Guys, the fun is over.
My kindergartener hates school. I really didn’t see this coming. But we’ve spent the last three school days crying all morning. It’s harder than dropping him off at day care. It’s way weirder than pre-school. I’m sending him on a bus with people I don’t know. And I was totally fine with it when he was fine with it. But now both of us are a little anxious.
I’ve asked him every question. Nothing is necessarily wrong, but it’s new and different, and it’s all beginning to sink in.
Since Brady was born, there is one verse that I have just always felt belonged to him. Honestly, I wanted to try to look for a cooler one. One that isn’t scripted on journals and wooden signs. But God’s word is powerful, no matter how often it’s used. It never loses its depth or meaning. So for almost six years now, I have prayed Joshua 1:9 over Brady. I pray that he would be strong and courageous because God is with him wherever he goes.
And this past week has given us a very real reason to use it. To be honest, I feel like a fraud or like I’m trying too hard. I’m not really a mom of a school-age kid, right? I still have babies, don’t I? I don’t know what is going on. I’m not sure how to convince my still sort-of-little boy that God is actually with him when he’s at school. So I painted a little star and wrote down in black sharpie and put it in his lunchbox. He can’t read it yet, but we’ve talked about what it says. I’m doing everything I can to let him know that it’s okay to be sad about this big change, but he still has to go. And he’s not alone. But how can I really convince him? How can I prove to Him that it’s really true? That God really is big enough to care about him?
Well, I’m not supposed to.
Deep breath, moms. It is not our job to convince our kids (or anyone, really) about what God does or who He is. It’s His job. Our job is to say what’s true and do our best to live it. It seems impossible and somehow not enough. But if we take on this responsibility as our own; believe that our kids’ relationship and trust in God sits on our shoulders, then God must not be very big or very loving.
“He was supreme in the beginning and – leading the resurrection parade – He is supreme in the end. From beginning to end He’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is He, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in Him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animal and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of His death, His blood that poured down from the cross.” [Colossians 1:18-20 msg]
If He can do all this, can He not take care of your loved ones? Can he heal your anxious heart and comfort your kid? Can he teach you about humility while strengthening your child’s identity? Yeah, He can.
He’s not doing one thing at a time. He’s miraculously working so intentionally within you and every person you love all at once. When you are at the end of your rope because you have literally no clue what to say or how to help, and you’re convinced you’ve screwed it all up, God steps in.
His goal in making you a parent was not to teach you how to get it right. It was to teach you exactly what His strength looks like. If His strength is made perfect in our weakness, then our screw-ups as parents are the sacred opportunities He looks to use.
So what do we do? When our kids don’t want to go to school or they have no friends or they’re making insanely bad decisions.
The answer is always the same: we surrender. We give back to God the ones we love the most; the ones that He loves even more. We give up our silly belief that maybe it all rides on us.
Because honestly, what’s the alternative? It’s anxiety and nausea and shallow breathing. It’s spinning and working so hard your vision blurs a little. It’s panic and constant feelings of inadequacy. It’s a nagging never enough-ness.
So we trust. We trust that God actually is who He says He is. And we fall. And we trust again. And we pray. And sometimes we cry because it’s just dang hard.
And we trust.
And we trust.
And we trust.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
[Proverbs 3:5-6 msg]