Stepping onto the roller coaster that day many years ago filled me with excitement and dread. I knew it would be thrilling, but I was afraid of just how thrilling it would actually be. Putting my faith in the rickety, wooden, man-made ride was all it took as I buckled the seat belt and raced off. The heights weren't my favorite, but the curves and speed were exhilarating! By the time it was all said and done, I was glad to have faced my fear...even though I'd likely never step on the ride again if I could help it. While I've managed to steer clear of scary roller coasters most of my adult life, I still remember the fear and dread that I had to face when riding them. And, to be honest with you, a similar fear and dread has crept into my mind as I parent older children. I know I'm not alone in this as I've talked with many of you, too, who have seen a huge difference between guiding the little ones and steering the big ones. There is a lot at stake and we begin to fear...
Will these grades affect her future?
Will they marry the right wives? (or husbands)
What college should he attend?
and the big one:
Will they have hearts for the Lord?
My husband and I have been walking the older-kid parenting stage for the past seven-ish years and it is far too unique to nicely package a list of instructions for you in a blog post. That's not my intent in this post anyway. While God has taught us much during these years, and I know that He will continue to teach us much more as we have about fifteen more of these years ahead of us, this post is not about raising teens, but actually about why I resist Him.
Resist...you may wonder whether I've lost my mind! Why resist God when I need Him so very much? Yeah, good question. That's actually exactly what I've been wondering lately. I've found myself resisting God before this season too. Indeed, you don't have to be the mother of a young adult to be tempted to resist God. I've resisted Him during a big move, during job changes, at a new church, and often times in the midst of my marriage. It doesn't matter if you are single, married, a mom, childless, older, younger...we are all, at times, tempted to resist our good God. Do you find this to be true for you?
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart. Psalm 119: 2
Teach me Your way, O LORD, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. Psalm 86: 11-12
Why do I, why do we, resist God? Why hold back our whole heart? I resist God when I worry about parenting my older kids. I resist His sovereignty and place my trust in my own control. But, here's the kicker-- I can't control them. I can't guide them here and there and tell them exactly what to do (and have them usually listen) like when they're little. They're becoming independent and making their own decisions now...and that scares me because it takes the reins out of my control. So, in this realization I see that my heart has not been trusting God wholly. It's been partially trusting God (with my mouth) and partially trusting my own strength and wisdom (as seen by my actions). In the refining fire (name your trial, name your situation...that's your refining fire), we see whether or not we're actually trusting or resisting God.
Are you trusting in your own understanding? Are you believing your plan is better than God's? Are you harboring anxiety, fear, anger? These are all signs of a wrestling spirit; a heart that is holding back from God. Yet, blessings and praise arise from a heart that has fully surrendered, one that is not divided between praising God and praising my own ideas of what is right.
How I want my heart to be undivided! And yet what a struggle to face what could be the most thrilling ride of this life--putting my full and undivided trust in our faithful God in every single situation. However, this meager faith of mine is not being placed in a rickety roller-coaster, but rather the God of all creation. What have I to fear?
Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. Psalm 111: 1-4