July 29, 2011
Are You Ready for a Do-Over?
"Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.'" Jonah 3:1-2 (NIV)
Do-overs don't come along often. When they do, I've learned you need to be ready. One second it's a normal Sunday night, the next second God hands you a do-over on a silver platter.
That weekend my youngest son Robbie and my husband went to Rocky Point, Mexico, on a short mission trip. A team of nurses set up a weekend medical clinic, and my guys spent the day assisting the team, and playing games with the waiting children.
They had a great time and arrived home for dinner with the family on Sunday. Robbie helped me clean the kitchen afterwards, while we talked about the trip. My husband had already told me Robbie loved it, and bragged on how hard he worked. But at that moment it was just me and Robbie in the kitchen.
Robbie had his back to me, washing a counter. In a voice that sounded somewhat shaking and unsure, I heard him say, "I think I found my calling."
My response that Sunday night was VERY different than it would have been seven years ago. Seven years ago, if Robbie had made that same comment, shamefully, I would not have been very supportive.
ALL I would have thought about is how far away that might take the boy I desperately love. I would have thrown in a few "motherly" cautions and warnings. I might have expressed my concern not so much in words, but in held back affirmations. I've done it before.
Seven years ago, when his oldest brother wanted to go to Honduras at age 13, that's how I responded. He'd already gone to Mexico on a mission trip and it deeply shook his little suburban-self up. He wanted to pursue mission work and was excited about the idea of Honduras. I never said no, but in subtle ways, I influenced my loving son by what I said and didn't say. Josh eventually dropped the subject.
I'm ashamed. I've repented with many tears. I've regretted how I allowed my fears to hold back my son from obeying God's calling. I've lived with the "what ifs" for years. What if I had encouraged Josh to explore this potential calling? What would it have done in Josh's heart?
Sunday night, Robbie got a very different response. This time, I had to restrain my enthusiasm so he didn't feel embarrassed by my emotional response. A second chance had just been placed in my lap, and I wasn't about to mess it up.
"That's awesome!" I said. Then I stopped cleaning and turned to face him. "Have you thought about another trip you'd like to take? The church sponsors lots of trips, you know." (I could feel myself getting excited, and tried to rein myself in.)
"I'd like to go back to Mexico."
"What about Uganda or Honduras?" I suggested. (I was having trouble reining myself in.)
"I think I'd like to try Mexico again before taking a bigger trip." (Okay, so he's still got a bit of me in him.)
"Robbie," I said, making sure he saw the confidence and pride in my eyes. "We will do whatever it takes to allow you to go on any mission trip you want."
And in my heart I heard a whisper, Thanks Glynnis.
I smiled as I turned back to the dishes and bowed my head. No, thank You Lord, for a second chance.
Dear Lord, that You for forgiving me for the times I've allowed my fears to hold my loved ones back from obeying Your call. I want to be a woman who trusts You completely with the lives of my family. Help me to walk in faithful abandon, believing fully that You know what You are doing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Glynnis' blog for more on how to teach your child to overcome fear (and help yourself overcome fear in the process).
When Your Child Is Hurting by Glynnis Whitwer
Think of one thing you or a family member would like to do, but fear has held you back. Take some time to identify the root of the fear, and ask God to help you overcome it.
Do my fears affect anyone besides me? Family, friends, others? Describe.
List some of the attributes of God that tell of how powerful God is in the face of fears. (unchanging, all-knowing, etc.)
Revelation 12:11, "They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (NIV)
Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (NIV)
© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 29 July 2011.