Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Playing For Keeps

-- My Mama-heart trembles with questions that toss and jumble. I try so hard to make sense of all the conflicting, confounding concerns for my children that clamor for my attention. Which concern takes precedence? Which need is most important? In a world runaway with its own insanity, how do I as a mom, how do we as parents help our kids navigate the mine-fields of their generation's culture wars and the enemy who would love to derail them? It feels like the movie scene that gave me nightmares as a little girl. Snow White, fleeing from the wicked Queen's murderous plot, runs through the creepy dark forest with the tree branches grabbing and grasping at her cloak with evil intent. That is sometimes how I see the world my children go into every day when they walk out our door. Sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence are everywhere from TV to the school yard, packaged in profanity and peer-pressure. Not only that, but ideas, influences, attitudes and ideologies come at them from all sides, promoting all manner of confused and destructive thinking. There are so many things our kids are forced to know too soon. There are so many choices our kids are forced to make . . . so many choices WE are forced to make, and each choice is playing for keeps. Is it more important to keep them safe or teach them how to take the right risks? Is it best to have tight boundaries or give them room to stumble and help them learn their own lessons? Is it right to shield them from darkness or should you show them how to light it up? Most of the time it's a little of both, but it can feel like this impossibly delicate balancing act where a whisper of breath in the wrong direction could topple everything. I have this sense that I could spend all day and all night on my knees and still not have prayed for them enough. I am so blessed that both my children love God and have a desire to live for Him. I could not BE more thankful for that. Still, it is a daunting responsibility to be entrusted by God to guide them through a world so diametrically opposed to all we believe in. My temptation is sometimes to think that we are all alone in this, even to think we're all alone with God in it--HE is enough, but there is only one of me, only one of my husband, and even in God's enabling, there is only so much we can do because we can't be with them every minute. Last night I got a truly encouraging reminder that God brings other people alongside our children, and He brings other influences, other voices, other lives to impact their own. We have just recently started attending a different church, and I had taken my daughter to youth group. As I talked to the youth pastor's wife, getting acquainted for the first time, I felt this weight I'd been carrying begin to lift a little, because I heard in her words and her story and her personality, all kinds of divinely appointed reasons why God has aligned our lives at this exact moment in time. He orchestrated it all, just so He could reinforce, expand, advance and deepen my daughter's already growing desire to walk with Him. The cool thing was, as I was marveling at God bringing this young woman to us at just the perfect moment, she was expressing how God was encouraging her and her husband through my daughter!! How very like God to answer our prayers through one another. What a privilege He gives us when He not only answers the cries of our hearts, but uses us to answer the heart-cries of our brothers and sisters!! Parents, love your kids with your whole life! Pray for them like there's no tomorrow! But TRUST GOD and know that He hasn't left it all up to you!! He was playing for keeps with their hearts long before He entrusted those precious children to your care . . . He still is!
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 NIV
How has God used other people to influence your children in ways you never could? How will you express your appreciation to them?


Sara Goetz said...

Shaunie, Thank you so much. You have no idea how timely this is for me...

Fridaydreamer said...

God really does have a knack for perfect timing, doesn't He?!!


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