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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