Too often we hear a truth, read a truth, or experience a truth but never really let it sink in. When I say, I “need” to write, you have to understand that this is how I process what God is teaching me.
I have a tendency to busy myself when I’m trying not to think about something. More specifically, when I have some difficulty or struggle, it’s easier for me to just stay busy rather than spend time processing it. I’ve recently realized that when I do this, I am choosing not to trust. Ignoring something that is hard to deal with doesn’t solve the issue–it only buries it. I just never realized that I was sub-consciously making a choice to trust in my ability “to handle it”, instead of trusting God to reveal His heart, His plan, His purpose.
Here’s my confession–this is where I struggle the most (these days):
I am a Mom. I have been for 30 years now, (I was 4 months pregnant at this time in 1983), and apart from my salvation, there has never been a more life-changing moment.
Life changing moments seem to come more often in my latter years, and this struggle of “letting go” of my kids is one that catapults me into a frantic search for something to keep my mind off the inevitable.
Back to school time was (and still is) a time of remorse for me. Some Moms look forward to the routine, the schedule, and the freedom that comes with that first day of school. Not me. I dreaded it. I love summertime and I love having my kids home. I cried when they started school–from kindergarten through college. Not a grieving, “my life is over” kind of cry, but a grieving, nonetheless. Grieving for time long passed, moments gone and cherished, and for a part of me that will never be the same.
Kids got on the school bus outside my window today. Today I counted the days. Big mistake. Three days until my baby boy goes back to college. 35 days until my daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter come home. Seven weeks until they leave for Africa.
There is absolutely no way to prepare yourself for those moments. They hit you like a brick and you either dodge them (by trying the distraction routine), or you face them head on and lick your wounds. (i.e. some days I try not to think about it and others I literally dwell on them until I’m physically exhausted and spiritually drawn to prayer.)
When I read the story of Samuel, one of the first things that comes to my mind is, “How could she do it?!” “Why?“ Hanna prayed and asked God for a son, and when He delivered that gift, Hannah honored her commitment to the Lord, giving Samuel to be raised in the temple by a prophet named Eli. Understand this: God didn’t ask her to do it. In her desperation for a child, Hannah begged God and added her own pledge to give him back:
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
I Samuel 1: 10-11
When we look at Samuel’s life from our human perspective, it doesn’t make sense. When you look at it from God’s perspective, it all comes together in a beautiful masterpiece. Eli’s own sons were not worthy to carry out the priestly role. Samuel, on the other hand, was sensitive to God’s Spirit at an early age. “By contrast, the boy Samuel grew in stature and favor with the Lord and with men.” Could his Mother’s influence and faith had something to do with Samuel’s heart? ABSOLUTELY! God blessed her maternal sacrifice. Samuel “…grew up in the presence of the Lord,” and became a great man of God that would influence generations to come. He would be called to anoint Israel’s first king and some would say Israel’s greatest king–King David.
Was it a coincidence that I’m reading in I Samuel during this time of “letting go” of my children… I think not. God knew that I needed to be reminded of His presence. He wants me to trust even when I don’t understand the “why”.
It was also not coincidence that in my devotional book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, that I read these words:
“Understanding will never bring you Peace. That’s why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for understanding (mastery), instead of seeking Me (your Master).” (pg. 230)
What a journey this Scripture Challenge has taken me on. If you’re following me in the challenge, here’s the verse I’ve gleaned from this incredible book. Why not print it out and memorize it with me?
I know that all of our stories are different, yet as parents we all deal with the “leaving home” issue. Near the end of Samuel’s rule as judge over Israel, upon anointing Saul as their king, Samuel gives his final public speech that is culminated in these words from Chapter 12. Could we not all, as parents who sometimes fail and fear the worst for our children, be encouraged by these words? Our job as parents is one that is modeled more than taught. I pray that more than anything I’ve taught my children, that they will have seen these words lived out in the flesh.
Don’t miss the last part of that verse, because THIS IS HOW we get through our struggles: “…considering the great things He has done for you.” Living a life that is thankful keeps our perspective in focus. When days like this come, my One Thousand Blessings journal is the second place I go (after Scripture). Writing down blessings is easy on the good days–it’s on the difficult days we most need to “consider the great things He has done…”
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