This post is for all of the big-league “pillow carriers” in the world. It’s for you, moms and dads, who are agonizing over a struggling child, and you’re desperate. You want them to be happy. You don’t want them to suffer. You are terrified they’ll make a life-altering mistake, and you are trying with all might and main to prevent that. You are following them around with a fluffy pillow, eager to slip it beneath wayward buns to cushion the fall.
This is also for the small-time “pillow carriers.” Your child’s behaviors aren’t so dangerous, but you’d still like to save him or her from the little things. Like an ‘incomplete’ on an assignment. Like a tardy because they blew the alarm. Like missing the bus because they misplaced their lunch or their bag or their shoes. And so, like a Navy SEAL, you swoop to the rescue. You save them from consequences, not realizing that there will be consequences for this down the road.
I know you, for I have been you. “I knew that God’s ‘pillows’ would have rocks, and I didn’t want that.” That’s what I remember saying. So I’d rush to divert, redirect, and otherwise manage and control my now-adult child. Oh, how I wanted to save him from the consequences of his, yes, sinful, selfish choices. But then God pulled me up.
What He showed me was that by saving my son from the consequences of his choices, I was prolonging his redemption, and I was interfering with God’s ability to work in His life. Man, that hit me square between the eyes. And though it took a lot of time to start trusting God enough to let go completely, it redirected this mother’s feet. Meanwhile God geared up and took him on.
The reason this came to me again was because of a private message I received last night. Another mother is hurting, another son is facing consequences. “This may be the greatest mercy,” I told her as I thought of the day that my son was finally arrested. “It saved his life. He had a terrible MRSA infection in his leg at the time. He was not going to stop until he was STOPPED. God did that.”
There was nothing I could have done to intervene and spare him the arrest. Nor would I have. In the end, God knew exactly when and where and how to stop my running son, and when the time was right, He did it.
And there came that familiar flood of “thankful,” remembering how God had intervened.
“That’s what we need,” the other mother said then. “A God stop.”
The bottom line rests here. First, in your efforts to soften the consequences of a child’s choices; i.e., by slipping your own feather pillow beneath their faltering buns, you may be delaying a miracle. If there was anything I could do to hasten my son’s return, I was committed to doing it. I decided I could not interfere anymore.
Second, you must come to the place where you trust God completely, enough to let Him determine what rocks to let them land on and when and for how long. This is hard truth, but I know it is truth. I lived it.
Third. In the end, God’s consequences are always redemptive, not destructive. If He does not spare them from consequences, He will walk with them through the consequences. He will walk through them with you as well.
How can you lose here? You can’t if you follow this path. Let God stop what needs stopping and start what needs starting.
That’s all for now.
The small, caffeinated American mom