When my children were babies, I tended to their every need. I nursed them, held them and sang over them. I let them know at every opportunity that they were loved, secure and safe.
As they grew, my love took on new forms. I still loved on them with hugs and comfort, but my role became more active as I watched every move of my adventurous toddlers.
To keep them safe would sometimes require discipline. A strict scolding could warn them to get off the road where they could be hurt or worse. Throwing myself in the face of danger that my little ones couldn’t see, was part of my protective mothering role and one that couldn’t be taken lightly.
These precious little children were a gift to me from God and it was my job to look after them to the best of my ability. Regardless of how tired I was or if I had something else I wanted to do at the time, none of that mattered as much as keeping them safe, sound and secure.
As they grew up, they learned to do more and more for themselves under my watchful eye. Letting them spread their wings was also a beautiful process of recognising where their talents lay and watching their skills develop in areas I am still so amazed to see.
But throughout all of this growth, the good is mixed with a whole lot of struggles. Discipline is never fun and for a child, it is hard to see the reasoning behind it:
“Why can’t I put the basting brush in the microwave and turn it on until it catches fire?”
“Why shouldn’t I climb the fence when I am two years old and run through the neighbours yard?”
“Why shouldn’t I go down the steep driveway headfirst on my skateboard at three years old with my glasses on?”
“Why shouldn’t I jump on the bonnet of Daddy’s favourite car? -It’s just like a trampoline!”
As my children grew older, they learned to trust me a little bit more. I think they worked out that maybe mum knows a thing or two.
As an adult, I look at the times God has had to discipline me. It’s never comfortable and it can be downright painful. At times I have not understood it at all, and sometimes I even thought God was being mean.
But when I reached the other side of the trials, the words that came from my mouth were: “I’m glad I went through that – but I would never want to go through that again!”
Hopefully those lessons have been learnt, and there are sure to be new ones. When I reflect, I see myself wrestling in the discomfort of the situation, just as my toddlers would wrestle in being stuck in a pram or a car seat. I wrestled until I surrendered. With my hands in the air I came to a place where I would say – “not my will but yours God”.
That’s when the peace would come. Even though the situation may not have changed, what had changed was me and the realisation that maybe my Father in Heaven knew what was good for me better than I did.
Trying to control the future is not even on my list now. Who can know the mind of God? I do know however, that he has my best interests at heart and that, just as I love my children and can generally see what is good and what is bad for them, God loves us so much more and can clearly see what is up ahead.
He is the deliverer of our daily bread, knowing what we need for each moment and knowing what we are to become through our trials and our pain. God has a knack of creating beauty out of ashes. It is a matter of surrender. It is a matter of trust.
“…I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'”
Zechariah chapter 13 verse 9.
Originally published for Christian Today Australia, 5th July, 2016