“911 Emergency.” The voice on the other end of the phone was frantic. Words cracked as a mother relayed a desperate story. “My daughter Lisa just called me from home. She is wrapping Christmas gifts in her bedroom upstairs and thinks she heard someone come into the house. She can hear male voices downstairs. Her father and I are driving home from shopping.” As both mother and father raced back, they called 911 to get help for their child.
The parents arrived faster than the police did. It took everything I had to convince dad not to run into their house to help his daughter. If there was someone inside, we didn’t want him hurt. I told the parents to park down the street, telling them that the police were only a few minutes away. “Please wait. We are on the way to help your daughter.”
Waiting isn’t easy, especially when we have to hold back from running in and solving our kids’ problems. From the moment our warm bundle of love is placed in our arms, to the day those chubby, dimpled arms grow up and reach out for their own children, we desire to protect and help them. Whether our children are two or fifty-two, we respond to their hurts, and fears, their tears and pain.
It was easier to be a parent when my children were small. I could run in and be their help and protection. They often giggled when I shared the macabre ways I would deal with anyone who messed with any of them. I prided myself in being their 911 help.
Slowly, I’m learning to let go. My adult daughter and almost-adult-son have been great teaching tools. Surrendering my control, my protection, my covering into the hands of the Lord is an ongoing process. I thought I’d share a few lessons I’ve learned over the years:
•Excuses – I have to stop making excuses for helping, and keep my mouth and my wallet shut.
•Rescue – I’m not my kids’ life raft. How are they ever going to learn to make it on their own, if I’m rescuing them from everything?
•Spankings – I’ve bent over life’s knee and received a few good spankings. I survived and learned A LOT from them – my kids will too.
•Stealing – Each time I over-help my kids, I steal their testimony. I take away an opportunity for their faith to grow. I should not be my kids “Holy Spirit”. The Lord doesn’t need my help.
The 911 call ended well. The teenager had confused the TV downstairs as intruders. The parents succeeded at waiting for help to arrive. You can imagine what it was like to try and convince them to stay in the car. Those few minutes, only yards away from their daughter, must have felt like the longest moments of their life.
What a reminder to me that God has things under control. I need to wait on Him. He’s the real professional here. He loves my kids more than I do.
I think I’ll take a break and let the Lord help them today.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1