Monday, 5 December 2011
>See what happens when I don’t hover?
>Audrey broke her arm at the elbow yesterday. She was giving Owen a piggy-back ride and fell down on her outstretched arm. At almost the exact same time, I started throwing up.
I hadn’t felt good all morning, and I was trying to get ready and work up the strength to decorate the cake I had made for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower that day. The plan was to head up to Minneapolis for the day for the shower, some shopping, some playing and family time. I left the final frost for that morning so that it would be nice and fresh. The problem? I didn’t know how I would make another batch of frosting without throwing up. Even the thought of the smell of sugar (or any food) made my stomach start rolling.
And yet, if I hadn’t been sick, we would have been leaving for Minneapolis at 12 noon. Audrey most likely would not have been carrying her brother on her back, and she would be in pain or having to take oxycodone right now.
All this to say: why is it that when my kids get sick or hurt, I somehow figure out a way to blame myself? I certainly cannot control these things, yet I feel like it’s somehow my fault. What is that about?
I don’t know what it was like to raise kids a generation ago, but today it seems like there’s a lot of illusion-of-control involved. Wasn’t the term “helicopter parent” coined just a few years ago? We try so hard to make everything perfect for our children, at great expense and at great sacrifice to our own lives (and the other work that God might be calling us to), and then must deal with the inevitable guilt that comes when all doesn’t go according to plan.
It shows weakness to attempt to control everything around you (or your kids). So the opposite would show strength. And the opposite? Surrender. If I make an effort to surrender my kids’ safety and health and well-being every day, and to pray for help to mother them well, then that’s the best gift I can give my children. They will grow secure in Christ, rather than in me. At least I hope that’s what will happen.
I have just one honest problem with that thought, though. Just because I’m not controlling things doesn’t mean that I trust that God controls them. Again, I think that would show weakness, even for God. I think he works everything for good if we let him. I think his ideal is our well-being and health and happiness, even. But I don’t think that “God is in control.” There’s a lot more going on than that, with Satan and evil and human will. It’s not that I don’t trust God, it’s just that I don’t think he orchestrates everything that happens here.
So how do I surrender control of my kids’ well-being when I know that there are forces out to get them, and when I know that God doesn’t promise me that they’ll live to an old age on this earth?
That’s where I struggle to give up the protective instinct, my desire to take responsibility for everything my kids experience. If I don’t do it, who will?