I equated it to being punched in the gut.
My day was going swimmingly, then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, my daughter dropped a bomb in my lap that took my breath away and caused me to forget where I was for a minute.
Have you been there? I bet you have.
Flashcards. I remember the day like it was yesterday. My precious and perfect 4-year-old came home from preschool asking me, in all innocence, “Mommy, what are flashcards? My teacher says that I need them”
“What? She said what?” I replied!
So evidently, they played a game that day called Around the World. Everyone sits in a circle and the first person says 1, the second person says 2, and so on. Well, when it was her turn to say her number she froze, didn’t know the next number and…well, the teacher mentioned she might want to get some flashcards
Tears poured from my concerned baby. Tears poured from me because my baby is perfect!
After I put things in perspective. . .we got the flashcards.
But those explosions called “real life” can rock our world. And they typically take us straight down the road called worry.
Here’s how you get there: turn right at “where did I go wrong,” then make a sharp left before “how can I fix this,” and you’ll end up at Worry Lane.
We tend to stay on Worry Lane until things settle down and get back to normal, or we move on to another kid’s problem.
We’re moms and we like to fix things, especially our children. We want them to be happy. In fact, I think there’s a saying that goes something like: “I’m only as happy as my happiest child.”
It’s sad but true. We like our children to be happy. And more often than not, we allow that narrative to determine our happiness as well.
Big issues and big people
Flashcards are one thing.
But who to go to homecoming with, what classes to take, rumors, and failing grades, these struggles all fall into the “this is life” category.
As we work through them, we might cry with our children. We will definitely empathize with them because we have been there and we remember their pain. It’s hard to grow up.
However, big issues accompany big people. As our kids grow, so do their problems.
The last time I was faced with a big kid (meaning—young adult) problem, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. As I cried out to the Lord, I heard him sweetly say: “Lisa, you need to flip the script. Instead of heading to Worry Lane, you need to anticipate what I am going to do with joy and expectation.”
To which I replied: “Huh?”
He gently recalled Philippians 4:6–7 to my mind, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As I stood, tears running down my face, I was smiling. I was smiling and full of faith, not worried or anxious, just expectant.
The enemy’s script
Our tendency is to be anxious and worried when our child is hurting or in the midst of a trial. My flesh says curl up in the corner and wring your hands until somebody tells you everything is going to be okay. Then choose to believe them because who else are you going to believe?
We need a microwave answer to our problems because we are a microwave society.
I like to worry because that’s the least I can do. Otherwise, what can I do? And therein lies the problem: When prayer is not my first defense, it’s my backup plan and worry bypasses God.
The enemy has a script.
And it had found its way into my parenting hands. It was a script that was jumbled up, crinkled, tear-stained, and remained hardly legible. But I continued to use it. Why? Because it was familiar and gave me some sort of direction.
We need to use caution in our lives as parents. Too often we’re reading from a script that is generically written by the world for parents, directing us to control all outcomes for our children’s good, at any cost.
That script doesn’t leave room for the Holy Spirit to work. Control is placed solely in our hands, and we weren’t meant to control things. Our self-reliant attempts set us up for failure and leave our kids in the dust.
Anticipate, expect, and know
That day, Jesus firmly held me and said: “Not this time. Flip the Script.”
Trusting God strengthens our faith. Walking in truth (Jeremiah 29:11) enables us to look up and know that God is sovereign, loves us, and will make all things good (Romans 8:28).
So the next time your kiddos come home with news that makes you want to crawl back into bed for the day (or a week), flip the script!
Anticipate, expect and know that God loves your child more than you.
He has this. And he has you.