Friday, February 20, 2015

Fingers are for texting...

I love my teenager.  I really, really love her - I can close my eyes and picture her as an infant in my arms as I regularly rocked her to sleep.  I remember the thrill of watching her stand for the first time and toddle across the airport into Scott's arms when we moved back to the Midwest from Connecticut.   

However, things are changing rapidly.  The voluntary hugs are fewer and doors slam frequently.  There are more tears and frustrations and the cell phone  feels like another member of our's always there.  

As the days pass, I whisper to God with regularity, "Are you sure you assigned me to the right kid?  I'm not tough enough, strong enough, assertive enough....the words change by the mother this strong willed teen! She's more than I can handle - maybe you thought I'd be better at this by now...but I'm failing her miserably."

Every time I share my insecurities with my husband, he smiles and assures me that Abby and I are perfectly matched.  But I protest that she can be so stubborn, self-centered and ungrateful!  He knowingly shakes his head in agreement and reminds me that there are three of us parenting Abby....a mom, a dad and a Heavenly Father.

Tonight I brush off his observations and drone on about how irritated I am that I got a 'texting while driving' ticket this evening while running one more errand for a family who "doesn't appreciate their sacrificing mom."  I complained that I was 'only using my voice command to make a grocery list and I had to tap the screen because it wasn't spacing my list correctly! It wasn't even an actual text!'  Scott had the nerve to smile and teasingly ask me if I'd learned my lesson.  Are you kidding me? "You don't even understand me!" was my stubborn (unspoken) response. (Hey, I have learned to pick my battles in our almost 21 years of marriage.)

Then I blabbered at length about how frustrated I get when my GPS gives me an ETA that I clearly think is inaccurate and how I will see it as a challenge to shave off 2-3 minutes from the suggested time just to prove that I know better than Google Maps.  By this time, Scott is snoring away - probably for the best. 

As I stopped talking, God began doing some business with me.

Matthew 7:4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Ouch! As you might imagine, this “vision” analogy speaks to my heart as I begin to see it – the reflection of my relationship with God through the eyes of my relationship with Abby.  I claim that she’s strong willed, ungrateful and stubborn.  My frustration rises when I feel like all she ever does is ask for things and can’t even slow down long enough to tell me a few highlights of her day or just to say ‘thanks for the ride’ when I drop her off at school.  I want so much for us to have a deep connection, but some days I have no idea where to begin.

The reflection of my relationship with my Heavenly Father is suddenly shifts into focus.  How often do I give Him the crumbs of ‘my best’ whether it’s a rushed prayer or a quick pass through scripture with my right hand while scribbling my ‘to do’ list with my left?

How about my arrogance?  What makes me think I should be exempt from a ‘texting while driving ticket’ when I struggle daily with ‘just sending one more quick note’ or my insane competitiveness to think I can outwit the GPS?  Seriously…Google Maps probably has 50+ satellites pointed at my chosen route at any time predicting my ETA.  To think I am important enough to break the law for the sake of a few words and abbreviations or to shave off seconds in my schedule, is the ultimate arrogance.

Suddenly my frustration with Abby feels different when I view it through the lens of God’s frustration with me.  In Titus 3:1 Paul says, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.”

It is clear that my attitude is not one of obedience or submission.  Some days (most days) I want my way with little (or no) interference.

However, as I wonder if I am the best mom that Abby could be matched with, that’s where the similarities in this comparison end.  God doesn’t wonder at all.  He knows without a doubt that He didn’t mix up our personalities or give one of us stubbornness and fail to bestow it upon the other.  We are perfectly matched, just as my Heavenly Father and I are forever matched.

I know I break His heart when I pull away and fail to sit with Him.  He must get so tired of my endless list of requests and very short one-liner of praises.

Isaiah 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thought, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

“Thank goodness!” is my immediate response.  Praise God that His ways are not mine.  He is confident that I am meant to be Abby’s mom, but it has very little to do with what I am supposed to teach her and far more to do with what God has to teach me.  Please forgive me Father for thinking I could ever manage a single hour without you, and thank you for providing the ultimate safety net of unending grace.

PS….don’t text and drive...learn from my mistake