I'm the One Holding the Strings
God has blessed me with three kids. I have a lot to juggle with three since I want each one to soar to the height of his or her potential.
I see myself as the anchor for my kids; the one holding the kite strings. Each year I unloop a little of the string from my hands and watch my kids sail higher and farther than the year before. It's so fun to have people around me tilt their heads back and admire the beautiful, flying colors, which are undeniably tied to me!
Of course, there are unexpected yanks and tugs as the wind shifts, but I look at these as opportunities for new height. Sometimes I feel tugged to help my child improve his appearance with new clothes and a haircut. Other times the wind shifts and I'm driven to help him succeed academically, with better schooling and new technology. If I notice that he's not fitting in, I'm yanked in the direction of working on his social skills and networking. If he lacks pizzazz on the court or field, I'm tossed toward private lessons and better coaching.
The wind is unpredictable, and I never feel completely stable in my role down here, holding the strings. I'm always on guard. I can never relax. And I'm always worried about snags that could keep my precious kids from going higher into the sky.
Stuck in a Tree
Then, without warning, the wind pulls one of my kites into a tree. Maybe he fails a test, is bullied on the playground, or is cut from a team. From my place below, holding the strings, I am irritated and embarrassed and frustrated. I have two other strings to hold onto, and this one is stuck! I'm impatient to get the kite up into the sky again, where it can soar and be admired.
God, what should I do? I need wisdom about my child who is stuck. Help me get him unsnagged so that he can be free to soar again. I'll do whatever you say. Should I climb the tree? Get a ladder? Cut off that branch? Or just try and tug him loose?
But God says no. He has a different plan. He says that He doesn't want me to be driven and tossed by the wind anymore. He wants me to be free of my role as anchor. He wants me to give the strings to Him.
Give the strings to Him? What—all three? I'm confused. God must have misunderstood. I only need His wisdom about this one who is stuck in the tree. I know how to anchor these kids and keep them soaring high. I've been doing it for so long. I'm really good at it! See how the other two are flying? Plus, what would I do with myself if I was free of them?
Giving God the Strings
God says He just wants me to be free of trying to control them. He wants me to be free to enjoy them as I never have before. He invites me to trust His wisdom and goodness instead of my own. But He says that once I give Him the strings, I must not take them back. I must have faith in Him; no doubting.
Hmm . . . This makes me really uneasy. With my strings in God's hands, what happens to the two who are soaring high? They won't be anchored in me, so I'll miss out on the pleasure of being linked to their success! And what if God doesn't know how to keep them flying high?
Plus, what about the one who is snagged? What if even God can't get him unstuck? Or what if he gets re-snagged? If I give his string to God, it won't be mine to tug anymore. This makes me feel insecure and uncertain.
I decide to ask God for a guarantee. Can He assure me that if I give Him my strings, my kites will fly higher than ever before? And that they won't ever be snagged or ensnared? Will everyone always tilt their heads back and admire my precious kids? Will I feel even more pride that I have up until now?
Steadfast and Stable
God says no. This is not His way. Instead, I will feel freedom. I will be able to count it all joy, even when my child is ensnared beneath branches, unable to soar. He says the people around me will see joy and peace on my face. Rather than admiring me, they'll notice the One who has gathered my precious kite strings and who holds both them and me. God promises that my family will soar in new ways, unbothered by who is watching or what impression we are making. We will be steadfast. No longer driven and tossed. Steadfast.
As I consider the proposition, I feel the wind shifting again. I adjust my stance, trying to make the flying kites swoop higher. But as I respond to the surge of wind, I accidentally yank the snagged kite and hear a snap. Oh, no! Have I broken his sail? What have I done?
I feel new anxiety. A new rush of adrenaline. I'm angry. God gave me too many kites. I'm not equipped to handle this much pressure. I'm not doing well, and everyone can see it. The strings are cutting into my hands, and I'm not sure what to do next. I'm tired. I'm driven and tossed.
Gently, generously, and with no reproach, God holds out His hands. Will I trust Him?
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. . . . If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:2-6).
How is God asking you to let go of the strings—either of your family or another area of life?
By Shannon Popkin
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