Then I became a mom and while at first I thought I had a handle on this parenting thing, the longer I did it the less I realized I knew...and the less I seemed to be able to "fix."
When they were little, I was somehow able to deal with the skinned knees, the temper tantrums or even the struggles with school. After all, I was bigger than them and their mom so of course it was my job to "fix" it all. Now that they are adults (or close to it) the less and less I seem to know. In fact, the only thing I now know is that I don't know much at all! And yet still I try to fix....
I recently heard a message by Priscilla Shirer where she was talking about the children of Israel facing the Red Sea and it really hit home. Like the Israelites, I have felt lately as a parent like I am facing some insurmountable obstacles and the enemy is getting ready to completely do me in. I heard the Word of the Lord to stand still and see His deliverance, and while I believe Him, I also started trying to figure out HOW He could do it. I started to try to "help" God and figure out HOW He was going to fix this mess.
Perhaps He wanted me to take some wood and build a raft and help carry my family across. Maybe He planned for me to kill the Egyptians with unbelievable strength as I displayed my skills in hand to hand combat. Maybe He would give me the funds to build a bridge and somehow delay the enemy long enough for me to build the first bridge to ever cross a sea. I bet He has planned to send someone to convince my enemy that they are wrong to try and destroy my family. The one thing that probably DIDN'T occur to them was that the sea would completely part from the other side and not only would it make a path wide enough for my family and friends to cross over, my sandals wouldn't sink into the mud...in fact they might even get a little dusty as I walk across on dry ground.
Nope...that never occurred to me. My mind just couldn't wrap around that "how."
C.S. Lewis once said, "I gave in and admitted that God was God," and if I could add my own part to that, "and He doesn't need my help to figure out HOW to fix things." My job is to simply STAND and trust that no matter how it looks, God can be trusted to do what He promised.
With my children, this can be hard to believe. After all, I love them more than life itself and I honestly do want what is best for them. I find God's promises for my family and then I do my best to try and figure out HOW those promises will come to pass (and what I need to do to hurry along the process.) And the results are worry and fear. That doesn't sound much like a God kind of life to me.
Then the other day I felt like I heard what God was saying to me. "Let go of HOW and just trust that I am true to the promises made to you."
I have said before that my children don't belong to me - they never have. I'm not talking about the fact that they are adopted. Even if they had been born to me, they still would not belong to me. They are His children. I love them with every part of me...and yet God loves them more. I only want the best for them and will do my best to provide...and yet God KNOWS what is best for them and has far more provision than I could ever have. I may think I know how to "fix" things, but all I have is some duct tape and band-aids. He can make things completely new.
So I am learning to let go of HOW and learning to just stand and watch as God parts the Red Sea in front of me. It may not look like anything is happening, and at times it looks like I will only watched the dreams I once had be destroyed, but the wind is blowing and that sea is parting and the enemy that is breathing down my neck I will "see no more forever." My job is to stand on His promise and trust in Him.
Will the victory look like I thought it would? Probably not...that's okay. God fixes things much better than I ever could. I look forward to one day being able to share the story with my descendents of HOW God parted the Red Sea and I was there to see it!
Exodus 14 (The Message) (Emphasis mine)
10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!
They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”
13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.
14 God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.17-18 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”
19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.
22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.
The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”
26 God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen.”
27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.