I used to agonize over how my children and grandchildren would turn out. When I saw them making poor choices I would try to ‘fix it’ for them so they wouldn’t experience the pain I knew was sure to come.
When they were little it was easier to do this and be in complete control of what their choices were…but as they got older and became their own person I began to realize I was losing that control, and fear would grip me.
As a parent you learn with each new year in the upbringing of your children that each year you have to let go a little more if you want them to learn how to grow up and make good choices. From the time that baby takes his first step he is always moving away from you. Oh, at first they toddle into your arms, but soon they start toddling off to explore on their own.
And the years accumulate…and one day you have grandchildren. As a grandparent you feel a whole new set of worries and even more the lack of control as your offspring grows and develops.
The cycle goes on and one.
All throughout my children’s lives I prayed Psalm 91 over them and it brought me great peace for His constant intervention in their lives.
That because “they dwell in the secret place of the Most High they shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty Whose power no foe can withstand.”
And I would pray the whole 91st Psalm through with their names right in there.
I also prayed Isaiah 54:13
“And all my children shall be disciples, taught by the Lord and obedient to His will, and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of my children.”
Now, my adult children have learned the value of praying the words of God’s own protection over their own families.
One day as I was praying for my grand kids and trying to not worry about their lives that I had less control over, Jesus spoke to me.
This is what He said:
“Dixie, did you not pray my word over your children all the years they were growing up?”
“Yes, Lord, you know I did.”
“Do you think my word returns to me void? That it just fades away, or does it accomplish the very thing you have prayed in the lives of your children ?”
“I believed and have witnessed your word at work in them always, and I know they love you and are protected by you..so the answer is YES!”
“Do you believe your grandchildren are your children too? And are They a part of you?”
Starting to get it now, I said, “Why, yes they are!” Then He said,
“That same word that you prayed for so many years for your babies, now covers your grand babies as well…my word never stops and always accomplishes what I sent it out to do. Your faithfulness to pray will cover your generation and generations to come will know me because of your prayers.”
Light Dawning!! Wow!
So, here is what He showed me.
Back in the time of Moses, Pharaoh felt threatened by the Israelites and ordered all the midwives to kill any baby boys born to the Israelite people by drowning them in the Nile River.
But Moses’ mother wouldn’t have it. She hid him as long as she could, and when she could no longer hide him, she put him in a basket and put the basket in the water among the reeds of the Nile.
The very river that could have drowned him was now his refuge.
She had no idea what would happen to her baby, but she trusted the plan of God for her and her baby.
As we know, baby Moses was drawn out of the water and would one day grow to become one of the greatest heroes of the Bible – the one who would rescue God’s people from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land.
There comes a time – many times, actually – in the lives of our children where we have to put the basket in the water. Being a Mom, and a Nana I have had to do this many times and not without much pain.
Gosh, it is so hard to let go of them, isn’t it?
We have to let go and trust the plan of the Father. The world is a scary place – a place where we fear our children could drown. But we must remember that we have to let go so that God can draw them from the waters for His great purpose. He has called us to be their parents, but they were His first.
My friend, whatever water you may be getting ready to put your basket into – whether your days as a stay-at-home-mom are ending as your child starts preschool soon or if your baby has grown into a high school graduate and is getting ready to leave your home, or if your children are grown and have babies of their own – remember that you have to put them in the water for God to draw them out and place them into His perfect plan.
Though you might not be physically present with your child as much during the next phase of life, you can always call for the heart of the Father on their behalf. And when you do this, that same Spirit that Jesus left with His disciples – that same Helper – intercedes for you, and in that you can find peace. And it doesn’t stop when they are grown. He will continue to cover them and intercede for them and their children as life goes on.
You are doing great. Find His peace in the fact that He will sustain you and your offspring for always. Your prayers are NEVER wasted!!
Have you ever suffered from burn out? I have and when I was in the middle of it I didn’t know what was going on…until I talked with a friend, who happens to be a therapist, and she said it sounded like I was suffering burn-out.
I felt like everything was the same as always, but, in actuality I had been experiencing major blows of loss, emotionally, in my personal life….family, and disappointments and lack…that just kept happening with no end in sight.
And still is, actually.
And when this happens we know that we don’t fight flesh and blood but evil wickedness in high places. But knowing is not enough. We still feel exhausted and weak. One after another I felt like my walls of strength were being beat upon by an enemy who is trying to beat me down to the point of just not caring anymore.
It seemed like everyone else was experiencing changes, good changes, in their lives. To me, watching them, I felt as if life was moving for them and for me it stands still.
And will it ever change?
Your head says one thing and your heart knows better, but you just feel
tired and kind of don’t care anymore. Even though I know we are on a journey and being at this place is only preparing me for good things ahead it still “feels” tiring.
So, have you been there? Or are you there right now?
You just want to go to bed. Or just zone out in a book. (which can be good depending on what you are reading.)
Here are the 4 things I have found that is really helping me with this struggle and I think they may help you too:
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. It really goes back to the choice doesn’t it?
In those moments when I choose to stop complaining and instead give thanks to God for the good in my life, the parts that seem bad start to seem much less significant. Choose to keep a positive attitude and thankful heart regardless of what you’re going through. Just keep standing and waiting.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Remember that your struggles always lead to strength and faith. Every difficulty in your life, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strength, faith and perseverance in you if you let Him! All your pain has a purpose.
“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
Remember that God’s timing is always perfect.
God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect! Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own.
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
Remember that God will never leave your side.
You may feel like you’re going through this struggle all alone, but from the moment you invite Jesus into your day and your particular situation, He will be by your side to the end so never lose hope!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 31:6
I have had some hard things to let go of over the last several years. Of course, embedded within us when the enemy tries to destroy us, where thorns and thistles prosper, we earthlings will always have those things nearby to remind us that this place in no permanent home. We long for a better country.
I believe in God’s faithfulness in raising to life what is dead. I have seen it and I have experienced it. Then I remembered the life giving force of Jesus, alive and well in the lives of all those I reach out to in coaching….
…and I thought how sometimes we have to accept what has died or refused to come to life or produce a whit of fruit…
…and we have to let it go.
Instead of staring at it for months on end as a monument to our loss, we sometimes need to cut it down, pile it up, move it out or let it burn.
Because often God chooses to resurrect something that has died.
But other times He wants us to call it what it is – dead – and let it go, knowing that He is good. He cannot fail to be good.
That’s what Jesus said He does with what, over the proof of time, does not remain. It is “thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up.” (John 15:6)
He “takes away every branch that does not bear fruit” and He “prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
He’s all about the fruit.
That doesn’t mean you forget. Some things are too big to forget. But I’m learning to quit begging him to bring back to life those things He wants me to let go of.
Trying to resuscitate what’s not coming back to life just leaves you out of breath.
God will not leave us comfortless. He will not leave us alone. He will not leave us fruitless. He will either resurrect the dead or grow something brand new.
I say this to you with deep compassion and empathy if you have experienced burn out from so many things changing or are just plain gone….
..if it is gone, let it go.
And I know with all my heart and all my faith that something new is coming. Both for you and for me. Nothing stays the same forever.
We are on a journey and sometimes we have to descend into the valley before we get to the mountain.
I need to give myself space to feel what I feel. And you will surely – as surely as God is faithful and Jesus is the fleshing out of life itself – live to see something you couldn’t have expected. Something hanging on could never have given you.
We’re here too brief a time on earth to spend days on end grieving what could have been. We’ll talk to Jesus about that when we get Home. We’ll have forever then. For now…
Let it go.
So something new can grow.
Water it with your tears if you must but release your fears that nothing but nothingness is ahead for you. Is God your God? As sure as He is, new life is coming.
All the deadness did not manage to kill you.
You are stronger than you thought. Stretch out your arms like mighty branches even if, for now, they’re little twigs.
It is to your Father’s glory that you bearmuch fruit.
Actively letting go is a little more pro-active than when you are forced to let go.
It’s a practice.
It’s being awake.
It can bring great relief.
Except for the agony of it!
It is not the same as “passively letting go”. Like when you have no choice…whereby life rips stuff out of your grip, or you paint yourself into a corner, or life gets suddenly interrupted by a sudden loss.
I’m talking about a decision to let go of something that only Jesus can heal or take care of.
We are not saviors. He is!
5 Things I know by experience about actively letting go:
1. There’s always more to let go of. Our life is a journey of surrender. The sooner we realize we are not the fixers, the sooner we are released from the burden of trying to figure it all out. And sometimes we have to let go of the same thing 100 times or more.
2. Letting go is painful – in varying degrees, and it is going to stretch you until you feel pain. It leaves an emptiness, a place that the thing took up, that you then have to ask Jesus to fill up for you.
3. When you find the strength in your spirit to be tough enough to let go, you cross over a sacred line. And on the other side, His tenderness is waiting for you for He has just been waiting for you to release it, (or them, or whatever it is that you were holding onto).
4. Baby steps are okay, but you can’t avoid the pain that surfaces when you commit to the letting go and the longer you wait, the longer it takes to see Him fixing the thing you had a vice grip on.
5. Acceptance is obedience and obedience means intimacy with the One who stands there waiting patiently for you to get there.
When you just accept that the pain of letting go is part of the deal, your let-go wound will heal faster.
I’ve had to let go of a dizzying amount of things in a relatively short amount of time:
Our joint investigation business, a steady income as a result, my picture of what my ministry should look like by now, my books selling as fast as I wanted them too, adult children (whom God-is-doing-amazing things-in-their-lives-but-only-after-I-gave-up-trying-to-make-it-happen by-myself, and got out of His way), my house, my mother, our joint income, vacations as I knew them, Grandbabies growing up, a lifestyle I cherished, friends moving on…need I go on?
But I’ve surrendered to the endlessness of it. And it’s a resolution that softens my spirit. It is a solution of surrender…which means growth and trust and intimacy with the One that I trust to handle it all for me; the things out of my control…
Where I got in the way!
Deep, deep, deep in my soul, beneath limits of time, and fantasies, and things I “captured” along the way that I thought I could fix, is the freedom that has been pulling me forward my whole life. Forward right into His lap.
Gazing into His eyes with my spirit, even though each and every time it is like cutting off an appendage, I let go of my priceless treasures that are outside of my control, and give it all to Him.
So I’m still shedding — taking deep breaths and actively letting go. I’m not waiting until I’m ready to let go. I’ve waited long enough. Carried stuff long enough. Longed long enough.
For that tender place, dancing with Him, on the other side of courage.
And you know what? In each and every case after actively letting go, I have found the reality of truly living by faith…for He has never let me down.
And I have delightfully discovered that He does a much better job of fixing than I can.
So, take a deep breath, and as an act of faith, share with me those things you have truly let go of too!
She sat in my office crying her heart out seeking an answer for depression. A young mother of 3 children who just could not seem to get it together or define why she was so unhappy and miserable. She said she loved being a mom and her marriage was just fine. I was stumped and began to just call on the Lord to help me, help her!
Finally, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Ask her about her mother.” Up until that point her mother had not been mentioned. So I said, “Tell me about your Mom.”
She looked at me in shock and literally crumbled into a sob that went on for quite a while. She finally was able to tell me that her mom controlled her entire life. She had no freedom to make her own choices with her own children. Every day her mom showed up at her house to come in and make sure she was handling her life according to what her mom wanted. She disclosed she was not free to go out with her husband unless her mom approved and was the babysitter and knew what she was doing every minute. It was causing problems in her marriage and her husband hated her mom for it.
I could see the guilt and shame come in as she talked, and the little girl qualities emerge. This girl had spent her entire life letting her mom rule everything she did. Her mom never let her grow up and she allowed it. She hated her weakness for not being able to tell her mom no, or being able to just grow up and take care of her own children or make her own decisions.
She was stuck.
I wish I could say I was able to help her. Once I began to share with her about boundaries and how the power was hers to learn to say no, she began to back track and make excuses. Her fear of her mom was palpable and it wasn’t long before I got a call that she just couldn’t afford any more sessions. I knew she just could not handle making this shift of saying no to her mother.
How sad we give others so much power over us!
Being set free is being willing to learn to let go of controllers in our lives.
Even when it is family.
There are plenty of people out there who live their lives through controlling others.
Self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit. When we have self-control, and you get it from being with Jesus and asking for His self control to fill you, by faith, we maintain the ability to stand up to aggressive controllers who try to tell us who we should be and what we should do.
Do you have any controllers in your life?
Consider the following situation in the Bible where Peter, Jesus’ disciple, acts in a controlling manner:
Mark 8: 31-33– “Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
One of the most important benefits of having boundaries is that we do have the ability to stand up to others when they try to control our lives. It is hard to confront but it is absolutely necessary if you want to move forward with God at the helm of your life.
It does take courage. But God has given you all you need to step out and take control of your own life.
Peter wanted to impose his own design for Jesus’ life onto Jesus, but Jesus had good boundaries; he stood up to Peter and rebuked him.
Jesus showed that he was in control of himself and would not be defined and controlled by Peter, no matter how good Peter’s intentions might have been. The truth is that Peter was thinking, not of God’s purposes, but of his own agenda. Peter was trying to rescue Jesus instead of turning the situation over to God.
Are you defined by controllers or by God?
Although we are wise to listen to others and be open to their feedback, we should never allow someone to be in control of us and define who we are.
Setting appropriate boundaries with people helps us to retain that kind of freedom and self-control.
Our actions have consequences, but If you take responsibility for things that aren’t yours–by not having boundaries, for instance–you put a roadblock into one of God’s best teaching instruments He has for His children.
The young mother I was coaching said her mom was prone to anger if she stood up to her. So, in her timidity, she walked on tiptoes around her mom, trying to placate her, and then when the mom would be pushy or tell her what to do the little-girl-mom-herself would apologize and try to repair the relationship with her mother..thus letting her mother have her way once again.
She was the one who was reaping the discord in her home, not her mother.
Enabling someone to control us is NOT walking in the love of God with them. They do not have to confront their own issues as long as you give them control over you. Their issues become yours. How can God work in their life if you are reaping the consequence of their choices and not they themselves?
That is why they can throw major manipulative fits when you finally say NO to their demands!
We aren’t meant to reap the consequences of the controllers actions of disobedience. We are supposed to let people bear the consequences of their own actions.
We are each responsible for our own stuff.
Have you ever noticed that Jesus set limits on Himself. He didn’t heal everyone all the time; often He left areas where there were still people who needed His help because it was time to move to the next place. He carved out time to pray, away from His disciples, to spend time with God. He carved out time away from the masses, just with His disciples, to train and minister to them.
If Jesus had let His schedule be determined by what people needed Him to do rather than by what He was called to do and what He was able to do, His ministry would not have been as effective. He needed time alone to rejuvenate and time alone with God, and He took it. He knew that He couldn’t do everything–even if other people needed Him.
He had His limits.
When people join support groups for other family members of those suffering from addictions, such as Al Anon, one of the first things they are told is that you can only change yourself, and you must not take responsibility for changing another person.
But at the same time, you must also allow that other person to reap the natural consequences of their actions, or they will not change. You must stop enabling bad behavior.
Why is it that Christians think that being a pushover, or letting others get away with wrong behavior, is Christ-like?
He didn’t call us to be door-mats.
God’s will is that we look more and more like Christ.
In your family, are your actions encouraging others to look more and more like Christ, or are they covering up and enabling others to look more and more un-Christlike?
If you aren’t setting healthy boundaries of responsibility in your own life, then it’s quite likely that others who are allowed to control you will be looking less and less like Christ, rather than more and more like Him.
Through popular demand I am reprinting a favorite of readers for this Christmas season. Enjoy!!
This time of year turns my heart back to family, and those warm memories of when my kids were little and all the excitement of the holidays and watching their faces of wonderment as we decorated the tree and prepared for all of our family traditions. I actually conjure up tears of longing for those days gone by since my babies are not babies anymore. It was one of the happiest times of my life.
When they were little I never wanted them out of my sight. I kept them so close. I endeavored to build into them a confidence that I would always be there for them. Beginning with that first step at around one year old; when a mom has that sense of uneasiness that already they are beginning to move away from us. I sense it. I was like any other Mom when their adorable child takes the first step. You feel like they are the smartest kid in the world. But deep down was this feeling of dread; that each new day in their young lives they would move a little bit farther away from me, until one day, God forbid, they would leave and start a life without me there. Ouch!
My determination became to teach them about Jesus every chance I could. I would not leave it up to their Sunday school teachers, Christian School teachers, or anyone else to do my job of bringing my kids to Christ and to the best of my ability teach them how to live. I wanted them to know that whatever came into their life they would always have Him and He would direct their paths and be their constant companion. They both came to me at around 4 or 5 years old and asked if I would pray with them to invite Jesus into their young lives. What a joy that day was!!
Now, as a Grandmother I have endeavored to be the same kind of example to my grandchildren.
But I digress….
When my babies started school, this is how it went: Kindergarten and first grade when they would return to me at the end of their day, they were always full of joy to see me, we had a snack together and they would play and rest. I would say, “I’m so glad you are home”….and I meant it.
The following years came and went with each new year they grew a little more independent. At first they wanted to be where they could see me, but not too hovering or clingy. Every day when they would come home the instant they opened the door they always said, “Mom, I’m home”, and I would breathe easy once again because my babies were mine again, at least for that day.
Then came Junior High School; the time when I became an embarrassment to them if they were seen with me in front of their friends. And the time when you wonder if aliens have inhabited your kids. One day they get up and they even look different. Then they open their mouths and then you know for sure it is not them…and a part of you grieves. You know that your babies are not babies anymore. That time is past. But wait, they still come home at the end of the day and yell, “Mom, I’m home”, and for a moment all is well with the world again. They still have weak moments of reverting back on occasion and when no one is looking they would lay their head on my shoulder or hug me, and my heart would soar once again.
And High School followed. This was a tough time for me because it was when my own life fell apart. To learn more about that you will have to read my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” and you will find it on Amazon. The kids’ Dad had left us and so we were driven closer together in adversity by having to move out of our house and into a tiny apartment, but farther apart because it was a time they tried to find their bearings in life, and it seems like they slipped right out of my grasp. It was painful in not only the loss of my life as I knew it but also I couldn’t pretend my kids were babies anymore. And I was alone; double whammy. Now, we all went different ways. But they still came home at the end of their days at some point, and I would always hear, “Mom, I’m home”…..and for a brief moment I closed my eyes and hung onto those memories once again.
Then they left. They flew out of the nest. And oh, it was so painful to let my babies go. All you parents out there who have had kids leave, can relate. A hole is left in your heart that it takes a while to figure out how to function again without your kids always being in the back of your mind and how whatever you are doing might affect them. They have their own life now.
But then they would come back to see me and once again I heard that welcome phrase when they would walk in the door; “Mom, I’m home”……I realized, at that point, that to them, it wasn’t where I lived that was their home…It was the fact that home is where I am.
They are 38 and 42 today and when I look at them I still see my babies. And they will flinch when they read this but, no kidding! I think that is how God sees us. Not by our age but because we are His children He always loves us as such. Of course we have to grow up, even as our earthly kids do, and mature into an even greater relationship with Him. And this is what I want for my kids. My kids still say, “Mom, I’m home”, or sometimes, “Mom, I’m here”, always knowing that I will be overjoyed to see them at any time.
One day my life here on earth will be through and I will be in Heaven. My vision has always been that on a given day in Heaven as I am going about my tasks that Jesus and I decide will be my calling there, everything will stop for me. Suddenly an awareness will fill my being that something wonderful is about to happen. I hear a distant familiar sound! The anticipation and joy lifts me off the ground in awesome glory. And then, I will hear it oh so clearly; the voice of my children is as familiar as my own voice. “Mom, I’m Home”….”Home” now being our real home, Heaven, where we were always meant to be after this brief life on earth. Oh what joy will fill my heart.
We will never be apart but we will all be home with our wonderful Jesus and each other. “Mom, we are home”….to dwell together for all eternity. This is our heritage, dear parents. This life with our kids is so short compared to eternity spent with them in God’s kingdom. Tell your children about Jesus every chance you get for as they grow in Him He will be their stabilizing force!! It is never too late, either, to share this good news with your kids if they don’t already know it. There is a wonderful place we are all going to live after this life.
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT