Like many women, I like to be in control. I enjoy making lists, crossing items off those lists, keeping an orderly home, preparing the diaper bag for every possible scenario, occasionally getting a decent dinner on the table...and I will be the first to admit that I often measure my self-worth by how much gets accomplished in a given day. By the same token - and this realization resides somewhere in the back of my mind, popping up occasionally with surprising clarity - I assume I'm in control of what happens to my son and any future children in our family, when in fact I have very little say in the matter.
Shortly before becoming pregnant with Ryan, I learned that an acquaintance had lost her young baby in a tragic accident. This sobering news not only broke my heart for that warm, faith-filled family, but also made it abundantly clear that our children truly are not our own. They are eternal souls that we have played a part in creating, but ultimately they still belong to God, for however long they're on this earth and for all eternity. It made me feel simultaneously terrified and liberated to have children. The fear, I realized, came from a lack of faith on my part. On some level, I am comforted to know that my child actually belongs to an almighty Lord who loves him far more than I ever could. But in the day-to-day, I want nothing more than to protect him and his happiness. This, I think, is the on-going challenge of parenthood. How can I hold something so incredibly precious with open hands?
With Lent just around the corner, I would like to commit to keeping perspective and remember that nothing is really "mine" for keeps, rather I am asked to be a steward of these great gifts on loan from the one true Father. I invite all control-seekers to join me in a quest for freedom and peace through letting go!