On my hall table are several pictures of my children, favorite photos of time-stamped memories. I have a verse on the wall above. I confess their proximity to one another isn’t lost on me.
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
I’ve been accessing my role as a mother lately—acknowledging my tendency to hold certain things just a little too tightly in my heart. The funny thing—when you start examining your heart and ask God to reveal what’s in there—where you end up might surprise you.
For instance, these days the most pressing thing on my heart is the welfare of my children—specifically, their emotional well-being. I want them to receive the desires of their heart, probably as much as they want it for themselves. Rightly so, I encourage them to look to God and pray they find contentment in Him, but as I’ve prayed, I’ve come to realize two things; I feel a measure of responsibility for their happiness, even beyond the realm of prayer, and I’ve continued to carry their hurts though I shouldn’t. Let me explain how I came to that conclusion.
In searching my heart, I stumbled on the discovery that casting “their” cares on God had become a personal struggle. This may come as no surprise to other mothers, who like me might be a fixer by nature—many moms are, or learn to be. While praying for things heavy on their heart, I’ve looked for ways to positively intervene, like offer advice to help them find their answer quickly. Is this bad? No—unless it’s tied to the whole “feeling responsible for their happiness” thing. Here’s why. That mindset works against truly letting go and trusting God, which, by the way, is exactly what I’m telling them to do. I’m not responsible for anyone’s happiness, even theirs. And let me be clear, they never put that responsibility on me in the first place. They’ve just shared their hearts, and asked for prayer.
Here’s the other thing I have to confess, I’ve allowed past grievances to reside not just in my memory, but in my heart, too, which is a detriment to my faith.
I remember a church event when junior high boys wouldn’t include my son in a game of ball, or a day when girls from church made fun of my daughter for not having more money to spend on accessories meant for a stuffed animal from a Build-a-Bear party. Who knew mean girls even existed in first grade.
Point is while I’ve been able to lay aside my own rejections, and betrayals over the years, their wounds have stayed. Now, if you’re wondering what one has to do with the other, I can only say, that when they were little and someone hurt them, I rushed in to fix it—a prayer, advice to forgive, and something to ease the pain while my feelings sat juxtaposed. Then I worried it might happen again. Lord knows, we will have trouble in this life, but like I said, I want them to have the desires (Godly desires) of their heart.
Now that I’ve confronted my heart, I ask God to change me, so that when I pray, I truly let go of their past hurts—ergo my own, and place their future hopes squarely in God’s hands.