Stretching and Straining
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)
My youngest daughter, Mia, and I watched as the older – but shorter – sister Tia strained and stretched, trying to reach the vanilla on the top shelf of our kitchen cabinet. The stepstool that is normally by the sink had been moved and she couldn’t quite reach.
Finally asking for help, Mia continued to eat her snack, with a menacing smile and a twinkle in her eye. She whispered, ‘Natural selection . . . only those over 5’4” get vanilla!’
Of course we did help her . . . eventually . . . but it was certainly fun to see her try to trouble shoot the problem. My brother and I say to our kids, ‘Work the problem’ whenever siblings get themselves into a tussle. It’s saved us a boatload of refereeing and helped them to learn how to negotiate and cooperate. (Sometimes.)
We want our children to learn to be independent and to grow and stretch spiritually, but we also have a responsibility to know when to step in and help. Stretching is good . . . but straining too hard can cause injury. Just as we do not run the race without the support of our brothers and sisters-in-Christ, we also need to be there to assist our children as they make their journey.
Father, we praise You that You are a good Father and that You are always watching over us. Help us to discern when we need to step into the lives of our children, and when to hold back to allow them to stretch and grow. We pray that You would surround them with Jesus lovers who will encourage and grow with them. In Jesus’ name, Amen!