In our house, mornings are frequently fraught with difficulty as we strive to get out the door, but Sunday morning takes the prize for the most difficult morning of the week.
I have two strong-willed girls, ages eight and three. My eight-year-old, Beth, can be particularly difficult, and let me tell you, she was in rare form this past Sunday.
First, we battled over what she was to wear to church that morning. Next, we bickered about what Bible she was going to bring, as she wanted to take a preschool Bible that wasn’t really a Bible. Finally, we fought about her lying to me as she tried to sneak said Bible into her bag. I started yelling, and she rolled her eyes at me. The disrespect became unbearable, so in an effort to save her life and avoid jail time for me, I took off with my youngest daughter in my car and told my husband to bring Beth to church with him.
Mornings like these make me feel as if I’m the most incompetent mother in the world. Had I taught Beth nothing about respecting her elders? Doesn’t she know that lying is a sin? Where did I go wrong? When my children act this way, I begin to wonder if they are going to grow up to be godless heathens.
My parenting woes that sad Sunday morning raise a general question we all ask at least one point in our lives: What should we do when things look dark and hopeless?
There is one word that answers that question: trust.
First, I trust in God’s plans.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
God makes plans for us, and because His love is so great, they are plans for our good.
He gave me these children. It is a part of His master plan; this was no mistake. I can’t understand why, but He must want them with me for a particular reason. So when my children misbehave, like Beth did this past Sunday morning, and I react badly, the reality of God’s plans gives me hope. They will survive my parenting fails — and there have been many — and be the better for them. He can work all things for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28).
It brings me comfort when I put my trust and faith in His plans for my life.
Second, I trust in God’s sovereignty.
The Bible is clear about God’s complete control over all things: “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Jack Wellman, writer for the website Patheos: Hosting the Conversation on Faith, offers a bit of insight into Proverbs 16:9 when he says, “What this verse is saying is that humans might think that their plans are of their own accord, but it is actually ‘the Lord [Who] establishes [their] steps.’ Even our bad choices are used for God’s purpose in His sovereignty.”
Trusting in God’s sovereignty brings me peace, especially when I know I’ve messed up with my children. Knowing that He is in control at all times and in all situations helps me live my life and not be paralyzed by fear.
When everything around me seems to be in complete chaos and I feel as if I might be overcome with the hopelessness of a situation, I force myself to “be still, and know that [the Lord] is God” (Psalm 46:10).
Trusting in God’s sovereignty helps me release stressful situations into His hands.
After arriving at church that contentious Sunday morning, I entered into worship and immediately began to pray for myself and my oldest daughter. I asked God to be glorified in our lives, and I thanked Him ahead of time for what I trusted He would ultimately accomplish in us. I thanked the Lord for His good and perfect plans for my life and Beth’s life. Then, I thanked God for who He is — all-powerful, ruler over the entire universe — and I placed my trust in His sovereignty, giving over my worries about my child and my poor parenting skills to the one who has supreme authority over all things.
I left that worship service having placed my complete trust for myself and for Beth’s — for my entire family’s — future in His hands.
Little did I know, God would answer my prayer for my daughter sooner rather than later. The very next hour, when she was in children’s worship, Beth prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. (Read “Beth’s Rebirth Day” for more details surrounding her decision.)
Trusting in His plans and His sovereignty is what I do when things look discouraging. Trusting in Jesus puts everything in His capable hands and out of my imperfect ones. When there is nothing else you can possibly do to help or to fix a situation, put your trust in Him. Are unfortunate circumstances (At work? With family? In life?) a heavy weight on your shoulders? Let me encourage you to put your faith in Jesus! For as the words of the great hymn say, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.”