That is part of my prayer for my oldest daughter almost daily. But do I really mean it?
Recently I came face-to-face with this question in a way I had not envisioned (isn’t that always the way it works?).
She had auditioned and earned one of the four solos in her first-grade performance of the school musical revue. To say we were over the moon is an understatement! We rehearsed and choreographed small moves to her assigned verse of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” The night came for my little chimney sweep, and we arrived to the school to find it packed with people. Three hundred of the four hundred students were set to perform that evening, so attendance was wall-to-wall. The place was abuzz with energy as the costumed students gathered with their peers. It was going to be a wonderful night!
As her time approached, I sat at the edge of my seat giddy with excitement! However, it didn’t go quite as we had planned. As the chorus finished, she somehow missed her entrance, causing her to forget her words, and as she later told us, she “just got behind and couldn’t catch up.” I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live. The disappointment on my child’s face tore my heart in two. She had made a mistake in front of hundreds, and she felt the weight of that.
As her class sat down, tears streamed down my face and all I wanted to do was jump over the section of seats that divided us and rescue her! But I couldn’t. For an hour or more, I had to sit apart from my heartbroken child.
When the show ended, she ran to me and buried her little face in my side. We sat down, and with tears streaming down both of our faces, I encouraged her that we all make mistakes, but that it doesn’t mean we’re failures. It was a hard, yet sweet moment for our little family.
The next morning while in my quiet time, the Lord reminded me of what I pray for her daily. “Make her more like Yourself.” He then reminded me of how He makes me more like Himself, and that is often through trials and disappointments. Doesn’t His word talk about that?
Why then would He work differently in my daughter’s life?
It was one of those epiphany moments for me! I want with all my might to shield my children from every hurt, heartbreak, and disappointment in the world! I would say that most of us do! It’s natural. But to do so would be opposite from the prayer I pray every day. Furthermore, God as the Perfect Father, the Perfect Parent, does not shield His own children from every trial. But there’s good reason for this! In fact, let’s be reminded of what James 1:2-4 tells us,
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Also, Paul writes in Romans 5:3-4,
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;”
To most, messing up a solo in a school performance would hardly qualify as a tribulation, but it certainly was a great disappointment of an extremely important moment in my 6 year-old’s little life! So while my heart ached that she had to endure this, I rejoice, and I encourage her to do the same! As her mother, I disciple her to remember that He is working in her life; that He is indeed testing her in order to produce in her proven character.
Our responsibility to our children is not to shield them or rescue them from the trials that come; but rather we have the amazing opportunity to be there to love them, speak Truth in the midst of whatever they are facing, and teach them how to walk with the Lord through it. (Obviously, if your child is in harm’s way, please rescue them!)
Will you set your most precious gifts before the throne of God and trust Him to make them more like Himself? And when you see Him allowing trials in their lives, will you run to them and speak Truth to their broken hearts?