My husband can fix just about anything. Cars, washing machines, dryers, the siding, bikes, the plumbing, the roof. He built our deck, put up our fence, installed a few water heaters and painted just about every room in our house. Sometimes he fixes things with specific purchased parts, and other times he “MacGyver’s” it out of things he has lying around the house. In our 27 years of marriage, we have never had a repair man in our home.
I wanted to fix things too, except I wanted to fix things I was not supposed to fix. If a friend or family member came to me with a problem, my brain immediately began problem solving and plotting a course of action for them. Instead of listening, I would be patiently waiting for a break in the conversation to give them my sage advice, except that they weren’t coming to me for the Wisdom of Solomon. They just wanted me to listen. And to pray for them.
So I learned to be a good listener and prayer warrior. Except when it came to problems with my kids. That has been another story.
Of course I pray for them. Daily. With fervor. And sweat. And some arguing about God’s timing. And maybe some late night pacing. But I can’t seem to let go of the anxiety. Even now, with my kids being young adults – all it takes is one phone call or late night text to put me over the edge into “fix it” mode, my brain scrabbling to put together a solution for them, every instinct screaming at me to step in and take over.
I have struggled with this ever since my kids problems graduated from skinned knees and broken toys to middle school angst and broken hearts. I would often find myself as torn up and anxiety ridden as they were, or so angry that I wanted to go Mama Bear on someone – often times them. I tried harder and harder to control them or the situation, thinking good parents had good children, and why were my children running amok?
A few years ago, I was sitting in a Companions In Christ class at church, explaining how trying to control my kids made me feel anxiety ridden and hopeless, but that I couldn’t seem to stop because at least by trying to control them, I felt like I was being a good mom. We were reading the story of Jesus and the disciples in the boat, and how the storm hit and the disciples were freaking out while Jesus slept thru it all. The Holy Spirit flipped a switch, and I had an incredible Ah-Ha moment. I was a freaking out disciple, and Jesus was right there in the boat with me.
I shouted, “That’s it! Jesus is in the boat!! He’s in the boat!” And then I had to explain, that no matter the storm, if Jesus is in the boat, you’re going to be okay. I was going to be okay. My kids were going to be okay. Everything, no matter what it looked like outside, was going to be okay, because the Master of All was in the boat. It reminded me of the time my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was four. Feeling helpless and alone, I gave her to God, regardless of the outcome. Regardless of whether she lived or died, she belonged to God and not to me. As the years progressed, I had lost site of that. Finding Jesus in the boat with me, realizing I did not have to calm the storm nor try keep everyone from falling out of the boat, was such a relief.
I still struggle with wanting to take over for God and solve all of my kids problems. And although I have gotten better at surrendering them back to Him, it still scares me to let go. I have to constantly remind myself that He is in the boat, that I can let Him calm the storm. And even in my weakness and in my fear, and in my lack of faith and trust, He still does. For that, I am ever grateful.
Originally posted on The Neighborhood Church Lenten Pasha Blog.