Her words resonate deeply within me. Author/speaker Jen Hatmaker says, “Lord, teach me to parent the child I have, not the child I was or the kids I thought I would have.”
For me, the struggle between expectation and reality became a fierce game of tug and war. For my husband and me, the birth of our second child created an interruption in our vision for our family. Parenting a child with mental health concerns transforms the dynamics between family members. The close sibling relationships I longed for between my children became strained. My husband and I struggled to collaborate; each of us bringing our own perceptions, skill sets, and expectations to the table.
This is not how it’s supposed to be.
But sometimes, we must confront what’s truly stealing our peace. And sometimes its our dreams.
Accepting reality liberates us. Even visions that appear rooted in good intentions can become idols if they aren’t meant for us.
There’s nothing wrong with hoping for new outcomes or casting our prayers for them as we look into the face of Jesus. But let go of that which is keeping you from experiencing God’s peace right now.
It doesn’t mean we have to understand our circumstances. Or even like them.
But we are missing the ways God is shaping us, speaking to us, and even planting new dreams in our hearts if we can’t open our clenched hands.
As I learned to let go of my “idols,” and adapt to a different life than expected, my eyes began to see things I had not seen before. God grew compassion in me for other parents who live similar situations. And I’ve experienced the “peace that surpasses all understanding” when I would have least thought it possible.
God sees so much more of our circumstances than we do. Thankfully, He is in the business of intervention and redemption.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:19)