Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
I’m a pretty big fan on the “Gospel according to Sheri.” In other words, I often like to do things my own way, predict the ending I fancy and try to arrange every detail along the way. I can count the number of times that has worked well on one hand; and they were probably just happy accidents. Sometimes I goof it all up and then remember how smart God is and I marvel at the perfection and ease of his handiwork. After all he is the God that parted a sea and created the universe so you’d think I’d trust his planning a little more.
I’ve reached one of those crossroads in life where I’m glad I trust him most of the time. I’m not gonna lie; I try to snatch control into my chubby little hands every now and again but a couple weeks ago I happened upon this verse and it was a beautiful reminder that he has a job and so do I. His job is to manage the universe and each life he created and my job is to let him do his job. Seems pretty simple don’t you think?
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Many of us are at a parenting crossroad as I see post after post on Facebook about taking kids off to college and staring Kindergarten or the last year of high school, this verse just rings in my mind and echoes in my heart. It reminds me that our kids were designed to grow up, not live in our basement until they were 30. Our kids were meant to learn, grow, travel and live. They are going to meet people and make friends; some will shape their character and some will test it. They are going to make great decisions steeped in the love and wisdom you’ve slathered them with and they will most likely make some not so great decisions and those will be where the real learning takes place. Independence is a great thing until we watch our kids creep away from us and use it! I’ve always heard people talk about growing pains but I didn't expect parents to be the ones who suffered from them the most!
Our daughter Shannon left last week for a semester at Franciscan University’s campus in Austria. She will see more than a dozen countries, climb mountains, do mission work in Romania, attend Mother Theresa’s Canonization, see Pope Francis, study art in the Sistine Chapel, visit Poland and see the birth and death places of some of the holiest people of the century. I would love to be her but I will be content to live the experiences through her Snapchats, Facebook posts and the endless stories she will come home with. It’s so amazing, but the fact remains that my little girl is living in another country for 4 months. I’m thankful that I’m not a worrier or this whole thing might make me a little nuts but there have been moments when I’ve clung to this verse and felt so much comfort. On the night she was flying to Europe I didn’t sleep much so I spent a lot of time praying with these words from the letter to the Philippians. I did what the verse told me; I thanked him for the restlessness and for her opportunity. I asked him to keep her safe and bless her experience. I asked him to guard her and draw her closer to his Son. Each time I woke up I hit repeat and did it again. Through that process of trusting, there came great peace. In the middle of that long night, I grabbed a pencil and paper and these thoughts just tumbled out. I’m sure they are from him, because I would not be writing in a notebook at 2 in the morning just for my own amusement. I hope they just might come in handy no matter what new crossroad you find yourself at this day.
*Your child is mine…I love them more than you and I will care for them today and every day after.
*I parted a sea, I can make sure your child has someone to play with at recess.
*I put a piece of me inside them, just ask me to help it shine through them.
*Being mine is far more important than being on the team or the homecoming float so help them keep their priorities straight.
*The more time you spend in worry, the less time you spend in trust.
*I always know what’s best…it isn’t always easiest but it’s best because best is getting to heaven and only I know that path for your child.
*My plans for them far exceed yours…let me do my work and just pray for your child to cooperate.
*Tell them you love them but make sure they know I love them even more.
*Truth trumps popularity every single time so demand honesty.
*You can’t pass the test unless you do the lessons…and some lessons are really hard…let them do the work, especially when the lesson is hard.
*Trust me, thank me when things are easy and when they are hard; don’t worry, I’m a very reliable Father!
*Pray for them and pray with them, speak my name together and often.
*My love isn’t attached to being first, best, beautiful or popular please don’t let your love be either.
*It’s not your job to constantly rescue and save your child, one particular Friday my Father watched me suffer through something really awful that turned out pretty awesome! I knew he was there but he didn’t do it for me.
*Everything in life isn’t easy…but everything isn’t hard either; know that I am there loving you through it all.
*If your child needs someone; I will always get there first, teach them my call sign…JESUS COME!
A Seed To Plant: Write this verse on a post-it and stick it where you’ll see it when you worry, then pick a couple things from the list that hit your heart or that might touch someone you know who is worried about a child and ask the Father to help you put it in motion.
Blessings on your day and on your Children’s backpack wherever they may be taking it this fall!
Copyright 2016 Sheri Wohlfert
About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.