Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Surrendering to Time: Reflections on Time Guest Post Series


Welcome to our new guest post series about "time."  
How do we use it? Misuse it?  Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have?  It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment.  But how will we spend it?  And what values shape how we use it?  As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.
 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one's youth.
 Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies 
in the gate
Psalms 127:3-5 (ESV)

I struggle with surrender, despite regular confessions of my brokenness. Time is an unremitting teacher in learning to yield. You see, while we may want to resist God’s Will in our lives, we are often anxious to move when He would bid us wait. Or, we want to stay, to hold on, to slow time because the beauty of where we are, the exquisiteness of what we feel is so powerful that we are certain NOTHING will ever make us feel this way again. In every case, God moves solely according to Divine Plan.

This summer, this year, in this season of my life where I was so certain that I belonged anywhere besides being center-stage in the midst of trials, a reluctant and occasionally resentful stay-at-home home serving well-loved (well-indulged?) teens while nursing a healing husband, I saw differently the lesson I am learning. As we watch our children grow, there is no questioning our surrender to time…it marches on, without regard to our fear, our preparedness, or our yearning to stay when God says “Move.”

I have not always appreciated the relentless march of time; I am accustomed to having my way. The babies I once imagined bearing and holding close stand at the brink of moving away, to college soon and then into their own lives. Every day this summer I acknowledged in some way their moving into the world alone, further from the secure embrace of their father and I. Where once they stood between us taking unsteady first steps, they now walk confidently alone, and often away.

I do not wish to impede the growth and maturation of the babies we brought into this world. That would be unseemly, selfish, impossible. Because of God’s unlimited Grace, I am learning to receive and honor the gifts accompanying this unwavering march of time. No longer merely needing me, we choose to spend time together. We look forward to debating politics, social policy, Faith, the current state of Religion, history, literature, fashion, pop culture. They are interesting people, and though I see them moving in time, my desire to slow time, to capture moments, yields to my desire to see them seek more, create more, achieve more. Where once I needed them to stay close, I now pray Providence over them as they boldly forge ahead.

In commentary on Psalms 127, Matthew Henry reminds us that parenting is a gift from God, reliant upon His Grace rather than our machinations. He writes, “We must depend upon God’s blessing and not our own contrivance.” Here’s the lesson, and while deceptively simple, it’s big. God is not interested in your opinion on time, His Plans, or His Will. We are to be obedient, trusting the God Who Always Knows. Who Has Always Been, from Everlasting to Everlasting. Whose Love and Mercy Have No End, Who Will Never Leave Us, Who Always Provides.

What does time, what does God require of me beyond surrender? He requires that I might grow as well, yielding my heart, my head, my desires to Him in continuing to be the warrior who trims and prepares the arrows before they launch. God requires that I yield in order to become something different, something more…not just mom, but life coach, giver of advice, watcher in silence. I So, while time trades my babies and leaves me with Precious Memories, I proudly and prayerfully watch our those babies grow, becoming people with distinct tastes, opinions, and Divine Callings on their own lives. Ultimately, that is where I must yield. Have I any right to allow my selfishness and fear to separate them from that which God Calls them to?

I don't think I was ready for my babies to grow up, but nobody is interested in whether or not I’m ready. It’s time…

Growing up in the Baptist church a fourth generation preacher’s kid, Chelle Wilson married an Anglican. She boldly seeks God, and thanks her Dad for releasing her from denominationalism, instead encouraging her to embrace Theology and chase Truth. While she is a fiercely private person, she enjoys two public worship forms, liturgical dance and writing.  Dance freed her, providing a language for expression beyond words. Dance is her prayer language. Writing is humbling, sometimes terrifying, but always enlightening. Hers is a quirky but reverent perspective on God and Grace. 
She started blogging to replace a big job that went away. Formerly a Human Resources Executive in the entertainment industry, she suddenly became a Stay-At-Home-Mom, not entirely by choice. Writing started as something to do, but evolved into an ongoing journey to draw nigh to The One.  She and her beloved husband have two beautiful children, a gorgeous Boxer, and 20 years of wedded bliss. She maintains a joyous relationship with the Creator, even as she learns difficult lessons while hearing His loving laughter on the wind.
Find her at Treat Me To A Feast:Notes From My Abundant Life, on Twitter at @treatmetoafeast or on Facebook. Chelle is the Director of Community Engagement as well as a regular contributor at www.CirclesofFaith.org. She also writes regularly for Christ Centered Home Magazine.

Linking with EmilyMichele and Jenifer today.

13 comments :

  1. I'm in a season of wait..or maybe just uncertainty, I'm not sure. But regardless of which, it's still hard and I'm ready to move! God's teaching lessons and I'm an impatient student. And oh, how I dread the day I have to let my babies go into this world. I know they will be ready and will hopefully go forth and conquer but their Mama is going to be such a hot mess!

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    1. Alecia,
      I too felt that way until God reminded me that those children are His. He is the One who will watch over them. You are to train them in the way they should go. Many blessings for each moment as you enjoy the blessing He has bestowed upon you.
      Blessings,
      Janis www.janiscox.com

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    2. Alecia,
      Impatience is my strong suit. Fortunately for us, God's Will for our lives trumps our willfullness, hands down. As for letting your babies go, I imagine it gets easier once you understand its inevitability...
      Chelle

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  2. Time does march on. But if we live each day for Jesus He stretches the time so the joy is overflowing. No regrets - just living in the moment and knowing God has the plan for our lives.
    Many blessings - I am following you at Living Well.
    Blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

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  3. Janis,
    you are wise, and I am learning. I am thankful for sojourners who share their learning along the way.
    Peace and good to you in Jesus' name,
    Amen
    Chelle

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  4. I've not yet released my children but every day feel the tug that will one day pull them out of the nest and into the world. It's natural and I pray His grace as I do what I can to prepare them. Bless you as you find a bit of joy in the release. Ah...the mid-life mama and her call to let go. I'll be praying for you. This was lovely Chelle!

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  5. I hear you, Chelle. My daughter is a high school senior this year - and wow - it's very surreal. Not sure how I'd survive (the driving, the end of school, etc., etc.) without prayer.

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  6. Yes! how we mourn over the passing of the years- especially when our cherubic little ones (clearly coloured selective memory) morph into frumpy, demanding teens. i realised i didn't get unconditional love ...yet! Also, it appears the stuff we love to say about being stewards bla...we are slower to speak (a good thing on the whole). Yes yes --"he requires that I might grow as well..." - and let us take heart that while we parent our children, GOd parents us!
    thanks for sharing!

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  7. I'm entering a new season myself. Doing something I never saw myself doing before. I really appreciate this post today :)

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  8. Ahh...the seasons of life! They go by so much quicker when we learn to just embrace them. Love your perspective on time! Too funny...our families sound so similar. Our kids are 17, 22 and 24(also a son-in-law) and we have the same kind of relationship. I love your line..." No longer merely needing me, we choose to spend time together. We look forward to debating politics, social policy, Faith, the current state of Religion, history, literature, fashion, pop culture"...that so describes our relationship with our kids! Thanks so much for sharing this! Thanks to you also Jen and thanks for linking up! May you both have a blessed rest of your week! ;-)

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  9. Hi Chelle, (and Jen),

    Nice to meet you both. I'm hopping over from Emily's IP link up. This line " in this season of my life where I was so certain that I belonged anywhere besides being center-stage in the midst of trials, a reluctant and occasionally resentful..." spoke most to me today. Thanks for this. I can so easily slip into this mood and stay there for a few hours instead of moving on to the next stage of saying, Okay God, walk me through this, teach me, give me your energy and wisdom. Thanks.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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  10. Dear Chelle,
    Clapping for you...you are a wise mom to recognize the struggle and to surrender to God and trust Him with your "babies" as they grow forward...you are giving them wings instead of weights, like some parents...love this :)

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  11. Chelle,
    You are learning one of the most important lessons a mother has to learn--letting go. We never truly see our children as completely grown up because we always see the little child in them.
    My son's youngest child, Joey, is the exact image of his father at Age seven. It takes me back in time and sometimes I forget it is my grandson and not my son. God as blessed me with a marvelous family. As difficult ad it was to release my son, God has continued the work He faithfully began at the time He created my son long before my son was born. Like Hannah, we are only there to care for our children for a period of time and then we must give them back to God. He will keep them safe. It becomes our time to trust God and to keep them in our prayers as they apply the lessons God used us to teach to them.
    Embrace this time of learning to let go, soon this will pass and you will be awed at the work did through you as your children grow into the individuals God desires them to be.

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