By Monica Swoboda
God begin whispering this question to me 4 years ago when I realized that I was going to have to let go of my kids. Of course I had known this all along, but the reality was beginning to hit me. They were becoming their own people. They were becoming different than me. They have different passions, drives, personalities, gifts and ways of doing things. As their mom, I know what is best for them in every circumstance, in every choice. I have many more years of wisdom, and of course my way is the best way, right?
Am I the only one who thinks that parenting is the hardest job that has ever been assigned? It is for me. Their choices keep me awake at night. Most days I am still convinced that if they would just do things my way they would be better off. Or maybe I would be better off. They are still making relatively good decisions, but as their freedoms increase, my "letting go-ness" apparently has to as well. My oldest will be driving in 3 months. He's a good kid and has been responsible with freedoms, but this is a whole new level of trust.
When God asks me, "Do you trust me with the kids?", occasionally it is a resounding YES, and He gently brings me back to a sweet surrender and reliance on Him that I know is the only way to navigate these days. I've seen His faithfulness. He loves them more than I do and He knows what is best for them. Sometimes my answer to His question is "No, I don't trust you, Lord. I want to trust you, but I don't." Often I yell this answer to Him with fists clenched and angry tears.
I remind myself of the father in Mark 9 who asks Jesus to heal his son. He tells Jesus "I beleive! Help my unbeleif!" And he had a good reason to doubt, since the disciples couldn't heal the demon-possessed son who had been repeatedly thrown into fire or water by the evil spirit intent on killing him. Surely this dad was angry at God! Maybe he was asking "Is God really good?" Jesus healed the son, but what if Jesus chose not to heal him? Can we still trust God when things don't go well with our kids? When things don't go well with relationships, health, finances, hopes and dreams?
Emilie Griffith writes:
Lent is a good time to reassess our understanding of God. If a parent or teacher has formed our idea of God as a hard taskmaster, we may need to revise our theology. Often a new sense of forgiveness begins when we admit these inward feelings about God. Anger against God can be buried very deep.
Am I angry at God? Is that why I can't trust Him fully with the kids He has given me the privilege to influence? How much does the way I was parented shape my view of Him? These are not easy questions and although I have certainly scratched the surface, there is more work to be done. I do know that when I confess that I DON'T trust Him, He is near. He's not angry at me for being angry at Him. Will I be able to trust Him when things REALLY don't go well for my kids, or husband, or job, ministry, friends, money, future plans?
I assume that God will keep asking me this question, over and over again. The only thing I can do is honestly answer back and let Him be God. He is good. That is enough.