Beautiful struggle.....

I envy my young ones. I envy them because they have no reason yet in life to worry, and they simply don’t look back. I look at them in amazement sometimes, wondering what it is that keeps them moving forward without a care in the world. Truly, their only care is to leap into life with every ounce of their being. No holding back. All in. Going for it! I watch, and often hover-helicopter parenting, yes?-concerned their first venture into something without knowing what they are getting into could land them flat on their faces. Don’t get me wrong-God appointed us parents for good reason, to ensure they are safe, loved, disciplined and educated to walk into life as a healthy and whole human being. But, He also expects us to recognize throughout this parenting experience that we are often not as in control as we would like to think we are. I had a conversation recently with my oldest child, Rylee, about relationships. It was a beautiful thing for me to listen to my daughter share her heart and what God is calling her to be, what she is wrestling with in her heart and mind. I was not nearly in as mature a place as she is at almost 20 years old.

At 20, I was in a difficult season of life. A crossroads really. I had changed my major, transferred from one school to another, and I had been in and out of a couple of bad relationships. I was dissatisfied with my life, but I was reluctant to make significant change. I lingered in a couple of casually intimate relationships, exploring what I thought would fix my unhappiness, only to find myself feeling more hollow, more empty, and slipping far deeper into the pit I had been digging for myself for several years. I knew God was there, but I had become selfish, lazy, complacent toward Him. I wanted immediate gratification for my lacking, but I wasn’t willing to own up to the reason for that lacking. I had relied less and less upon Him, and so it became easy in my wandering to avoid Him. When the lacking, the hollow feeling in me became too much to bear, I found myself at a breaking point on every level: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am thankful at that point my Mom saw in me the very thing I needed. Someone to listen. She didn’t scold me, she didn’t judge me, she didn’t demand or expect anything of me. She made herself available to me not just as my Mom, but as someone simply available to hear my struggle and help me find my way through it. That conversation was the beginning of healing for me. I began therapy, started working through so much wreckage in my heart, my mind, my entire being that had weighed me down for too long, convincing me I was worthless and hopeless. I didn’t like the person I had become, and as I climbed slowly out of the pit I had been digging myself into all those years, I discovered anew the person God had created me to be from the beginning. She hadn’t gone anywhere, she was right there all along. He reminded me of who I truly was in Him, and I was able to look in the mirror without disappointment for the first time in a very long time.

I learned in that season that I am my worst enemy. Sure, I’ll acknowledge that Satan has his ways and does his part in wreaking havoc in my life at any given time. But I refuse to give him all the credit, because that’s just one more way to avoid taking ownership for my actions. Repentance, true repentance, means calling out our lacking and choosing to turn away from it completely, never turning back. My young ones, they are so blissfully unaware of just how difficult life is! They have yet to understand and experience this journey from the struggle, to repentance, to forgiveness, to abundance. I see the abundance in them now, wondering at what point life will hand them their first significant struggle and their own journey will begin. When they do, I will be ready just like I was with Rylee recently, to simply listen. God, give me continued wisdom with these beautiful lives you’ve entrusted to my care on this earth. What a wonderful, heartbreaking responsibility you have given me. Thank you, Father.

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
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