My firstborn started kindergarten this week. She walked into a big school with big kids, armed with an oversized butterfly backpack and, most notably, without me.
While I’m excited for what awaits her at school, my heart aches because I know she’ll meet mean kids. She’ll realize that she’s shorter than everyone else. She’ll face math.
I wish I could grip her hand as she encounters these challenges, whispering encouragement and truth into her little ears and stepping between her and the mean kids.
My struggle to trust God with others
As I struggled with letting go, I turned in my Bible to the story of Jesus walking on the water (Matt 14:22-33). This story usually comforts me when I’m the one in the storm. It encourages me to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him when things are tough. If Jesus is powerful to keep Peter on top of the water during heavy winds and rain (like literally, y’all), then He is able to rescue me from whatever big or little trials I face.
But as I read this story after dropping my daughter off at kindergarten, no peace followed. Picturing her stumbling through a storm on thrashing waves just about kills me. I’m too much of a control freak to passively sit by when she might sink.
I wish I could say this is a rare experience for me, but it also happens with all the people I love—my husband, sister, nieces, friends, and mom. Instead of having faith that God will intervene if needed, I would rather jump into the water to save them myself. It’s easier for me to give my own struggles to God than for me to trust him with the people I love.
Subduing the control-freak in me
Whether it’s my child getting her feelings hurt by a classmate, my oldest friend trying to care for her family as she recovers from major surgery, or my husband tossing in bed as he wonders how to handle a complicated situation at work, I want to be the fixer. I long to comfort them with my words, guide them with my wisdom, and solve their problems with my ideas.
But in reality, nothing I can say or do will ever match what God can accomplish. I need to put my overbearing tendencies aside and let God be God.
Even though I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it, God loves my family and friends more than I ever could. He knew them before I did and formed their personalities and quirks. He knows what frightens them and is able to protect and lead them to the exact place He wants them.
Helping others from inside the boat
While there is obviously a role for me to play in supporting my loved ones in their angst, a lot of times my main role is to stay in the boat and cheer them on as they learn how to look to God for help. All the while, I can keep praying.
I can pray that their focus will remain on Jesus as they walk through the storm.
I can pray that when the winds blow really hard, they will still believe that God is good and working.
I can pray that they will call out to Jesus—not just others—when they start to sink.
I can pray that He will continue rescuing them from whatever storm they face and help them walk in confidence and peace.
I have a hunch that God would love to answer these prayers. I also have a hunch He would love to keep this mama afloat as I watch the clock, counting down the minutes until it’s time to hop in the car to pick up a dear little kindergartener that I love.