Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Isaac

I did not watch the Grammy Awards the other night.

Except for 90 seconds worth of a performance by Beyonce (I felt like I was watching something I shouldn't be), Lorde's rendition of her own song Royal (one of the strangest performances I've seen), and enough of scans of the crowd to see a Smokey the Bear hat paired with space-age helmets (which they apparently never take off in public? Odd.)

All in all, I thought the 10 minutes that I saw was very...let me choose my word carefully...random.

Of course, I've heard plenty. (People that don't want to give the Grammys any more attention than they must sure do have a lot of fun posting things on FB about it.) Enough to know that Natalie Grant walked out, Katy Perry is a satanist and Beyonce and Jay-Z are exhibitionists.

Moving on from the most talked about topic of the last 24 hours. Please.

My daughter actually wanted to record the Grammys so she could watch it later. Because of course she was in the room while I was flipping the stations, and she saw what I saw: Beyonce. Helmets. Black fingertips.

Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. Always has been. Always will be.

And apparently this was enough of a teaser for her to want to watch the entire show, beginning to end. Obviously, she thinks her parents know nothing about real entertainment, because an argument ensued over us not letting her record said spectacle show. I've heard that there is something in a pre-teen's brain that automatically makes them want to do/say the exact opposite of what their parent does/says.

Now I'm starting to believe it.

Have mercy. It's gonna be a long 10 years.

Parenting babies was exhausting. Sleepless nights, crying fits, slave to the nap schedule.

And I thought, "This is hard."

Parenting toddlers was tough. All the "NO!" and "MINE!" and coy little smiles that any parent knows mean their child is up to something.

And I thought, "This is really hard."

Parenting young children. Learning how to deal with outside influences, playing nicely with other children, an introduction into sports and social activities, going to school for the first time.

And I thought, "This is really, really hard."

Parenting a pre-teen is exhausting and tough and complicated. Grades, school, attitudes, having a child that thinks she is all grown up in a world that has no mercy...

And I think, "I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I have what it takes."

Lord help. They're not even full-blown teenagers yet.

As they get older, my fist gets tighter. I don't want to let go. I don't want to watch them make mistakes. I don't want to. I just don't.

There's an invisible line that I keep weaving over, back and forth, back and forth, trying to find the perfect balance between parenting and trusting, between holding on and letting go. But is perfect balance ever really achieved, or is it just perceived? I'm afraid that if I did find that perfect life balance, I might stay stuck there, for fear of messing it up, having to deal with ups and downs and imbalance and truth and consequences. And I'm not a person that deals with any of those things very well.

Nothing in life is ever easy, I don't care what other people say. And loosening my grip on my children is one of those things in life that I'll probably never do well. It takes trust and strength and faith, none of which I have enough of to let go. But in the meantime, the anxiety that has taken hold in my heart has brought me to my knees.

Letting go doesn't mean being less strict or not looking out for my kids.

I think it might mean taking them off the throne of my heart and trusting that God loves them even more than I do.

I do not know how to live that out, and I certainly don't know what that looks like in everyday life. But I do believe it requires a second-by-second trust that the Creator of the Universe, who loves me enough He died so I could be free, also loves my children. A second-by-second trust that I can lean on Him and give my anxious thoughts to Him.

Trust Me with Your Isaac
by Beth Moore
For every Abraham who dares
to kiss the foreign field
where glory for a moment grasped
Is for a lifetime tilled...
The voice of God
speaks not but once
but 'til the traveler hears
"Abraham! Abraham! Bring your
Isaac here!"
"Bring not the blemished sacrifice.
What lovest thou the most?
Look not into the distance,
you'll find your Isaac close."
"I hear the tearing of your heart
torn between two loves,
the one your vision can behold
the Other hid above."
"Do you trust me, Abraham
with your gravest fear?
Will you pry your finger loose
and bring your Isaac here?"
"Have I not made you promises?
Hold them tight instead!
I am the Lover of your soul-
the Lifter of your head."
"Believe me, O my Abraham
when blinded by the cost.
Arrange the wooded altar
and count your gains but loss."
"Let tears wash clean your blinded eyes
until unveiled you see-
the ram caught in the thicket there
to set your Isaac free."
"Perhaps I'll send him down the mount
to walk right by your side.
No longer in your iron grasp
but safer still in mine."
"Or I may wrap him in the wind
and sweep him from your sight
to better things beyond your reach-
believe with all your might!"
"Look up, beloved Abraham.
Can you count the stars?
Multitudes will stand to reap
from one dear friend of God."
"Pass the test, my faithful one;
bow to me as Lord.
Trust me with your Isaac--
I am your great Reward."

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