It has been a very tumultuous time around the Haley household for the past several weeks, to say the least. Since Labor day or so, things have just been crazy. Not uncontrollably crazy, but crazy in that there is always something going on. We have work, school for the high schoolers, night school for Christine, drill team for Heather, HSM, adult small groups, various service projects, church, and getting everything ready for Zach's trip to Scotland, just to name a few of the things that have pulled at us.
And now we are in one of the most complicated weeks yet as Zach, Eric, and Evan are in the final few days before their trip. Set in among the "normal" activities, we have to do some last minute clothes shopping, be sure that his finances are in order, go to the good-bye party, and see them off. And yet, in the midst of all of this commotion, I am finding that I have been more reflective than I have been in a long time. This opportunity for Zach is unparalleled, and we are so excited to see what God will do through and with him, but at the same time there is alot more at stake, too. This is his first long-term outing as an adult, and there is a chance this week is the last time he calls our house his home except for between semesters. He has grown up.
I have spent alot of time thinking about Steven, too. It seems that prayers are being answered, and things are moving in a positive direction. We are excited to see what God has in store for him, too. Yet, as he is approaching adulthood right behind Zach, I find that I am constantly questioning myself. Did I do everything I could? Are his foundations sound? And worst of all, the realization that we are beyond all that. There is no going back. No way to redo it if I did something wrong.
Then, the other day I was watching our three-year old playing. He has taken a liking to the movie "How to Train Your Dragon." Excellent movie, by the way. If you get a chance, check it out. Anyway, I was watching him as he talked to his imaginary pet dragon. He brings it along everywhere, and it is very cute watching his imagination flourish as he goes on adventures with it. And as I was sitting there, praising God that He put me in this moment, another thought jumped in to stop that worship. It said "you will never have another moment just like this," and that sobered me up quite a bit.
Three separate instances when praise was interrupted by foreboding. When shouts of gladness were turned to murmurs. When causes for worship were deformed into apprehension.
When I was thinking these things, my first reaction was sadness. I looked out to my future, and saw that at some point all of the kids are going to become adults. That we will have less and less a part in their lives (as it should be), and I will be left with only memories of them.
But then another thought struck me. "Why?" Why am I sad? I have been tasked by God to bring up these children, so why are examples of their growth a cause for sadness? In all other aspects of life, when a project reaches completion it is cause for celebration. The only answer I can come up with is fear. I am afraid for the future, for what is in store for them, what is in store for me.
God didn't create fear. In fact, the first time fear is mentioned is not until after man had been separated from Him by sin. Rather, the serpent first put fear into our hearts when he caused us to turn our focus away from pleasing God and start worrying about ourselves. When we worry about OUR smallness, about what WE are missing, then OUR world becomes THE world, and we are afraid because deep inside we know we can't control it all, we can't do it on our own.
Satan is a funny guy that way. He introduced us to sin with the allure that when we choose based on our own selfishness, we will be better off. That sin only lead to death and separation from God. Then, with death now imminent, he thrives off of our fear of that death, hoping that we slip more and more into self-focused despair, and, more importantly, away from God. He coaxes us off the path, then laughs as we get more and more lost.
So how to cure the fear? Simply stated, I just have to renew my focus. God is doing incredible things here, and what I am seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. It is like a small island that is the peak of an underwater mountain. And while I may not understand it on my own, when I am content to relish in praise of Him for what He has provided now, and let Him take care of what comes next, my fears can be relieved.
Father, help me to be content. Your Word promises that I do not have to worry about what is coming, and I know You hold everything in your hands. Help me to resist the temptation to focus on my worries as if I could take care of them better than You. Help me to recognize fear and apprehension for my future as a lure to take my eyes off of You. And most of all, help me to stay focused on You and to live with your Son as my example. Amen
But I still hope there is TIVO in heaven. Matt was so cute the other day....:-)