Lately Lauren has taken an interest in doing her own hair. And mine! The other day she climbed up into the chair I was sitting in and proceeded to twist, pull and yank on my hair in attempts to put it into ponytails. When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I helped her out. This is the hair-do she had in mind for me. And for herself, it was an assortment of her favorite barrettes.
She also likes to pick her own outfits.
She’s growing up. Changing right before my eyes. She is becoming more independent. I see her little personality peeking out more all the time. She’s learning to become who God has created her to be.
Independence to a certain degree is good. It helps us to function in this world. It helps us to step out the door, forge ahead, and not shrivel up in fear. It helps us explore, seek, and find who we are in this great big place.
But it can also be taken to the extreme.
As a teenager, I desired independence so intensely that I pushed, ignored and blatantly disobeyed my parents. What’s even worse is that I turned my back on God. I didn’t want anything to do with Him. In my naive and immature mind He was a nuisance. A big bummer to my free spirited way of thinking.
And so, I went on my way. Did things I wanted to do. And lived a life that I tried to tell myself was blissfully independent of authority. I couldn’t wait to get out on my own. To leave my parents and their rules behind. To do as I wished. To behave as I chose.
I married when I was 19.
For a while I ignored the prodding of God to come back to Him. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t desire to give Him my life. I wanted to continue being the one in control. But He wasn’t about to turn His back and let me be.
It took five years and quite a bit of misery for me to see that I was not created to walk independently of God. He brought me to a place where He was the only One I could cling to in my uncertainty and fear. I cried out to Him and He pulled me close.
He showed me through the pain and fear he allowed in my life, that He loved me dearly. Yes, He loved me too much to allow me to continue to wander through this life without His guiding hand. If He hadn’t allowed these near suffocating hardships, I never would have turned my life over to Him. I would have continued to wander about hopeless and independent of a God who desires me to be dependent on Him.
He wants to carry my heavy load. He wants me to lean on Him. He is my fortress, my strong tower. In return he imparts to me a peace because He is in control.
My prayer for my children is that as they grow, change and become more independent of Joel and I, they won’t try to live independently of the Lord, our Savior. I pray they will choose the Lord’s love and guidance over utter, stark dependence. I know hardships will come into their lives, but I pray they will hand them over to the Lord. Taking up His yoke, which is light, instead of try to shoulder their burdens alone.
Independence, a delicate dance between utter aloneness and beautiful, soothing peace.