Nothing teaches you about God’s nature as a heavenly father like being a parent. I have learned so much through the different stages of life we’ve experienced so far about his patience, his unconditional love, his desires for us to “succeed” and win, his devotion, his delight in us, his eagerness to protect and guide us, and more.
Ever since my first little baby girl was born I’ve had the privilege of a front row seat. God graciously invited John and I to be co-directors in the continuing saga of their lives. It’s been challenging, exciting, funny, sad, frustrating, exhausting, joyful, disappointing, humbling, and wonderful. No shortage of dramatic girls for the roles of the three daughters in this story.
About 7-8 years ago the scene began changing as we entered the teen phase of parenting. It started off so smoothly we smugly thought we had it made. “Piece of cake! What’s the big deal everyone’s always talking and whining about? It’s not that different than the last scene.” And really, compared to many we do have it made. Our girls are a delight to us, make us proud, fill our lives so much that we don’t want to imagine what it would be like without them. The last few years have become a bit more challenging however – not just in dealing with teen girl emotions and personalities, sometimes on the verge of diva status, but in morphing our parenting styles and learning that things are different now. Our roles are changing. We’re becoming more and more a part of the audience as God takes more and more of the directing role. The actresses even have more say in their portrayals and how the scenes will go. Whereas they used to gladly listen for our direction and mostly complied, now they seem to be coming up with the plot and actions on their own.
One of my favorite comedians, Jeff Allen, says “Teens are God’s revenge on humankind. It’s as if God himself looked down and said, ‘hey let’s see how they like it to create someone in their own image who denies their existence.'” That cracks me up! Then it kind of stings. As our girls have grown they’ve sought independence more and more. I wish we would have begun sooner letting go and letting them make their own decisions, learning from natural consequences. Too long I tried to control their decisions or at least heavily influence them and I’m seeing the need to sit back and watch.
Sometimes it’s not much fun, especially if they choose something that I wouldn’t choose for them. But I can’t play the part of my daughters. They have to! Their faith won’t mean much if they just go on the word of their parents or other well-meaning believers. They have to search it out, test it, seek and find God on their own. I can’t expect them to live by my convictions – they have to develop their own. We planted seeds in their hearts the best we could and have to trust God will make good things grow. We have to trust them to listen to Him as their new full-time director. We have to love them through everything, whether good or bad in our opinion, and keep letting them know how much we believe in them. We have to keep arms open with grace no matter what.
It’s all a glimpse into what God’s perspective must be of us as we walk through each scene of our lives. He directs but also gives us free will and so endures hurt or disappointment when we make choices He wouldn’t really want us to make. There might be quite a bit of clean-up or work to restore the story so that it’s back on course after a bad choice, but He always stands with arms open. He patiently helps us rewrite and start over. He still believes in us. After all, He’s the one who chose us for this role we play.
I can also sense some of what it must be like for Him when we gladly follow his directions, when we express a desire that is the same as His heart’s desire for our current scene, when we gladly follow Him and admit His way is a good way, the right way. I’m sure He beams!
As I sit in the front row watching my daughters play out the teenage years, I’ve asked God more and more to put his loving, Holy hand over my mouth. He gladly obliges. It’s hard but when I keep quiet, just pray and trust, then I feel free and at peace. After all, it’s only the mid-part of this show. Lord willing, there’s a lot more to come and I know God has some awesome scenes in store for my beautiful girls. I don’t have as big as role as I used to, but at least I’m on the front row!
© copyright Michele Klotz 2009