Monday, March 21, 2011

A Balancing Act

I am living this in-between season, as my adorable young daughters urge me to provide them space in their tiny lives, to allow them choices of meals and clothing and activities; and as they weep for my love before bedtime while I’m away on a mother’s night out, I wonder about that delicate balance of faith and grace, of offering freedoms and adventures at every turn, while at the same moment – and sometimes in the same breath – of remaining close and available for a rescue or important conversation.

My daughters deeply desire a sense of freewill, and I reciprocate by dreaming they can become caring, loving, balanced women who are independent, while depending upon the Lord. That same notion of our complete and perfect need for Christ, for salvation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, and of our choices and responses becomes more clear. I recognize God’s design for relationship with Him, and also marvel at God's restraint as He provides us opportunity to grow and mature in varied ways.

Many days with my daughters include much encouragement, love, snuggles, high-fives, and happy dances. Yet as we are all humanly flawed, those same days can involve disappointment and discipline. Some instances of constructive discipline conclude with a surprising thought in my mind:
Just as I have asked my daughter to do something multiple times; as I have warned another daughter of the dangers of certain adventures; or as I have reminded my other daughter that my answer remains, “not now, darling;” as I hear my voice, the words speak truths that God can use as real and complete knowledge for my life as well. And sometimes I laugh at myself, because the Lord has answered a prayer with a real-life circumstance!

How many times have I asked the Lord to reveal Himself, provide an answer, and I remain near to Him, believing God for His guidance? Yet I sometimes sense silence, or absence, or delay? So my children, in their lively experiences, can offer me reminders in general ideas and theories as I respond to their questions and concerns (which often mirror my own problems!) –
Do not worry, my child…
I am with you…
I have promised to walk with you through every instance of pain…
Do not be afraid of telling me your stories…
There is no shame in being yourself....
I love you...

Every moment that I can learn and grow from my encounters with my daughters through what God is revealing, I am also reminded that my deep, passionate, intense love for them cannot even describe the perfect, whole love they experience from God.
Psalm 138:8 reminds us, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” What a beautiful promise to remember!

As my daughters mature and falter, some nights they will still call for me, reaching out in the dark as I run through the hallway to their room, with a hug and kiss ready for them. They long for the familiar warmth of mother. How comfortable and similar I am with that notion, and I struggle to find the length of space they need and desire, while remaining relevant and influential. 

God sends children… to enlarge our hearts, to make us unselfish, and full of kindly sympathies and affections; to give our souls higher aims, to call out all our faculties and to extend enterprise and exertion; to bring round our fireside bright faces and happy smiles, and loving, tender hearts.”
~ Mary Howitt



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