Right now, he’s linked to me, soaking up nutrients and oxygen from my very blood, connected to me by a stranded cord that is his very grip onto life.
But there’s the delivery room and suddenly we’ll no longer be one tiny human and one mom adhered together into a cohesion of flesh and blood. He’ll be held by the doctor and I’ll grab for my glasses to see this separate person, this tiny creation who has been nudging at me all these months and growing inside of me all this time.
For nine months you can only imagine his face, imagine what gymnastic feats he’s performing as he knocks your pregnant belly from side to side.
Then I’ll see him. Then I’ll hold him. Then we are two.
Right there in that moment when the doctor holds up a baby and announces, “it’s a boy,” right then he is on a journey to independence and I’m the one who is supposed to train him for that.
I have time to cuddle, to pray, to advise and teach, to tussle blond hair and put the Band-Aids on the scraped knees, but only for so long.
Enjoy it. Don’t miss it by blinking too long, my older and wiser mom-friends tell me. Independence comes soon enough.
My eight-year-old daughter announces she wants to home school for college so she doesn’t have to leave home.
My four-year-old daughter declares that she’d just like to keep this family and not have one of her own.
But my seven-year-old daughter says it with this wild excitement, “I’m going to go live at college! I can make my own rules and do what I want to do.”
It began in the delivery room, the separation from me, the first breath of their very own lungs taking in that air all on their own and so it goes.
This is my job as a mom, to love them into independence, teach them how to do and what to do on their own.
But that’s not God’s desire for me as my Father, not His parental mission or responsibility. He’s doing the opposite, wooing my independent heart into trust and showing me the lesson of the vine:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me (John 15:4 NASB).
This abiding life, the never separating from God, never stepping out on my own and depending on my own strengths or abilities sounds so simple.
It takes effort to remain in Him.
Dependence after all can feel so uncomfortable, so helpless, so out of control, so uncertain.
In Faith Dare, The: 30 Days to Live Your Life to the Fullest, Debbie Alsdorf challenges readers to a “fasting of self.” She says,
for thirty days you will be placing your self and what you want to do aside, replacing them with the truths in each day’s dare, and concentrating on what God is saying to your heart that day (p 15).
Maybe it’s normally food (chocolate or soda for me!), or media, or social media that makes up our fast. Denying self means this sacrifice of what we want in order to pursue God’s heart, throwing down idols and strongholds and choosing Jesus, just Jesus, only Jesus.
But maybe for me “fasting of self” means a denying of self-reliance, self-assertion, self-direction. It requires that submissive gentleness, the willingness to follow God’s lead wherever, whenever, without worry or anxiety about the journey’s destination or timetable.
Control, worry, anxiety–remove the deceptive disguise and what lurks there?
Peter surprises me when I read his words:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB).
By casting all your anxiety on Him.
John Piper writes:
One way to be humble is to cast all your anxieties on God. Which means that one hindrance to casting your anxieties on God is pride. Which means that undue worry is a form of pride (Future Grace p. 94-95).
It’s my stubborn independence borne from this ugly pride that stirs up worry, after all. I fret because I’m trying to make every detail fit together just right, every problem solved, every conflict resolved, every decision made just perfectly.
I’m trying to do it. I’m reasoning it out, planning in the night, charting possibilities on paper.
Me, me, me.
John Piper continues: “Faith admits the need for help. Pride won’t. Faith banks on God to give help. Pride won’t. Faith casts anxieties on God. Pride won’t.”
Daring faith is denying independence and choosing dependence, throwing over the pride that says, “this all relies on me” and purposefully resting in Him.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King