My two year old wants to be in control. Whether he says “No, please”, “stop it”, “go away”, or “mine”, he wants what he wants NOW. Patience is not his virtue. We try to give him choices, but when those options do not give him the outcome he wants, he throws a fit. He throws his food on the floor, lays on the ground, or tries to hit something. This unfiltered desire for control is comical when we are talking about a two year old because we know it is silly for kids to cry and get angry when they cannot ___ (eat off the floor, color on the table, fill-in-the-blank). Similarly, I long for and search for control in any way I can find it and get upset when things are out of my control. If you are anything like me, we want things our way and quickly. I desire control when I wish that my kids would always obey immediately, my house would stay as clean as I left it an hour ago, and everyone I spoke to was kind and respectful. When things do not go my way, it is easy to get frustrated.
This current season has been long and hard. Between two kids that talk (and argue with me and each other), early morning work, my husband’s role as lead pastor planting a new church, selling one house and buying another, I can feel like I’m in a never ending state of tiredness. Sometimes I just want to yell, cry, or run away from moments when it feels like I’m at my wit’s end and things are not calm and easy. My young kids, 3 and 2, can feel the same way. When my children struggle to share with each other or be kind, I often react with annoyance instead of helping them work through their feelings. When I am feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I can struggle to remember that Jesus can hear my cries for help and give me strength to keep going. I have trouble remembering that He is in control of not only this small situation, but the entire world, and knows exactly what is best for me.
We can run to God in prayer, knowing He cares for us, loves us, hears us, and is in control. Psalm 46:1 says,“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” We can talk to Him about all the good things we are thankful for, the things we hope would change, and the challenges we face that we do not know the answers to.
In this current season of changes and big decisions, I can easily become anxious. With the huge decisions and moves from one home to another, I have seen and felt my need for Christ in the little and big decisions. As I look back at the purchase of our first home in 2017, I see that it was a good desire, but one primarily made out of fear, desire for approval, and control. In 2017, my husband was about to quit his full time job to start raising financial partnership and go into church planting. I fully supported this and we knew it was where God was leading us, but because of this change in job and finances, I wanted to buy a house before he left his job. I know that sounds pretty crazy, right? I was worried we would not be able to buy for another couple of years and did not want to wait. I lacked a desire to pray deeply about this, and instead leaned on my own idea of the most logical and reasonable thing to do. Despite my decisions made out of fear and lack of trust in God’s timing, Jesus still provided a home and a few months later, a job at a church that would give us an on-ramp to church planting and the help and wisdom to do so. God is in control, even when we believe we are holding the reins. He gives us freedom to make decisions, and even our unwise choices or faults can be used for our good and His glory.
Now, four years later, we are going through this home buying process with a new outlook. My husband and I are seeing our daily need to ask for wisdom with this whole transition as well as growing in the desire to pray in both high and low times. Prayer has given me peace during this time. As it says in Philippians 4:6-7,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I am starting to have peace that God is guiding us, helping us, and providing for us. He has made a way when the road was unclear and scary, despite the fact I do not do well with change, I am learning to rest, knowing God is in control and He wants us to know His love through the people and situations we are in.
Whether we are in a calm season or it feels like we are in the middle of a storm, unable to see our way, Jesus is asking us to trust in Him. Like Jesus’s disciples in Mark 4:38-40, we are fearfully seeking help and control while He is sleeping in the middle of the storm. He knows our needs better than we do and will provide for us in ways only He knows how.
When our children get upset because they cannot have what they want right away, my husband and I ask, “Do you trust us? Do you know that we want to keep you safe and do what is best for you?” In our human wisdom, we try to make the best choices and set the best boundaries for our kids to flourish. Just as Matthew 7:11 says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”. Our Heavenly Father with his infinite wisdom is asking you and I, “Do you trust me? Do you trust that I love you and want what is best for you?”.
Jesus, help us pray, trusting in you to grow us and guide us to be more like you in your love and goodness.