Archive for October, 2015

LET THEM GET WET

I’m not a runner. For a season, I tried to act like one, but that didn’t go so well. My knees hurt and my back ached way too much for someone my age. Because the only thing I loved about running was being finished with my run, I decided to mimic Forrest Gump. I stopped running altogether. I don’t think I have run one since that day many years ago. That all changed recently.

After approaching my normal turn-around-point on my regular walking route, I felt a light mist coming from the sky. Within minutes, the dainty little drizzle turned into a major downpour. Since I was pretty far from home and the rain kept falling harder and harder, I decided to pick up my pace and run. I was certain my knees would cramp, my back would lock up or lock up, or worse yet, I would trip and fall on the muddy path I was on. But, none of that happened. In fact, I marveled at how fast I was able to run and how wonderful I felt. If a car had pulled over and offered me a ride, I would have refused. This unexpected storm had suddenly become a rather sacred moment.

 As I marveled at how my legs were moving so quickly, I could hear Him whisper,

“I will give you just what you need for now.”

Even though the sky was rather ominous, He gently reminded me,

“Like every storm, this shall pass and you will find rest.”

When fears about terrible possibilities arose, He kept saying,

“Abide in me. I will lead you home.”

And, when I lifted my head and noticed how far I still had to go, I heard Him say,

“I am your shelter, your refuge, your help in time of need.”

God had used this sudden shower to reinforce what He had been trying to teach me in the midst of other rainstorms going in my life.  When I was forced to run through this inconvenient and messy rain I was finally able to hear His voice so clearly.

running in rain (2)

I desperately want my kids to know and hear God’s voice like this. Even though I can tell them all about my experience the other day, I know full well that their most intimate encounters with God will happen when they personally experience drizzle, downpours and deluges that come in many different ways throughout our lives. Yet, every time their lives begin to get a little muddy, I always find myself battling this automatic urge to rescue them or rid them of the storm. I guess it’s a momma instinct within me. I also think it’s pretty counter culture these days to let kids weather their own storms. It seems like too many parents have made it their personal mission to make their kids’ lives pain free. “Helicopter parents” who were known to hover over their kids have been quickly replaced by “snowplow parents” who constantly force any obstacles out of their kids’ paths in an effort to ensure their success. According to many college administrators, however, this new breed of protective parenting is depriving them of the grit and resilience they need to make it through college.

Our kids gain these two essential traits when they get wet and have to figure out how to personally navigate their way through their difficulties. This doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t encourage or even offer direction or wisdom to their kids in the midst of their storm. It does mean, however, that as they grow older we remain on the sideline more and let them battle on their own.  This ultimately empowers them to fix the problem they caused, to reconcile with the person they wounded or to face instead of avoid the difficulties they face. When we plow the snow for them, they will never gain the strategies, the steadfastness or the spiritual and emotional strength that is essential for them to experience the abundant life God intended for them in college and beyond.

So, fellow parent, let your kids run in the rain. Let them confront the mud, the muck and the mess. As you let them go, I pray they will hear you encouraging them to press on. And when you are not around or cannot do a thing to make the mess disappear, trust that the storm might just give them the perfect opportunity to recognize and respond to God’s beautiful and voice that will always offer them just what they need.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

 

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