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Tag: attachment

Being The Soil

Parenting has come with unique challenges for which I often feel unprepared. I don’t know what I expected raising children would be like, but I certainly did not anticipate many of the scenarios I’ve found myself in over the years. I grew up with one sister. One very compliant, easy to get along with sister. Then, the Lord saw fit to give me a house full of boys, all with strong personalities. Our house is anything but quiet, calm, and compliant!

With that as a backdrop, I’d love to share something the Lord taught me a few years ago. It was an encouraging and perspective-shifting message that I have needed to refer back to many times over the years. I’ve found myself reflecting back on it again after some recent parenting challenges.

On a drive home from work one day years ago, I was spending time in prayer. I find that talking with Jesus and driving go hand in hand! On this particular day I had the van to myself, and I spoke out loud, listing specific requests about my oldest child. I remember asking God to use my son’s strong will and turn him into a fine leader one day. I was on a roll, when right in the middle of my talking the Lord gently and firmly interrupted me.

Does that ever happen to you? Just like the verbal processor that I am, sometimes the Lord has to interrupt me to get a word in edgewise. This is one of the ways I know He’s speaking to me. I wouldn’t be able to interrupt myself!

In a way that only He can, the Lord gave me a picture in my mind of a plant growing in the soil. All in a flash, I knew deep in my spirit what He was telling me. He impressed on my heart that I was the soil that my children were growing in. That was my job, to be the soil. To be safe, fertile ground where they could begin to be rooted and grow into who He created them to be. I also felt His kind reprimand that it was not up to me to decide who they would grow to be. He would be the sun and the rain for them, causing them to grow in His timing and to His purposes. My job was just to be the soil.

Wow!

Believe me, I did not come up with that on my own. Experiences like this with the Lord just floor me sometimes. As if to confirm it, a few months later the staff at the counseling center where I work read the book The Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson. We each took a chapter to lead a discussion about in staff meeting. I was assigned the chapter on attachment, and don’t you know, the exact analogy Curt Thompson used to talk about attachment was becoming safe soil in which our children can grow.

Wow, again!

Being the soil is not an action. Rather, it’s a posture of letting go of control. It’s creating a safe place in which my children can grow. It’s providing for their needs, and then watching the Lord do His good work in their lives.

It sounds so freeing and easy. However, over the years as parenting has put me in hard positions when I wished for an instruction manual, I have cried out to God, “What does being the soil really mean? Like, right here and now?” I wish in those moments that He would swoop in and do the disciplining for me!

Still, I am finding that just like He is forming my children, He is forming me through the process of parenting. Becoming good soil is a process too. We are always in process this side of heaven. Parents and children alike need grace.

This week, I found myself sharing this story with a couple of my friends as we met together for Bible study. I confessed a parenting dilemma I found myself in, and as a friend prayed over me, she said, “Lord, till the soil of Ginny’s heart.”

Oh, as she spoke the words, I felt my chest open up inside. I could picture Jesus turning over the compact soil of anger and shame, giving my heart room to breathe, and preparing it to be better growing space.

So, friends, if you too find yourself in a difficult season of parenting, take heart. There is enough grace to cover you and your children. Through Jesus, growth always yields a beautiful harvest.

May we allow ourselves to be freshly tilled soil.

Pause, Renew, Next: Take a deep belly breath, and allow yourself to relax. How is it freeing to think about God being the one who causes your children to thrive, rather than feeling that the full responsibility rests on your shoulders? This week, I encourage you to pray, reflect, and journal about how to be good soil for the children the Lord has placed in your home, offering gratitude for the way the Lord cares for both you and your children.

Pause, Renew, Next!

To Be Known

 

“We all are born into the world looking for someone looking for us.”  Curt Thompson, founder of Being Known

Mom and baby bonding time!

A few moments after my second son was born, I found myself somehow alone in a room with him (a miracle in a hospital).  Just minutes before there had been a rush of doctors and nurses. Then suddenly, we were alone. There he was, all wrapped up like a fragile, little burrito.  I could finally gaze at this little being, who had been growing inside of me for nine months.  

I examined his sweet, tiny face, and began talking to him.  I don’t remember what I said to him, but I do remember that there was an immediate response.  His little head and eyes immediately turned toward the sound of my voice, and he looked me right in the eyes.  In that moment, it seemed as if he was saying to me, “I know you, I recognize your voice. You’re my Mom!”  

That is our design plan.  We’re created to come into the world, ready to connect, to be loved, and to be known.  It’s not a want or a desire.  It’s a need, starting at birth and carrying throughout the lifetime.

To be known is a sacred thing.   We all know countless people but are rarely known by them.  Being Facebook friends or college acquaintances doesn’t satisfy our deep need for relationship.  In fact, some people are friends for years and never really feel known.  Being known requires an intimacy that is sometimes hard won, pushing through vulnerability, conflict, and insecurity.  It can only happen inside of trustworthy relationships, where we feel safe to be our authentic selves.

If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.  But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.   I Corinthians 8:2-3

While I was pregnant with my son, I knew him in a sense.  He spent nine months growing in my womb. I was aware when he was awake and moving.  I knew that he was a boy, and I even had a general time frame for when he would be born.  I had some parenting knowledge and experience.  As the verse above states,  I imagined that I knew something, but I did not yet know as I ought to know.  I didn’t yet know all of the important aspects of my son’s identity: what he would look like, his personality, his quirks, his faults, or his strengths.  

After I gave birth, the knowing process expanded, because I could see and touch him.  I began to understand my son in a new way.  I became available every minute of every day to caring for his needs, understanding his rhythms, learning his sleep schedule, and even being able to discern what his different cries meant.  As he continues to grow, I get to know him in deeper and richer ways.  

How amazing then, that Paul promises, “if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”  We love Him, and we are known.  It’s that simple.  Our Heavenly Father is intimately aware of our comings and goings, our thoughts, our needs, our desires, and our passions.  Even in a marriage of 50 years, a spouse cannot read the other’s thoughts.  By contrast, God can not only read our thoughts, but He knows our thoughts before we’ve even thought them.  He can recite the number of hairs on our heads. That is a level of knowing far beyond what our finite minds can comprehend.

It’s comforting that God knows us fully, but is the process of knowing all one sided?  A few chapters later in I Corinthians, Paul speaks to this, saying: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  I Corinthians 13:12

Just as I loved and knew my infant son intimately, but he could not respond in kind, so we on this side of heaven cannot fully know our Father.  What is now 2 dimensional, as in a mirror, will one day be 3 dimensional, face to face.  One day, we will not just be known; we will know fully.   Our God-given need for connection will be met perfectly.    

Pause: Meditate on the verses above for a few moments.  Is there a particular verse that resonates for you?  

Renew:  Think about a relationship in which you have felt really known and understood.  What set that relationship apart?  How do you experience being fully known by the Lord?  

Next: Being known can sometimes feel vulnerable, particularly if you have been hurt in relationships.  Focus on one close and safe relationship in your life (with your spouse,  a friend, or family member) and contemplate one way you can work at allowing that person to more fully know you.

May we revel in being loved by a God who desires to know us.  I hope that thought leaves you feeling treasured today.

Pause, Renew, Next!

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