Encouraging the (nearly) impossible

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Each and every day I grow more in love with my children, more amazed by their uniqueness, and more thankful for their presence in my life. But mostly, I am continually grateful for the opportunity to be their mother, and to love them. I am much more thankful, and stand in much greater awe, when I am rested, but nonetheless I experience gratitude and awe on a daily basis. (I am pretty well rested as I write this.)

Often, the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, uses my wonderful little joys to show me that I have mannerisms, habits and traits that are less-than-wonderful.

Apparently, correcting others unnecessarily is one of my least desirable habits.

A second, less-than-wonderful trait is seeking to protect my loved ones from the disappointment of unrealistic or unattainable goals. Through the years, I’ve come to envision it more as: popping their dream bubbles like a crazed woman wielding a ready needle.

It helps me to refrain.

popping the balloon

“Honey – a barber shop/clothing store? Really?”

One summer, to my family’s delight, my daughter and I decided to embark upon a mission of not correcting others.

In truth, her incessant habit of correcting me forced me to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Shortly thereafter, my son and husband joined us, and I endeavored to be intentionally gentle and patient with them. I had become fairly certain that I was the originator of the foul and irritating habit.

It was liberating for us all.

Even today, years later, it continues to be a process. We are all still working on it.

Later, that fall, the Lord revealed my tendency to ‘pop the bubbles’ of unrealistic dreams. Happily, my children were suddenly free to aspire sans criticism. They made plans to do everything from erecting a lemonade stand to flying a rocket ship to the moon.

I had to draw the line at teaching the devil about Jesus “so he would become nice and go to heaven”.

However, other than that, I’d become pretty supportive and encouraging. Finally, my daughter hit me with the big one. “Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to Patrick Henry College (we were already planting the seeds). And then when I graduate, I’m going to China and get the mean laws changed, so that the Chinese people can learn about Jesus.”

Now to those of you who are naturally supportive and don’t find the urge to say “Honey, I find that highly unlikely” – God bless you. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there yet.  Immediately that controlling protective controlling nature kicked in. But, before I could get the words out, the Holy Spirit whispered, “How do you know what I created her to do?”

Stunned, I asked instead “And what about the underground church, Tig-pooh?” To which she replied, with unwavering confidence, “In my free-time, I’ll help the underground church.”

This was my daughter. My amazing, fearless little girl. She was going to march over to China and ‘get them to change the laws’. “Why not focus on the underground church?” I asked. “Because, they already know about Jesus”. My lovely, bold daughter was concerned for the many people who didn’t know about Jesus, and so, she decided it would be much easier to just change the laws. My instinct was to protect her and help her find an attainable goal.

But, how do I know what God created her to do?

It’s not my job to protect her from the disappointment of improbable dreams. She can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens her. It’s my job to encourage her to seek the will of the Lord in all aspects of her life, especially that of her future. With so many children seeking to be movie stars, rock stars, sports stars, and rap stars, it delights me that she wants to accomplish the impossible for Christ.

Have you ever watched a balloon pop? A popped balloon, besides being damaged and unusable, pulls away from, instead of toward, the one who popped it. Protecting our children from what we perceive to be impossible goals does not draw them closer to us – and it certainly does not draw them closer to Christ. Oftentimes, when we try to protect our children from the improbable, we unknowingly communicate that we believe that they are unable, or simply not good enough, to do the thing they are seeking to do. We have unintentionally expressed that we do not believe in them. If they feel that we do not believe in them, how can we expect them to believe in a God who desires to use them? Far too often, I have encountered individuals whose walks with God were predominantly inhibited by their own feelings of low-self worth. True, none of us our worthy, but we are all fearlessly and wonderfully made.

We are valuable to God, created in His image for a purpose – for His purpose.

Let us aspire to make sure our children know that, too.

Let us aspire to encourage our children to believe God for the impossible.

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