Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Selfish Prayers

Recently I found myself praying for a solution to a transportation dilemma I am experiencing. Actually, I didn’t pray for a solution, I prayed for a car (is that selfish or what?). And I dressed the prayer in cloths of need. Let me explain.

My kids love our church, and they’ve started asking their friends to go. One friend is even joining our church family, another is becoming fairly regular. Our problem is that on some Sundays, we just don’t have enough room to transport everyone and we have to say “no.” So I found myself actually praying specifically for a 7-seater vehicle (that sounds so selfish).

But it is my belief and understanding that we can go to God with all our requests and that God wishes to know all the desires of our hearts. So that is what I did. However, I don’t think God intends for us to go to him with a need, and hem him in with our narrow-minded solution. God knows the solution to our dilemma; not I. God sees things that we can’t even imagine (see my prior post, God Cares Even for the Smallest Details, for an example).

It's not the praying for the need that's selfish - God wants to know. But it's confining God to a desired solution that I believe is selfish. So rather than ask for the miracle of a 7-seater vehicle, (because that truly would be a miracle), I instead turn the problem over to God to solve as he sees fit. Larger car? Maybe. Additional adult drivers? Who knows, but I look forward to God’s solution, not mine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God Cares Even for the Smallest Details

Isn’t God amazing?

I know and love some unbelievers. I would like to be able to tell them stories of huge miracles in my life, proof positive that God exists. Mountain-moving miracles that confirm God beyond a doubt. But I can’t.

But I CAN tell stories of small miracles, and that’s one of the things that amazes me about God. God cares even about the small stuff!

Let me elaborate on one such small incident.

Recently my daughter was upset with news regarding a youth group church camping trip, and learned that she would not be attending the same weekend as her friends from church. (Small stuff I know, but pretty big to a teenager). There was nothing we could do to fix it. She registered early and was able to attend the only weekend she was available. Unfortunately the rest of the group registered late, and the weekend was full. They would have to attend an alternate weekend.

There were just two solutions I could see: 1) go individually, meet new friends and make the best of it; or 2) cancel and stay home.

But God saw it differently. God rearranged the pieces and solved the puzzle in a manner that is complete and beautiful, because he made it possible for the whole church youth group to go together. God made it possible for the camp to accommodate more kids, thus enabling her entire youth group to go together.

Small stuff, I know. But it just goes to show that God cares even for the smallest of details. God’s love is truly amazing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Where do I Draw the Line?

Being a parent isn’t always easy; heck, it’s rarely easy. Especially, I think, when we talk about teenagers. One challenge is knowing where to draw the line between letting kids make their own decisions (and mistakes), versus stepping in and laying down the law. Here’s an example.

My oldest daughter, God bless her, is focused on and determined to get as much college completed in high school as possible. This so she will have less time needed to complete her education after high school, thus saving her parents lots of money in tuition, and lessening her need for student loans, etc. And whatever else may be her motivation (she’s a very private person), she is strong-minded and resolved. She attends an Early College High School.

The curriculum and homework by itself is enough to be rigorous to most kids, but she also participates in competitive gymnastics. She is a level 7 optional gymnast. Which means she practices – a lot!

It is the combination of both that is my worry, as it is too heavy a load. Staying up until 2am to get it all done isn’t the answer, as she is becoming more and more sleep deprived, and I worry that she will injure herself or become sick. So as a parent, where do I draw the line?

I admire her tenacity to get a good education and I feel proud that she is so dedicated. And while I don’t think gymnastics is as crucial as her education, it is still important. She’s building strength, flexibility, and coordination, and it is a physical release for her of some of the stresses in her life. She also LOVES it.

So how do I respond to this situation when I see the toil this heavy load takes on her life? Do I suggest she go to an easier school that will still provide her a good education? Or do I tell her to back off of gymnastics and not worry about her competitions? Do I insist in one or the other? Where exactly is that parenting line – where I let her make her own decisions versus where I step in and make the decision for her?

I want to be a supportive, loving parent that does the right thing for my kids. I just wish it were easier to know exactly what that is.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Restarting the Blog

It's been long enough to have a baby since my last post - but not to worry, there are no announcements of new kids in the family. Rather I've just taken a break from writing - all writing. But I'm thinking maybe it's time to get back into it, and that restarting my blog might be a good first "baby" step towards developing healthy new writing habits.

But I am one reader short now. My mother passed away in November. I've missed her so much, still do, and there are so many times I wish I could talk to her again. She always read my blog, and even though she rarely posted a comment, she often verbalized thoughts to me about my posts. I'm going to miss that too. She was a remarkable woman, full of integrity, compassion, and candid honesty.

So for any readers who stumble across this blog or those who are still subscribed, please know that I appreciate hearing from you. I miss my mother’s oftentimes un-asked-for advice, and especially its truthfulness. I’d love to hear it from you too.

Stay tuned for weekly posts!