31 Days:: Entrusted
Day 20:: Entrusted
When Ellie was only a few months old and refused to keep quiet in the middle of the night, I would often just take her out to the family room so that she could cry her little heart out out there so that my husband could get some sleep before he had to leave for work in the morning. No sense in both of us being tired and grumpy, I figured.
One particular night when she and I were out there, I was exhausted (as usual) and desperately wanted to sleep. After bouncing her and pacing the floor for awhile, Ellie finally calmed down. I settled in on the couch and looked down at her tiny little pink face. Her big, blue, wonder-filled eyes were wide open, as alert as if it were the middle of the day. And as I gazed into her eyes, I saw it: Trust. She was this tiny little bug of a girl, as innocent as a human could be. And as she looked up at me, I knew that she was convinced she was in good hands. She believed I had a clue about what I was doing and that I would be able to take care of her and provide for her and comfort her.
Little did she know that I had no idea what I was doing as a mother. I was the youngest in my family. I didn’t have a bunch of younger cousins that I was responsible for. I had never been a big fan of babies or babysitting. I had a few nieces and nephews who I adored, but I didn’t live near them so it wasn’t like I had a lot of experience with kids. Basically, what I’m trying to get across to you is that I felt sorry for Ellie. I felt sorry that God had chosen to put Ignorant Me into her life to help keep her alive and guide her along her way.
Those feelings of inadequacy and helplessness took a really long time to wane. I’m not sure when I stopped feeling so useless and overwhelmed and started feeling empowered and encouraged by God, but I can tell you with all sincerity that now, a dozen years later, I think I kinda-sorta know a little bit about what I’m doing now.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past twelve years has been this:
- It is absolutely imperative that I keep God as my Center. My One Thing. If I’ve got Him leading the way and I am doing my very best to follow His lead and do what He tells me to do, I’ll probably be okay. And she’ll probably be okay too.
Another few things I’ve learned since that middle-of-the-night staredown are these:
- Prayer is one of the greatest gifts I can give to my children. It inserts God into all areas of their lives, so that He can protect when I cannot, He can heal when I am unable to, and He can teach when I am clueless.
- I am flawed. And no matter how much I improve or grow or mature, I will continue to be flawed. I have always been and will continue to be an imperfect work-in-progress. Luckily: God is way bigger and more capable than me. And He can fill in the gaps where I and my husband are lacking. He can even redeem and restore our kids when we are royal screw-ups.
- No one is without baggage. We all have a mixed bag of both good and not-so-good habits and behaviors and tendencies that our families have passed down to us. But, once again, God is in the business of redeeming and restoring. So He’ll help my kids even when I intentionally or unintentionally create excess baggage for them.
- I should not walk this road alone. For my own sake and for the sake of my family, we need healthy community surrounding us all. I need voices of wisdom to speak into my life. And my kids need mentors besides myself to turn to when they are sick of my voice. So I need to cultivate relationships with solid friends and mentors who will be willing and able to be strong when we are not.
- And lastly: Life is messy. It just is. It is unpredictable and challenging and sometimes downright torturous. So not only do I need to learn to go with the flow but, most importantly, I need to go back to my first bullet point and cling tight to God so that He can be my anchor and my guide when life starts tossing my family and I around.
I think back to the look in Ellie’s eyes that night on the family room couch. The look that said “I trust you.” And that look, while it still sometimes scares me and reminds me of how weak and frail I am, it mostly inspires me. It makes me want to grow and to continue growing into becoming a woman who is loving and smart and wise with these precious lives God has entrusted to me.
Lord God, please help me to steward the gift of my children well. Please keep me close and speak loud to me so that I stay near You and follow Your lead every step of the way. Please help me when I falter and please when I fall on my face in failure. Please make up for where I lack and protect and empower and encourage my children in all the ways that only You can. I trust You, Lord. Just as Ellie looked at me that night, I look up at You and I say: I trust You. I trust You for myself and I even trust You with the lives of the best gifts You’ve ever given me. Thank You for them. May Your will be done in us all. Amen.
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What about you?
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the weight of all Parenthood means? How do you gain perspective and find courage and encouragement?
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.