Learning to Loosen Control

This devotion originally appeared on Christian Women’s Living.

Today I removed the rocker from the nursery and placed it in my bedroom.

I am now the proud occupant of my very own reading nook.

But I am not quite sure how I feel about that.

The chair served our family well, as a nursing mamma coupled with babies who refused to sleep, I’ve logged significant time in that rocker. In the early morning hours, I would whisper to myself, “I’ll be glad when my baby will sleep through the night. I can’t wait until my girls can put themselves to bed. I wonder what color I should paint the nursery once we move our youngest out of her crib”

When an older woman would stop me to advise, “Don’t blink now, honey, or you’ll miss it. Children are not young for long,” I cringed. Perhaps it was having had only three hours of sleep or hearing a toddler screaming at the top of her lungs or a child complaining about my menu choice for supper, that no amount of blinking moved the clock forward, no matter how hard I tried.

And then out of nowhere, I found myself with a six-year-old who doesn’t like to kiss her momma anymore because she thinks she’s grown, a four-year-old who suddenly prefers to sleep with her sister than with me and an 18-month-old who refuses to be rocked.

Isn’t this what I wanted? Shouldn’t I be overjoyed at my “new found freedom”?

Then it hit me—I was losing control, and I didn’t like that, not one bit. There is no hiding that I am a control freak who thrives on plans and predictability, and more importantly, wants to be the one puppeteering it all. While looking forward to the benefits of having more independent children, their becoming little individuals “sans moi” has required me to make some unforeseen adjustments of which I’m not altogether fond.

Although I’m quite aware that my girls are still young and it will be a while yet before they wriggle out from under my thumb, they have started to squirm, each one asserting her independence in her own way.

Loosening control takes on many facets that trouble me. Fear has invaded my thoughts. What if they make poor, costly decisions? What if they get themselves into situations that I cannot solve?

In reality, most likely those situations will eventually play out in their lives. As much as I want to protect my girls and shield them from the world, the belief that my husband and I soley determine whether or not they have “good” lives is not only wrong but also unbiblical. The best thing we can do for our daughters is to point them to the One who created them, He who knows them and loves them more than we ever could. Christ’s love is uniquely intimate—each individual child of God is called by name and known as precious.

Unlike today’s “lawnmower” moms, my job is not to manipulate circumstances, not to shield them from consequences and not to always guard them against the realities of a sinful, fallen world. I am not my child’s saviour, and although I think I love them more than anyone else ever will, they are not mine to hold onto forever.

As Christian parents, we know this is the will of God but find it difficult to fully accept and put into practice. Remember the story of Hannah and Samuel? It wasn’t until I held my firstborn that my heart ached for Hannah, and I wondered, “How could she give up her precious child, much less one that she thought she would never have?”

Hannah was able to give Samuel back to the Lord because she realized that Samuel belonged to Him in the first place; she was simply his caregiver for a short time. Surely, it was difficult to leave her little boy with Eli at the temple, but in 1 Samuel 2, we find her singing out prayers with a grateful heart to the Lord, praising Him for His blessings. Reading on, we learn that God used Samuel to play a critical role in the life of David and the development of Israel.

So, how do we willingly and cheerfully release our children to God, with no strings attached? We commit ourselves and our children to the Lord and trust Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. We pray for them, teach them God’s Word, take them to church, set a godly example before them and guide them to a personal relationship with Christ. Again, we pray for them (this can’t be emphasized enough). Beyond this, we must leave the outcome to a sovereign God.

My girls will always be my babies, even when they have babies of their own. I will always feel the need to make sure their bellies are full, their hearts are light and their spiritual lives grounded. Nevertheless, I am human, which means I will disappoint them, perhaps even fail them and probably be the source of pain and hurt at some point. Even so, my prayer is that they always know that while I love them, God loves them more. Like them, I need God’s grace and mercy, which He gives in abundance. Our Heavenly Father is in complete control, and He brings about all things for our good, so we mommas can let go and give our children to Him for safekeeping both now and forever.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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