Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Can't

I can’t protect them.

My two younger kids got in a car accident on the way to school this week.  They are fine, but my “what-ifs” made me crazy realizing...

I can’t protect them.

My older daughter drove to Chicago a few days ago and she had never driven in the city.  I tried not to panic when I received no word of her arrival because it was becoming increasingly clear…

I can’t protect them.

The same daughter that drove safely to Chicago got on a plane to China to spend nine days with strangers in a foreign country and I kept waking last night to check on her 13-hour flight, all the while realizing…

I can’t protect them.

My first-born is living at home this semester and stays out late with friends sometimes.  For some reason, I can’t sleep until I know he is safe in his bed even though I never know where he is when he is away at college.  I’m trying not to mother him so much and it’s hard for me to admit…

I can’t protect them.

When my children were all little and under my watchful hawk-eye, I reveled in the fact that I could protect them.  I took precautions to keep them within the realm of my indulgent care.  I established boundaries so they would not suffer bodily harm.  My “mother bear” instincts made my adrenaline rush when I sensed danger nearby, and my intuition about negative influences assured that I was being the gatekeeper for their impressionable minds.  I was secure when I knew of their whereabouts and kept close tabs on their adventures outdoors.  I did all of these things because I loved them intensely and my love drove me to protect them. 

My love still drives me to protect them. 

But I can’t.

I can’t protect them.  I need to let them go.  I need to learn to fully trust my God—their God—to take care of my babies now.

This is so hard for me.  My mother-bear tendencies still run on high gear.  My ears are still attuned to those small noises in the night.  My mind is still aware of all the dangers in their worlds.  And my arms still long to tuck them in their safe, warm beds.

But they are growing up and experiencing life on their own terms—not mine.  God has designed a whole lifetime for them and they are excited to experience it.  He knows the plans He has for them and he is fully aware of the challenges they will face.  He sees them all the time—even when they are in a crushed car or on an over-the-ocean plane ride.  And He loves them intensely—just like me.

Over the years, I have learned to trust the Father with my own life.  He has shown Himself faithful and reliable.  He is always there when I need Him.  And I know that nothing can pluck me from His hand.  Now, in this new season of life, I must consciously decide that I can trust Him with my children’s lives.  Ultimately, He is the One in control and I know that my level of anxiety decreases as my confidence in the all-knowing Father increases.

He must become greater; I must become less.

I can’t protect them.  But He can.  And He knows what He’s doing even if it looks scary or wrong to me.  His good is not my good because His ways are higher than mine.  And if His definition of “protection” for my kids sometimes looks like danger or loss to me, I must accept it from His hand.  His purposes will prevail even if I choose not to trust Him, so I have decided to submit…and to trust…and to stop grieving Him with my need to control.  My worrying offends the One who took Himself out from the protection of His own heavenly Father to experience pain and sorrow and suffering for me.  My doubt pierces the heart of the One who gave His life to protect me from Hell. 

He wants what’s best for me—and for my kids.  I need to choose to believe that. 

And I need to learn to rest in His all-knowing arms. 

I can’t protect them…but He can.  And it’s only in Him that they are truly safe.

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. 

Psalm 4:8


  1. Thanks for writing this. I am a "mother bear" too. I know that God is in control, but sometimes I think I just take things on in my own strength. You are an encouragement to me.

    Renae Shepley

  2. Tori...this is what every mother bear needs to hear..bless you & your inspirational writing!!! Thank our dear Lord for all He kept safe last week & every day to come!