By Guest Blogger Jani Barnes
I don’t write blogs. But a dear friend of mine asked if I would consider writing the FBC blog for the week of Mother’s Day. The very first words out of my mouth were, “Oh how sweet! No, thank you, but I can help you brainstorm a few other moms who I bet would love to and that and who would do a great job!” Yet as I continued to visit with her, I felt a gentle nudging from the Lord that encouraged me toward saying, “I will think about it,” and not because I am an expert in parenting, or am confident in having something valuable to share, but because some of my journey could possibly be an encouragement to some of you. I ultimately agreed and here we are!
My daughter Grace returned home last week from being away for her first year of college. I have been preparing for this moment for weeks now—expressing my excitement to everyone, cleaning the house, organizing her room, closet and drawers, making room for all her things. It is important to me is that she would feel welcomed, and loved and “cozy” as she enters back in to her home here, even if it is just for the summer.
Yes, there is going to be some mess when she comes home…boxes, clothes, an entire dorm room full of things to find places for…but for at least a few days I won’t mind the mess, because she’s home, and I get to just be with her, enjoy her presence, hear her laughter, and talk with her face to face.
I can’t help but wonder if God feels that way towards me. Waiting eagerly for me to come home to Him. To relax and find comfort in His presence—even after a time when I have been distant from Him, when I have been “too busy” to find time to spend with Him. And I wonder if He doesn't even mind my mess, for a while, he’s just happy to have me home.
One of the ongoing struggles I have when I am in one of my more distant places from God is that I find myself more controlled by fear and lack of faith. No where is this more true than in my role as a mom. My worst mom moments tend to be the moments I parent out of fear and never-ending “what-ifs.” I realize that my parenting is not at its best when fear becomes my default mode. Through the years I have discovered the best antidote for this is prayer.
My better mom moments are when I parent from that place of prayer. Through prayer, I can bring my children before God, on behalf of the many things they face each day. Through prayer I bring my cares and concerns for them, my hopes and my dreams for them, and all of the things that feel out of my control. I am slowly learning the freedom that comes by bringing those fears before the Lord and trusting Him with those that are closest to my heart.
Regardless of where I am—my best, worst, or somewhere in between, I think God feels about me like I felt about Grace coming home last week. ”Welcome home, I’m so glad you’re here!”
Jake McGregor, Pastor of Missional & Spiritual Formation