But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Psalm 33:18-21
Two weeks ago, we took our boys rafting at a whitewater course in our downtown area. As the guide strategically placed us in the boat, Chris and I were put in the very front and our boys were placed in the back. Separating us were two teenagers that we didn’t know. I wasn’t happy with this arrangement. The first ten minutes were spent on raft safety and instructions while I found myself continuing to turn around and either repeat the instructions to the boys in the back or make sure they had listened. Unfortunately, I was distracting and in turn missing out on some important rules. Gently the guide kept reminding me to turn around and not worry about the boys. “They are safe here. That is why I have put them in the back with me so they are close to hear and I can watch them.” The next time I turned around, he firmly reminded me that they were safe and instructed that he needed me to be the leader at the front and simply listen and follow his instructions. If Chris and I did our jobs at the front, then he could take care of the back. A few times I could hear him giving the boys directives and it took everything in me to not interject. I knew it was their choice to trust him and simply obey.
After paddling, being soaked, feeling like we were sinking several times and watching one of the teens fall overboard, our boys jumped out of the raft whooping and hollering that they had the time of their lives. Personally, I would have been just fine with a little less excitement and gut-wrenching moments. The rafting guide was right though, Chris and I kept following his instructions and we came out fine and dandy.
As we enter this new season of middle school, I’ve got two boys heading off into new dangers, rapids and obstacles to navigate. I am no longer the only voice giving instructions and I sure can’t be there at every turn to make sure they are listening. It already feels like our family is on a crazy ride where I get sucked under the current. And to be honest, I’m terrified of the thought of one falling overboard. I find myself repeating the directives over and over. Turning around to make sure they are still with us and listening. I feel the huge weight of responsibility and a strong desire to control them into safety and a good relationship with Christ. I keep reminding myself to trust God as our guide. He’s watching and instructing them too and it will be their choice of obedience that will help keep them safe in the back of our boat. As for Chris and I, we need to keep our eyes focused and ears turned carefully to God’s leading. I believe that He is speaking truth to my boys because His voice is even closer than mine. We just keep paddling in the hard current of surrender, choosing to listen and obey even when it gets scary because we trust God to steer our family boat through these waves.
Are you in a messy season where your desire to be in control is colliding with what God is asking you to do? Do you feel the sole responsibility to make sure someone you love is listening to God?
What can you do today to take up your own oar and obey?
Jesus, thank You that You place us in the right place and guide us through life’s rapids. Forgive me for my own disobedience when I try to control those around me, even out of love. Help me to listen to Your voice alone, trust You and obey.
8/20/2019 05:35:35 am
I clicked on something that led me here because I have just come to the end of the 4 part series Shadow of My Porch Swing and I am not ready to start my mornings without these little nuggets of gold. You write so beautifully and 'matter of factly'.. I have been looking forward to these each morning and sometimes I end up a day ahead because I just can't help myself. I know your stories are God-led and I'm so grateful I found them. Thank you.
10/1/2019 12:00:50 pm
Thank you for your encouragement. I have many more written and have been hesitant to share. Know that more are coming soon.
10/2/2019 04:37:23 am
Yes! Praise God! I can hardly wait; I miss reading your pieces in the morning. You're truly a blessing 🙏
10/2/2019 04:15:55 am
I agree. I love reading your devotionals. They are very relatable. Please publish more.
9/16/2019 10:30:58 pm
I like how you use everyday things to be object lessons about our relationship with Christ
9/23/2019 03:37:22 am
I loved reading your piece. It reminded me of my own motherhood journey. It also remind me how often feel about my parents when they try to dictate every decision I make as an adult child. Parents mean well. We all just need to release our cares, our fears to God while trusting his process of becoming.
11/5/2019 08:09:16 pm
I’ve loved your YouVersion devotional series. I laughed and cried through it. Thanks for sharing!
12/6/2019 12:32:32 am
I love your website which I also found via YouVersion. I have absolutely loved your devotional too. Please keep them coming so we can be reminded of Christ in everything we do not just when we pray or go to Church
12/8/2019 03:44:19 am
I just finished your 4th part devotion in youversion. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is upon you and your writing for God clearly shows Himself through your words. You have been a blessing.
Lenora Marlene Cole
3/10/2020 08:12:16 am
Thank you for your devotionals on the Bible app. A friend and I have been reading it this week over the phone and have really enjoyed them. Keep writing and sending these in. They are heartfelt and real. Thank you!
6/7/2022 12:25:28 am
Great post, thanks for sharing it.
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The Shadow of My Porch Swing
You will usually find me on my porch swing or trying to get there at least. Warm drink in hand and the best view in the world...4 boys digging a hole. Seriously tho, I enjoy the chance to sit and rest but mostly ponder the life that happens in between each of those sways of that swing. As the sun rises and sets, the shadow of that swing moves across my porch reminding me that Jesus is always shining on each moment. May you find hope and rest in Jesus here.
Bible App Devo
Partnering with YouVersion and The Bible App, The Shadow of My Porch Swing - 7 day devotional is now available in the Plans section of the Bible app. Click link above or search by title or 'God's Presence.'