I had the lovely opportunity to have lunch with my friend, Connie, yesterday. We enjoy one another’s company a good deal, which is quite fortunate since we’re next-door neighbors.
Connie and I both like to laugh a lot, and we both have a high propensity for crying when our hearts are touched. Sometimes, we laugh and cry at the same time. It’s therapeutic.
We have many of the same interests: people, gardening, eating and raising chickens. We also discovered yesterday that we both really like Michigan Cherry coffee and honey-roasted nut butter. Our biggest interest in common, though, is Jesus. We love Him, and we both like to share how He is working in our lives and in the lives of our families. I like this about Connie. She doesn’t stand on ceremony when it comes to sharing her heart. She talks about God as though He is her treasured friend, and she even shares the tough things of life that most people don’t want to talk about. I have never seen hopelessness in Connie, because she continually recognizes that Christ is her Hope.
She’s good for me that way.
Since Connie is old enough to be my mother (sorry, Connie…), I greatly appreciate her perspective on the various stages of parenting I’ve encountered over the past several years. I tend to look too closely at one thorny shrub and forget the whole forest of healthy, beautiful trees around it. Yes, the thorns need dealt with, but we also need to give thanks for all of that hardwood! (Can I get an amen?!) I often leave Connie’s presence thanking God for the trees. Yesterday was no exception.
My kids are growing up. My approach to mothering is changing. The way I approach my 18-year-old must be different from the way I deal with my 14-year-old. And, since this is my first time ever having an 18-year-old, I must determine, kind of on the fly, what that’s going to look like each day. (My poor first child has been a guinea pig on so many levels!) Add that to the fact that my 16-year-old acts a good bit differently than the last 16-year-old I had, and I can easily get confused and overwhelmed, because holy cow! My kids are going to be out in the cold, hard world in no time at all! I have so intentionally mothered for so long, but I am now seeing that there are so many other lessons I wanted to teach them and memories I wanted to make with them! (And, yes, I’m crying…again.)
So. Back to my friend, Connie. When I told her of my worries yesterday, and how I keep trying to not worry, she gave me some of her straight-shootin’ advice:
Trista, you’ve just gotta trust Him. Every time you find yourself worrying, just say, “I trust you, Lord”.
Well, there it is. Thank you, Connie.
This morning, after repenting of my energy-draining, joy-sucking, habit-forming worry, I told the Lord I trusted Him with three of my biggest fears. (Because that’s what worry is, folks. It’s fear. And the Word of God tells us not to fear 365 times, which means that there is one “fear not” for every day of the year.)
I then opened my Bible to John 14 and found a timely promise:
If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
–John 14:15-17a, 26-27
This beautiful passage promises a holy Counselor for us, free of charge. The Holy Spirit speaks into our hearts, never leaving us to navigate uncertain waters on our own. We are also assured that we can have the peace of God in this life. We get to choose whether or not our hearts are troubled, whether or not we live in fear. We just need to lean more firmly into the Holy Spirit for guidance and for peace. We are not alone. (Can I get another amen?!)
Thank You, Lord, for the friends you’ve placed around me. Thank You for working in and through them to effect Your will in my life. Thank You for being an active part of this phase of my parenting and for your vested interest in the lives of my children. Thank You, too, for your precious Spirit, which You have poured out into the lives of Your people to teach us, guide us and encourage us, giving us what we need before we even know we need it.
I trust You.