Guard what has been entrusted to your care. 1 Timothy 6:20
My youngest is four-and-a-half years old. Now that she’s old enough to know that she shouldn’t put screwdrivers in the electrical outlets and swallow marbles, I’ve spent the past few weeks de-child-proofing the house. It’s wonderful to open drawers and cabinets and not have them catch on the latches. The pizza delivery kid is relieved that he can actually open the front door on his way out, rather than turning eight shades of red admitting that he can’t figure out the child-proof knob on the handle. Although I’m sad that our baby is growing up, I love that I can trust Jocelyn to be safe in the confines of our house.
Sometimes I step back and look at what God has entrusted to me. In these moments, not only am I humbled and awed, I am also scared senseless. It is overwhelming to think that I am responsible for these three little lives: shaping them, guiding them, and keeping them safe. I know that there’s a big bad world out there. That knowledge just increases the pressure for me to build a strong foundation for my kids that they can build upon later. Bu if that foundation is cracked, not aligned, or made of shoddy material, it will crumble under the weight of the storms and challenges they will face in the future. This line of thinking makes me want to bury my head in the sand, leave it all up to my husband, and pray that he gets it right on his own.
Then God brings me back to center. He reminds me that He has everything masterfully planned. He didn’t give me teenagers who right from utero were surfing the internet and succumbing to peer pressure. He child-proofed the first stages of my motherhood by giving me little beings that couldn’t walk or talk. They were just little bundles that needed love, food and diaper changes. This training ground might have been exhausting physically, but it was basic and straight forward.
As I worked through the different stages of my kids’ childhood, I earned my stripes and gained my confidence as a mom. It was all done by modeling other great moms, tons of prayer, and lots of trial and error. But most of my errors occurred in the confines of my house: a safe space for me to make mistakes, learn and grow. But all of that is changing now.
My oldest child, Zack, is entering middle school in the fall. I hear the transition is enormous: the volume of homework is crippling, and the social pressure to fit in and follow the crowd is intense. It feels like having a toddler in a house with no child-proofing: so many opportunities for danger if I’m not hovering and watching every move. Like this scripture passage says, I want to “guard what has been entrusted to my care.” But sometimes that can mean letting go a little, and trusting.
Just like God is willing to trust me with these two new phases, I need to extend that same trust to Jocelyn and Zack. Although their new found freedoms will be different, the principals are the same: both are taking small steps out of my realm of supervision and control. Obviously I’ll still be there, staying connected and involved as much as possible, like God will be with me. But a shift is happening that I can’t deny. The enormous relief is that I can still maintain a child-proofed world for them by praying circles hard and tight around each one of them. Then those small steps that take them further out of my protection, will place them right in the center of God’s.
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You continue to amaze me, Claire. I think I just muddled through it all. Should have had you to guide me!!!!
Au contraire, Mom!!! You did an AMAZING job raising 7 children! And you continue to be the most nurturing and loving presence in all of our lives (plus the lives of your 27 grandchildren and 5 great-grand children!!!).
I agree with Claire! Biggest Fan, you are an inspiration to us all! Claire is a product of your love, guidance and prayers.
Thank you for the kind words, Claire, and please thank Jess as well. I truly have you all fooled!!!
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Hi, Claire. I had the same starting-middle-school fears too. I hope to help you feel better by saying that it wasn’t as bad as I’d heard or expected for either of my kids. In fact, we all thought 5th grade was the worst. In trying to prepare the kids for the rigors of middle school, middle school was actually a piece of cake after 5th grade!
Deborah – I LOVE the idea that we might be experiencing the toughest year now, because it is difficult, but doable. Thanks for your optimism. It gives me such hope!
Biggest Fan, you sure did something right! I hope my kids can think as highly of me when they are adults. Claire, you are going to handle middle school just fine and so is Zack with your guidance. He knows you will always have his back and he trusts you…maybe just like God has your back.
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Thanks for your vote of confidence Pam! And I love the concept of God having my back. Between friends like you, and Him, I should be good to go! 🙂
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