Learning to drive: Trusting God’s plan for our kids

Written by Lisa Tyson
Published on December 10, 2021

I went back and forth trying to decide if this article was about my daughter learning to drive or me learning how to be her passenger. 

Looking over to the driver’s seat and seeing my baby girl (okay, so she’s 15 but still) behind the wheel and sitting in the passenger seat while she drives are both equally terrifying. 

We practice things like which pedal makes it “go.” We learn to move our hands while turning. We learn to actually make the turn without me calmly shouting “TURN!” 

One of our first experiences was in the parking lot where my husband works. There is a circle driveway by the back door. At one point, two wheels were on the sidewalk heading towards a column, and she turned the windshield wipers on trying to “correct” herself. 

Both of us were dying in fits of laughter. I reached over and put the car in park. She says, “Mom! You are not supposed to touch that when I am driving.” To which I responded, “You are not supposed to be folded over across the seat laughing while you are driving.” 

Her older brothers learned how to drive. I am sure that she will too. 

Wanting control

It seems, though, that my husband’s personality is more suited to “driving lessons” than mine. He is steady and solid. He is calm in the chaos. He spent 15 years in the military as a reservist, so driving with a 15 year old is small potatoes to the things that he has experienced in his life. 

She actually prefers to drive with her dad. She says that I make her nervous. I think that the feeling is completely mutual at this point. Teaching my kids how to drive is not the only practice I am learning how to be a parent in the passenger seat. 

The Lord allows this opportunity almost daily as I watch them grow up through their teen and young adult years. 

I want to drive. Seriously, I want to drive. In case I wasn’t clear, I want to be the one doing the driving. I want to be the one determining the destination and the route. 

I don’t really even need a navigator. I know exactly what I want for my kids, and I would love to make sure they get there safely without any detours. I just need my kids to sit quietly beside me and let me lead them where I would like them to go. 

Unfortunately and fortunately that is not realistic. It’s not even Biblical. The reality is that I am not even in the passenger seat when it comes to my kids. 

The Lord is their driver, and they should be sitting next to him as his passenger. 

Trust the Lord

Giving up control is one of the most difficult jobs for a parent to do. We throw around platitudes like “let go and let God” and quote verses about God knowing the plan for them (Jeremiah 29:11), but do we believe it? Do we live like it? 

I truly have no idea whose dumb idea it was to consider an 18 year old an adult. But someone did—so, we have to accept that. Personally, I don’t think anyone should be considered an adult until their frontal lobe is fully developed (ask any boy mom). 

Since no one asked me, I have to do what I know that I have been told to do. Trust the Lord with my children. Not just say, actually do it. Allow them to learn how to let the Lord drive. 

God is more capable

It is not natural—for any of us. It sounds easy—it’s just not. 

Isaiah 30:21 says, “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (ESV). 

My name is nowhere in that verse, nor is it meant to be. The only voice my adult children need to be listening for is the Lord. 

Whether they are allowing him to drive or if they are still battling with him for control, his is the only voice that matters. I have to be careful to silence myself so they can hear his voice. Especially when they are not actively listening for him. 

I want to speak for Jesus to my children. Jesus calls me to speak to him about my children. These conversations happen not in the front seat of a car with my adult children fighting for control of the route and destination. These conversations happen at the feet of Jesus giving my desire for control to him. 

He is far more capable than I, and he loves them more. 

God’s plan above ours

I know that my daughter will eventually learn to drive, and I will trust her with the car. I also know that the fact that the Lord has a plan for my children is not just a “nice verse.” It is a promise. 

They may be my children, but it is most certainly his plan. I cannot prosper them. I cannot keep them from harm. I cannot give them hope. I cannot secure their future. I can call to him, and I can pray to him. 

But he cannot show me great and mighty things that they need to know on their behalf. That is something that they have to do as they figure out who they are in him. 

We spend our lives pouring into them and teaching them. It is no longer about information. We have done our job. We have driven the car as long as we can. We must pass the keys to them so they can decide how long they will wrestle with Jesus before they give the keys to him. 

Some may wrestle for control longer than others. All of them who wrestle with God will leave changed—just ask Jacob (Genesis 22). 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 29:11, 33:3).

Consider a few extra resources:

The only hope for parenting

Learning to trust God with your adult children

Live perfectly imperfect

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Lisa Tyson

My name is Lisa Tyson. I am a Baylor graduate, have been married to the only man I have ever loved for the past 24 years, and we have 3 perfectly imperfect children — 20 (rising Jr. at Texas Tech), 17 (rising Senior), and 12 (rising 7th grader). Our oldest two are boys and the youngest is a sweet and spicy girl. I run my own practice as an Educational Diagnostician working with school districts to identify and serve their bilingual students while my husband works in the Operations Department for our church. I speak Spanish fluency and I love to read and scrapbook. One of my many life verses is, “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25). I am far from an Insta-mazing wife and mom — we eat the same leftovers over and over, I forget every picture day, and I had to buy my middle child new socks and underwear when I packed all of his and sent them to college with his brother (in an effort to not forget anything). But one thing I do well is this: I remember that the Lord has lavished us with His grace and nothing that touches our family is by accident. So we press on and push through knowing that He has always been faithful — no matter what.

Read more about Lisa

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