tender hearted, wearing his emotions, every one of them, for all to see. He is always saying how he feels without hesitancy. He is, without a doubt, the most loving boy I know, kissing me more times in a day than I can count. He is boy to very core of his bones and adores guns and swords and sticks and dirt.
And this is how I've changed parenting them:
She and I read Kisses From Katie before school. I try not to cry as I read allowed the words of real children covered in flies, crying in streets, orphaned. We head out, and I pray aloud as we go.
My prayers, before now, mostly consisted of safety around my children. Protecting them from bumps, bruises, struggles, and pain. Protecting their tender hearts and eyes and ears and, because I am a germaphobe, their little bodies from getting sick.
I used to care about that stuff so much.
But God's safe plan? Well, it looks different than mine. He cares less about our comforts and more about our growth. He sees the bigger picture because He created it and He's teaching me that those comforts I prayed for them...they can lead to complacency. He's teaching me to care less about that more about their growth. More about living for His plan and purpose. More about builing their lives to love and serve Him well. And, honestly, that looks a lot different than my original view of keeping them safe.
See, that usually...no...always...costs.
I remember the first real moment I realized it. The moment we brought home another little life to love on. That moment looked a lot different than I expected. There was a moment in which we thought their safety, their comfort (from a protective mom's stand point) could be compromised. In that moment, I struggled deep. All bets were off. See, I was completely torn over our call to serve other children, ultimately knowing it was our call to serve Him. Torn because it was no longer just costing me something...it could cost my children something. And that was a whole new ballgame. It wasn't what I signed up for. I remember falling to my knees, in that moment, calling out to Him. I was desperate for my Father to do something.
After all, wasn't He supposed to care about keeping them safe?
And it was in the next moment that changed a lot of other little moments for me. I remember Him coming to me in the quiet of that room, just He and I, my face to the ground. Coming to me as I cried out to Him, my own Father, because I didn't know how to serve Him and be the mama He's called me to be. The mama who is supposed to protect them fully. He spoke to my in my heart what this over-protective mama needed to hear.
Would you protect them from My plan for them?
I sat there in shock and then in retrospect.
What did I believe? What was I protecting them from? What is my value of their comfortable lives?
Because if I fully believe He is good, if I fully believe His plans are best, if I fully believe He's called us to serve, isn't this ultimately for their good? Isn't it all in His plan? Is He really as concerned about their safe, comfortable lives as I was? In that moment I had a choice to make. Was I going to cover them in a false sense of safety, or was I going to show them what it means to follow Him? Was I going to believe it by living it?
Did I really believe it if I chose not to live it?
Was I going to show them that risk for His Kingdom is better than a temporary, comfortable life. In that moment He shifted my earthly eyes to His heavenly plan. In that moment, I realized He is the Father who doesn't care about comfort because He knows how comfort leads to complacency. And that's where danger really exists.
Was I, in fact, leading them to danger rather than safety?
In that moment, He helped me see my prayers, my desires as their mom, for what they really were.
And my head still to the floor, I thought about it all-had my prayers really done that? Were my priorities as their mama teaching them to risk comfort and live fully for Him, in His safe plan? Was I really more concerned about Him protecting them from hurts rather than Him pursuing their hearts...pursuing them to boldly, riskingly serve and love Him well?
I still pray safety over them. But my view of safe isn't what it once was. It's more like Psalm 91, which I now pray over them often. Out loud. Safety is when we make The Most High our dwelling.
I now encourage them, pray for them, to be risk takers. Warriors for His kingdom. I let them know that sin, like complacency, is not safe. I let them know it is worth fighting. I let them know that there is a battle, and it has been won. I let them know that they have the power of the Holy Spirit to fight sin, to fight for His truths, and that doesn't always feel safe.
We soon round the parking lot where she will next open the door to spend another day learning. She unbuckles, leans forward for a hug and kiss, and she knows now what I will say.
"Shine bright for Jesus. Be fully lit up for Him. Go in, knowing you don't go alone, and serve and love Him well."
God, may we be risk takers for Your Holy name. May we serve and love You well.