Tuesday, September 14, 2010

growing up

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

Training up children to become responsible, independent, capable adults is hard work.  When they are little, it’s physically exhausting.  Then they become adolescents and the work shifts from physically tiring to mentally and emotionally challenging, even for the most delightful of children.    These are the days of the harder issues of life:  unfairness and ignorance, bad attitudes, and broken hearts.  Somewhere during this phase, most of us find ourselves longing wistfully for golden days of the toddler and preschool years, when we were ‘only’ physically tired, and when a band-aid and a kiss fixed everything!

Going back, however, isn’t possible.   And while watching them chart their course for an independent life is far more difficult than watching those first wobbly steps, it’s also infinitely more rewarding.  This time, you CAN’T step in and stop their falls.  You CAN’T remove every sharp object from their path.  And when they DO fall, it seems almost cold and cruel to stand on the sidelines as they try to figure out how to stand back up.  Stepping in to put them back on their feet only prolongs this ‘toddler' phase of adulthood.  But the reward of a caring, capable, independent, responsible young adult child who has become a friend?  Priceless!

Today, with 2 children in college and one newly discharged from the Marines, I am doing lots of watching.  Lots of encouraging.  And lots of wondering.  Did I do enough to prepare them?  What can I do to help?  How can I best see this child through this situation?  How do I understand?   Life is so different now than it was when I left for college many moons ago.  Do I have what it takes to simply stand on the sidelines and pray rather than step in and rescue? 

There are days I feel weary and burdened.  Life is not easy for one of mine right now.  Struggles abound with no easy, quick answers.  The mom heart wants so desperately to step in and fix everything, but the rational parent with an eye on the future knows that’s not the right choice.  So every day…sometimes many times in a day…I take my burdens and lay them down, again, at the feet of the One who knows and loves my children even more than I.  HE is the answer to many of the struggles.  HE knows their needs.  HE owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) and has unlimited resources to tap into.  It is HIS strength I hang on to.  Through it all, I have seen the truth in the words: “…and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  

Today I know a parent…and a young adult…who need a light burden.  I know where to look.  Does my young adult?

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