Monday, September 15, 2014
That Time Caiden and I Decided to Run Away
My sister always used to threaten she would run away when we were little. A cousin of mine actually did run away while living with us. This particular approach never occurred to me when it came to dealing with my frustrations as a child. I remember using tears A LOT as an outlet to frustration, but it never struck me to throw in the towel on my family. Never, that is, until two weeks before I was free to be on my own. It was two measly weeks until my high school graduation (at which point I planned on moving away) when I got so frustrated with my mother and felt there was so much injustice happening that I literally ran away. I ran out of the house and down the street, jumping into ditches every time a car drove past in fear that my mother would find me and take me home. I ran all the way to the outskirts of town and eventually ended up in the home of a friend. My mom and I patched things up a few days later and I came home, finished school, and moved away. Twelve years went by before I felt any kind of remorse or guilt about my decision. Until then, I had felt completely justified. Completely at peace with my decision until the Holy Spirit brought conviction about this thing I hardly ever even think about any more. It all happened when my own little girl made the decision recently that it was time for her to pack up her things and "get out of Dodge."
A few weeks ago, as I was getting out of the shower, an unhappy little six year old with an iron will and tangled hair came marching into the bathroom with her backpack on and her "Pink Blanket" in her hand. "I'm running away from home!" she declared with a pouting look.
"Oh man." I thought wryly, "How can we be here already?" I really hadn't expected to deal with the whole running away scenario until teen years, if ever.
We talked there in the bathroom--me in my towel with dripping wet hair, sitting on the closed lid of the toilet and her standing before me with her backpack and determined face. I asked her why she wanted to run away and explained why its not okay to run away from your problems. I also tried to evoke some compassion for the feelings of her conscientious big brother who was probably scared as his little sister was packing up to run away while Mom was in the shower. We talked about some other things and she apologized and had a change of heart. She assured me that she wouldn't do it again.
A few nights later, David and I had a confrontation and battle of wills with Caiden right before bed. Now that she was an old pro at this she threatened the run away thing again. We had to have a serious conversation about obedience and trust. I asked Caiden if she trusted God. I asked her if she loved God. I reminded her that Jesus says "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." in John 14:15 and that His word says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20. I told her that if she leaves the family God placed her in, she would be disobeying and leaving God's will for her life, because God put her parents in authority over her ("There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." Romans 13:1) In leaving, she would be saying that she knows better than God.* In essence, she would be saying that she doesn't trust Him. I told her that if she loves and trusts God, she needs to trust that He knows what He's doing when He placed her in her family. As I spoke these words of truth from God's word, His word also pierced MY heart. I remembered my actions all those years ago and all the circumstances surrounding them. Nothing changed as far as my perspective or view of the circumstances, but I clearly saw that in leaving my family in such a way, even if I had felt wronged, was an act of disobedience to my Lord and also one of mistrust. I was surprised by this change of heart, because nothing could have convinced me that I was in the wrong except for God's Spirit speaking to my heart and changing it. I felt I must repent and make amends with my mom.
I love how He does that. It lends an incredible amount of peace to my life in knowing that I need not spend all of my moments worrying and second guessing everything I've ever done, but can--in entrusting my life to following and loving Jesus--rest, knowing He is responsible for convicting me of sin and convicting my children, too. I don't need to nor can I successfully micromanage these things. If I do, I end up placing my trust in myself and my own abilities instead of spending my time enjoying Jesus and the relationship with God that He has made available to me through His work in living a perfect life in my place already and then taking my punishment for my sins. I am not resting in that work and enjoying Him, instead I am trying to do that same work myself as if His work wasn't good enough!
His worthiness to be trusted with these things has been evidenced to me exponentially, lately, as just yesterday, Caiden came to me out of the blue, confessing that she sometimes would throw her homework away last year. I couldn't help but laugh, knowing how much Caiden hates homework and how much we battled over it last year. At the same time I realized, with awe, how much God holds my little girl in His hands. I might not catch every wrong thing my kids do, but He misses nothing. I cannot force my children to love and obey Him, but His Spirit clearly works in them to do both. I may not always handle each parenting situation right; I may sometimes frustrate my child to the point where she deceives me and throws away her homework, but luckily God knows what He's doing when He allows one broken person who desperately needs God to steward and disciple another broken person who desperately needs Him, too, and He's faithful to work in both of us to sanctify us and He is "able to keep [us] from stumbling and present [us] blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy" (Jude 1:24). The only way I know to parent is to humbly cling to Jesus, point to Jesus, and hope in Jesus.
*To be clear, this post was not written to condemn anyone who has left an abusive situation and/or left a situation in the interest of safety. That would be an entirely different matter.
Posted by Corynne Escalante at 6:04 PM