Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Purposeful Parent or Manic Mama Bear

What’s worse than difficulties and trials in life? Watching our children face them. The moment I become aware of my son or daughter being unjustly accused or unfairly treated, I instantly go from peaceful, purposeful parent to manic mama bear. This may be one of the most difficult times for me. If you have children, young or old, you can surely relate. I have to admit I have not always handled these situations as I should! To see my child’s heart broken in such a way breaks my heart and my response is to do everything in my power to remove my child from this situation and fix it. Yep, I’m a fixer.

As a parent however, I strive to look to my Father, my Perfect Parent, as an example of how to deal with such a situation. I find that He protects me, teaches me, and guides me through life’s toughest moments. However, He does not always remove me from them nor does He immediately fix the problem.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren (Lk 22:31-32). Here we witness Jesus warning Peter (also called Simon) of an impending trial. There are so many lessons for me in this small warning! 1. Satan must ask permission to sift us. 2. Jesus prays for us. 3. He doesn’t pray that we be taken out of the trial, but prays us through it; that our faith would not fail. 4. He trusts that in the end, we will return to Him. 5. His purpose is that through this experience, we will come out of it more able to strengthen others.   

And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed (Acts 16:23, 25, 40). Paul and Silas were wrongly accused and unjustly thrown into prison. How did they respond? Did they complain and grumble? Did God immediately rescue them or fix the problem? No! Their Perfect Father had perfect intentions: that they would use this trial as an opportunity, and that they would encourage the brethren through it.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (Jas 1:2-4).  Here I find a clear purpose in life’s trials and the word that screams to me- let. I must let the trial have its perfect work in me. I must let the trial have its perfect work in my child. Ouch. Rescuing my son or daughter, fixing all of their difficulties and problems, is not letting God work His flawless purpose in their lives. As Jesus prayed for Peter, as He warned him of a coming difficulty, I too can pray for my children and teach them, train them, and warn them that life is hard, but God is good. I pray for the patience and wisdom to walk my children through life’s struggles as my Father does me. I pray that the purposeful parent in me will not be overcome by a manic mama bear.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which
is to try you, as  though some strange thing happened to you;
but rejoice to the extent  that you partake of Christ’s
sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you
may also be glad with exceeding joy.
-1 Peter 4:12-13

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