Monday, April 2, 2012

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

I find it's more difficult to rely on God's strength and solutions (some refer to this as "walking by faith") during the daily grind than it is when I'm rocked by earth-shattering events. Major resistance--the kind that knocks you down and rearranges your life--wakes me up and pushes me into the presence of God. Little annoyances and everyday troubles are deceiving. They convince me they are small enough to pick up and take care of by myself as I walk along and attend to all the other tasks of the day.

For instance, God feels so near as we deal with Sylvie's heart defect. My burden is light--believe it or not--because the problem is so large and complicated I'm never tempted to think I can handle it on my own or make it right. But when I'm attempting to mold the behavior of a two year old, my burden is heavy. I so easily forget God is just as close and just as ready to shoulder the burden.

I find I often put my trust in parenting books or the advice of fellow moms walking my similar path--the stuff that I can see. These are great resources--I'm definitely not saying we should deny ourselves this valuable information. But I am saying that I need to use them carefully. God (graciously) reminded me that they will fail me and ultimately fall short.

While Shawn was out of town, Emeline was throwing a royal fit just before bed. I can't remember what it was about, probably something as inconsequential as hanging up her towel on the wrong hook. The real reason for the uproar was she didn't want to go to bed yet (which, I'm told, is developmentally normal at this age) and she missed her Daddy! I was exhausted, (and obviously so was she) at wits end and no counting or rational discussion or time-out was going to calm us all down and get us the rest we needed. So while she thrashed and yelled in bed, I sat at the foot end and began quietly praying. Praying for peace, patience, love, joy, gentleness, kindness--everything I lacked in that moment. Emeline quieted down enough to hear what I was doing. I wish I could say it did the trick. But as I am finding out, there are no tricks in this parenting gig. She began yelling, "Stop praying!!" Awesome. I took a deep breath, kept at it, and eventually she did calm down (and even threw in a few requests of her own) and we ended the day on a good note.

An observation: Did you notice how I decided to ask God for help once all the other strategies fell short?

It hit me: As much as I need to walk by faith with Sylvie's broken, physical heart, I need to walk by faith as I shepherd Emeline's heart. No parenting book or veteran mom is ever going to have all the answers for that. Every kid is different. Multiply that by the unique situations we find ourselves in--sometimes altered from day to day--and it staggers my mind that anyone would have the audacity to write a parenting book!

I also want to hand over this burden of tending and caring for Emeline's heart. The job is too heavy for me to carry. I want to pray and then take time to listen. I want to be okay with not knowing exactly how we are going to get from Point A to Point B. I don't want to be self-reliant anymore. I believe the Holy Spirit will give me the necessary and perfect insight when it is needed. Why? Because he wants to shepherd her heart even more than I do.


Handing over the burden of shepherding my daughter's heart will not give me a perfect two year old.

Perfection will most likely show up in different ways. I think it might give me perfect peace in the midst of a nasty tantrum displayed for all to see. I think it might remind me of a more perfect perspective that the behavior of my child should not boost (nor deflate) my significance or define my identity. I think it might begin to perfectly prepare me, daily, for the deepening of our relationship.

I can live with that brand of perfection.

And it all begins with a simple, and yet oh-so-difficult, walk of faith.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah. Like I said to my friend, I hope I can DO this now that I know it...