My husband and I were on a road trip when my cell phone chirped.
”Yes, Julie, how are you?
”I have something to tell you. I am in the middle of a miracle. I was going to call you at the end when it all worked out, but I know you like to be in on things.”
What parent’s heart doesn’t drop at those words?
”I just wanted to tell you right here at the start. I feel God is calling me to write and market my books. Mom, I just quit my job.” Pause. “I feel so very strongly about this and I don’t know how He’s going to work it all out, but I know He is.”
”Julie Kathleen! You what?”
Ever had a similar conversation with one of your children? I imagine you have.
Our kids, whether young, teen or adult, often take us places we don’t want to go. Places way out of our comfort zone. Places we’re stretched, in good ways and sometimes in not so good ways, but life with children always provides adventure.
In this case, I stammered and I stuttered. She told me later the best part was when I told her ”I going to — my pants!” She said this showed true love.
I wanted to exclaim, ”Wow, honey, that is wonderful. I’m excited for you!” But I couldn’t. I became too much of a mother. Although I didn’t blurt it out, my thoughts went this way: ”That’s nice, but how will you pay the house payment? You have two little girls, remember? Food is high on Maslow’s hierarchy, don’t forget. And, oh, by the way, have you seen me get rich from writing?”
My daughter expounded on how happy this was making her, how free she felt and how excited she was. I felt just like an ogre. A real old ogre. I felt like Eyore in Winnie the Poo. All was woe. I instead asked her to let this settle with me for a while. Then we said goodbye.
My mind immediately was adrift with an experience of a few years past. As Parish Nurse, I was helping care for a man with gangrene. My husband was also much invested in this gentleman, as were several others of our church. Our pastor was particularly drawn into the case as his spiritual advisor. At the doctor’s suggestion, this man’s extended family and friends began to prepare for his death. I even accompanied his niece to buy a burial plot. We visited the mortuary.
Imagine our surprise when this man didn’t die. He had firmly announced God was going to heal him. Frankly, not one of us believed God or doctors were going to pull him out of this serious condition. We said, ”Yes, but…” Yes, but you need to take that antibiotic. Yes, but you need to let the nurses do dressing changes.” We had a lot of yes buts.
It turns out our faith was weak. Intellectually, we knew God could do miracles, but we just didn’t think God would do this particular one. Without using medical means anyway. We were talking gangrene here.
All of us were more than humbled when, indeed, God did heal. Without medicines or doctors as we thought needed. We simply hadn’t trusted enough.
Julie’s proclamation brought this story to mind and I felt a similar chagrin. Was I again disbelieving God could do the miraculous? Was I the weak link?
No matter the age of our children or whatever the situation, we always respond first as parent. Parenthood is forever. We don’t want our children to hurt or be in need. However, while our more mature years may give us an advantage in decision making, we don’t have a corner on the pure white light.
I spent quite some time thinking on all this. I felt good my daughter had a strong relationship with God. I felt good at her faith and courage. I felt good she wanted to honor God with the creativity and gifts He’d given.
My husband’s affirmation ”Let her go for it!” helped release my anxiety. He reminded me how some of our other kids had forged new territory, followed their muse. The worst case scenario, he said, is that she’ll have to find a job.
Yes, a job. This woman had spent fifteen years as a middle school counselor and used that experience in her children’s books on body safety. Fifteen years. Many individuals have more than one career in their work life. Perhaps Julie is ready for career number two.
Perhaps I’m ready to lighten up, accept that her world is not caving in and there are exciting days ahead for her.
What parents learn when their children trust more.
Right now Julie is reading Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado. Here is one of the passages guiding her: “Giants. We must face them. Yet we need not face them alone. Focus on giants, you stumble. Focus on God, your giants tumble.”
Is there a giant you need to face? If there is, trust God. Call your mother first and hopefully she will be more supportive than I was. Then sit back, trust God and see your giants tumble.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Permission granted for reprint from Maximum Living Magazine. Julie Federico achieved success with her children’s books. She received an award for one, and the books have been translated into Spanish. She is still trusting God for her future.