Sunday, October 10, 2010

Love them, protect them, and... let them go

My boys keep me constantly watching, considering the cost, and sending up prayers for their safety. They take risks. They climb high and go fast. They forget that the pavement is hard and rough and dangerous to their tender skin. They don't understand what falling down a cliff could result in.

Yet I want them to experience life, to feel alive. I was the same way as they are now, though I do think having children has caused me to be more cautious.  As a kid, I loved to go speeding down our gravel road, even if my rusty red bike couldn't always take it and we'd both go skidding across the rough stones. In junior high, I would down hill ski so fast and take stupid risks. I knew I could easily lose control. And even though I consider myself scared of heights, I loved to climb trees real high and I went bungee jumping in high school. One of my best college memories was riding way past the speed limit with my brother on his motorbike. I loved doing things that made me a little scared, and finding out that I could do it anyway. It was invigorating.

So I get my boys. And I don't want to be the kind of mother that over protects and overly worries about injuries. Some injuries are part of life, part of boyhood. But I guess when you live through a significant injury with your son (though not related to risk-taking activity), you gain new perspective. We are not guaranteed anything. So I try to find the right balance.

Recently I've been thinking about love, protection, and what I want from my children. The greatest desire that I have for them is that they would submit their life to the Lord Jesus. And what does that entail? A life whole heartedly devoted to loving and serving Him. I don't want to stand in the way of that for my children or my husband, even if there is a cost to me. That means I have to let go knowing that their life and well-being is always in the Lord's hands.

Michael has mentioned several times over the course of a year that he wants to be a missionary in the middle east one day, sharing the gospel to muslims. That didn't come from me. Not even close. But I must prepare myself now for whatever the Lord has for my kids so that I don't cause them difficulty.

Jon has been in Asia for the last ten days or so, and he won't come back for another week and a half. It's not my favorite thing for him to be away- actually it makes me realize just how much I love his company and friendship- but it's nothing compared to the sacrifice many women have made in history for the gospel to spread, even if their part was just freeing their husband to go. I must consciously and daily put off my own selfishness, and trust that God will sustain me too.

But right now, I am really looking forward to seeing Jon again!


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