arts, movies, music, pop culture · faith · family · parenting

I cannot save you

Who doesn’t want to be a hero? I played Wonder Woman as a kid. Did the twirling thing, lassoed some ne’er-do-wells in my time. I wanted the world to be a safer place because of me and thought it would be cool to rescue those in distress. Though I have to say the invisible jet thing always seemed odd. (I can totally see you. How is that invisible?)

And as we grow up, we still want to be a hero. We want to be significant and meaningful, a key player at work, the MVP on a team, the face of a good cause. Whatever it is we get involved in, we want to matter. And this is a good thing. Right up until it’s not.

Don’t get me wrong. Playing our part throughout life and all of our spheres of influence is a calling and an essential component of maturity. We grow up to take our place, responsible for the many hats we wear, and do our best to wear them all well.

The problem in some ways is a matter of competence. We get deluded when we think we are doing well and can handle everything in our lives. We start to think that it’s actually possible for us to be a perfect, well, everything – that we truly can have it all. It’s what our society tells us. And we are constantly getting help and tips on achieving this “all” that we can have. Better apps, easy recipes, one-click shopping, as if life is manageable and customizable like a google toolbar.

But when it all starts to unravel, where do we turn? Who ya gonna call?

Too often, I think it’s up to me. I make the mistake of thinking that *I* have to be the one to get it together. I consider my skill set and experiences and formulate plans to get myself or someone else who needs me out of a bind.

And now, I think about my daughter. I take care of her. I am her hero. I get a little warm fuzzy every time she cries until I pick her up and she smiles a huge smile because all she really wanted was her mama. And it makes me feel like I can solve all her problems and make all her fears go away.

For now, sure. But there’s a day fast approaching when I can’t. It won’t be a checklist of things she’s could be crying about – it won’t be her pacifier fell out or she’s hungry or tired or needs a new diaper. I will want to hold her and rock her to sleep but she won’t fit in my lap any more and she will be taller than me (hopefully). And just like how I think her eyes are changing from blue to brown now, and I’m a little sad about it, there will come a day, I will have no control whatsoever over her and will sit helplessly by, racking my brain with plans to “save” her. (And I will love her brown eyes to death so don’t go and judge me… I was just being honest in hoping that she will have her daddy’s eyes.)

My child is not in my hands. Not really. Though God chooses to use my hands for a time, I have to recognize that my hands will not save her. They cannot. It would be too flimsy a salvation. It would be too impermanent and shallow. It will not be my words that will change her mind or my example that will lead her. Not really. Though she may learn from me and what little wisdom I have gathered so far, and though she may do things I do because they seem right to her, for all they are worth, it is not in her mom’s heart that she will ultimately find the grace she needs and longs for. Her mama’s heart will only be a path to a greater Heart Who loved her first, Who reaches down through all time and space to hold her and lead her. It is only He Who was and is and is to come Who made a way to redeem her life, offering her true and perfect love for all eternity.

And so I pray, oh how I pray for her, that I will never get in the way of her true salvation. That I will remember it isn’t in how great a mother I am, nor in how compelling and eloquent my words to her. It isn’t in my deep, overflowing love for her, as much as I do love her, and it isn’t in the way I will always strive to live my life knowing the two little watchful eyes are on me. I must remember and rest fully in this knowledge that He who began a good work in Naomi will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  (Phil. 1:6) And that nothing I do or fail to do will separate her from His love and His calling to her spirit to walk with Him. (Rom. 8) The joy in this is also knowing that the ways I fail her, and I will fail her, are not permanent, that love can and will conquer all and that in her life she will face many troubles, but that she has the same Rock and Peace that I have learned to cling to through all my troubles.

It’s not easy to give up the hero cape. We want so much to be the significant ones and of course we are significant in our children’s lives. Of course we have a profound impact and influence on the people our children become. But for good or for bad, the daily expression of who they become is between them and God alone. They will either surrender their will to Him or not, and it will be an ever constant process between those two things regardless of how “well” we did our jobs as parents. As we believe the promise of the covenant God has made with us, and as we come to understand just how very much we must trust Him with our lives as well as our kids’ lives, we must continually rest in His goodness and mercy lavished on us and our children, that He will guide them and protect them and save them. That He alone will be the Hero we all desperately need.

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