"One of the most convicting things I have recently come to realise about Jesus is that He was never, not once, in a hurry."
Mark Buchannan - Your God Is Too Safe
My son and I sat there on the bed in pregnant silence, he had something very serious to tell me and I was clueless as to what it could be. It was the last night of a much needed break from life's demands and it had been a glorious gift of empty space to 'be'. The words came tumbling out like a disturbed glass of milk, his inner conflict was finally liberated... and my heart broke.
He'd been isolated in this dark place, walking alone in the shadows, and only now, only when all was still, did he have the room to tell, and I the time to listen. Properly. I had seen some signs but only at a glance. I had heard some voices but only in passing. Now he had my full attention it was safe to talk freely, without risk of a casual brush off or the let-down of a trivialised response.
In that moment when darkness came close I was so thankful for the light. We have hope, we have a Helper.
Jesus said in John 14:26 -
"But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything I have told you."
Just as the Holy Spirit comes alongside me to guide, comfort, intercede, strengthen, counsel and standby, I am the one by which my children will feel the touch of Christ's life upon theirs. I am the one closest to lead them in the power of the Holy Spirit, to whisper His sweet words of love and wisdom.
The gift I can give my most precious ones is my time, attention, love, a listening ear, prayer and watchfulness, stillness of heart and home, to name but a few. But I know this is a journey, and I'm growing into this, it's not an instant reality. I, like so many others, have a bustling little home; reaching out, hosting, running Home Ed groups and activities, we have friends and family, church life, a dog to walk, errands to run, housework, sickness, financial pressure, car trouble... and so asking the Lord to help me live in grace and choose 'the better part' is a daily practice. I often fall short, sometimes lose my rag, my cool and the plot!
Guilt does me no good, though it tries to weigh me down like a rain soaked overcoat. We all make mistakes, we've all been too distracted, too busy to take note. But, I also have to accept I cannot control everything - I am not God. This is a tension to walk.
The important thing is to learn and keep moving forward, keep pressing and living forward to lay hold of maturity. Children change so quickly and the world around them is changing even faster, without someone to come alongside who will they have to guide them? If I am not at their side someone, or some thing else, will fill that void.
Some burdens are buried deep, skimming the surface will not reach them, mining the depths requires much time and focused attention. We cannot live in a cave (maybe some do!) but generally 'life' is happening to all of us in pretty much the same way, so as Jesus prayed, we can't expect to be 'taken out of this world but we can be kept safe from the evil one' (John 17:15).
As I come alongside my family in this rapidly changing world, I can make choices to live at a steadier pace which makes me a more stable, reliable and steady presence in their lives. I long to walk in an unforced rhythm of grace and be led by the Good Shepherd rather than being herded along by the unsympathetic drover of activity.
So, here I am, looking away once again from all that will distract to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, who for the hope set before Him endured the cross, Who's reward was the rest found in sitting after a finished work. I strive to enter that rest. I consider how He endured such hostility from wicked people and this helps my own heart not become weary or discouraged as I feel a loving Father dealing with me as to a child. I'm so grateful to be able to see the shortfalls and yet reach for a greater hand which lifts me up and on as a parent (Heb 12).
Next Week: Practical Tips on reaching the heart of your teenage son
You can also read the mentioned Sally Clarkson's blog post here - Breath Free From Guilt
From an original blog post 2017