I was blessed to have a wonderful conversation with a precious young lady last evening. Part of our discussion was about her own relationship with her mom, and how as she grows older and they share the deepest part of their hearts with one another (what a gift!) she’s beginning to see some of a mother’s burden … how we love and worry about our children. Her mom and I have the same conversation all the time! And of course that worry sometimes only seems to grow as they get older. I remember thinking when my children were young how much easier it would be to parent as they got older; after all, the things that bothered me most were messes and noise, and surely those would lessen. I was good at listening, so I’d be great at being a teenager’s mom!
Bwahaha! Ignorance is bliss; somehow I’d forgotten that much of a teenager’s angst is directed *toward* their parents! And then there was the added surprise that if you’re close to your teens, every pain they go through is like living through that … stuff again yourself, and if possible, it hurts even worse the second, third, fourth (you get the picture) time around than it did the first! Yikes.
I told her about how I’d found that I really had to separate myself somewhat from it all; from the pressure and stress of figuring out my nearly-adult kids’ lives. While I can advise them (if asked) and certainly pray, it’s just not healthy to be as consumed by their ups and downs as it sometimes threatens to be. I’m learning so much about leaning on the Lord and trusting in the foundation I’ve built during their time in our home, resting on His promise to complete what He’s started in their lives, and knowing they will step off track sometimes but pray they’ll always come back to what they know is TRUTH. I’ve even come to suspect that until they’ve stepped off track a bit and come around, they can’t know just how true He is! It’s honestly been a great new-found freedom to realize through the difficult times that I’m responsible before the Father for what I’ve done with them while they’re here–responsible to pour life into them, to model a walk with God, to show them how to defend the faith and why they can trust God’s Word–but NOT responsible for what they do with all of that. Each child has to walk out his or her own relationship with God; they have to own it and live it, and work out their salvation “with fear and trembling.”
Anyway as I was pondering our conversation again this morning, a verse popped into my head. Paul says to the Galatians in chapter 4 verse 19:
“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you–“
Wow. Normally that’s one of those verses you kindof fly over, right? But it came to mind today as I thought of how we’re told not to worry too much, to heed the typical advice not to get “too involved,” and how we moms can find that such a hard thing to do … Paul found it difficult, too. He said that he felt like he was in labor with the Galatians, for heaven’s sake. Now, granting the fact that to some extent he’s borrowing a metaphor he couldn’t possibly entirely understand, if that’s not some serious concern and toil, I certainly don’t know what is.
When you love someone; when you have spiritual responsibility for them, it sometimes feels like labor. Over, and over, and over again. Fun times. Seriously,though, moms; don’t let anyone tell you that you “care too much.” Yes, you could be too involved. You could be too nosy. You could be too controlling. We’ve got to work those things through with God. But if you feel like you’re working really hard, your emotions are all over the place, and your guts are sometimes twisted in knots … that’s okay. You’re just in labor.
Just relax. Breathe. Pray. And trust God to do as He promises …
“‘Shall I bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery?’ says the Lord.” Is. 66:9a