When I was a teenager, I was sure I never wanted kids. It sounded like a lot of work. And I had dreams I was afraid kids would interfere with, so, nah, I was good.
Fast forward a decade (or two or maybe three), and I will tell you being a mom has been hands-down one of the absolute greatest joys of my life. Hugging tiny, squishy little bodies as they wrap their arms and legs around you and bury their heads in your neck—amazing! Hearing the patter of little feet running down the hallway and a little voice excitedly calling out for “mommy” simply because they missed you while they slept and can’t wait to see you—who wouldn’t love that?! Conversation with teens about the hard things and cherishing that they still trust you with their needs is the best! Watching them grow and develop as they get ready to launch is such a beautiful thing, even though it scares you and breaks your heart at the same time.
I can safely say that I am so glad teenage-Chrissie became adult Chrissie and changed her mind about having kids because, for me, it has been a dream come true of a dream I didn’t even know I had! I love my boys, and I am so very thankful the Lord let me be their mom!
My love for them makes me want to protect and keep them safe. Since they were itty-bitty, I’ve prayed that God would protect their hearts, souls, and minds from evil and keep them safe. So when I sensed God asking me to change my prayer, I was a little taken aback.
When you have teens, you start to realize just how important the people they choose to spend their time with are. Gone are the days when they put me on a pedestal and thought my ways were perfect. Oh, they still come to me when it matters, but they’re beginning to make their own way and become their own men, which includes listening to other voices so they can determine who they really want to follow. It’s an exciting time we all go through; it’s what parents spend years preparing their children to do! But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to keep them safe or that we stop asking the Lord to protect them.
As my boys began to find their own way, interests, and people, I started fervently praying that God would help them make wise choices in friends. I prayed He would surround them with godly girls and boys who would point them to Him. I wanted them in a safe, Christian bubble so they wouldn’t wander astray. Following Jesus is my greatest hope for my kids, and I would do anything to help them get there!
While there’s nothing wrong with that prayer, I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering, “what if I want to use them to point people to Me?”
That sounds good in theory, you know, when they’re adults and their prefrontal cortexes are fully developed. I mean, they’re too young and impressionable right now. There is no way they’re ready for that. I think it would be best to keep them safe and sound for now, and then, when they’re fully grown, they can move outside of the carefully selected group of people I feel comfortable with for them.
But I knew that wasn’t what God was saying. As I thought about it, I knew He was asking me to not only change my prayer, but He really wanted to know something more.
“Do you trust Me?”
Do you trust Me? It’s a simple question, but at the heart of it lies a very complex concept: do we trust God enough to surrender the things, the people, we hold most dear to Him? Will we willingly lay them before His feet because we understand who He is, or will we try to hold on to what we treasure out of fear of what it will cost?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
Do we trust Him? With our hopes and our dreams, with our futures, with our people?
Man, that is a tough question to wrestle with. We want to say, “yes, absolutely!” But our actions may prove differently. We may say we’re holding our hands open to the Lord, but are they open to receive or to surrender?
We will never fully realize all He has for us if we do not surrender all that we have to Him.
And it all comes down to that one simple question: Do you trust Me?
Tears fell down my cheeks as I realized the selfish prayer I had been praying all of those years. I had been praying for what I wanted, for God to keep my babies safe. But in less than a minute, He reminded me that He loves them even more than I do and that I cannot say I trust Him if I hold anything back from Him.
So, with tears streaming down my face, I surrendered, praying, “Lord, I’m sorry I’ve been selfish. I know the boys aren’t really mine; they’re Yours. I know You love them. I know You have plans for their future, for what You want to accomplish through them. If You can use them to reach one lost kid, yes, please use them! As You do, please keep their focus on You; don’t let the world lead them astray. May they glorify You, even though it scares me to think of where that might lead. You are God, and I trust You.”
I don’t know what you treasure most. It might not be kids. Perhaps it’s a spouse, parent, or someone you love deeply. Or maybe it’s the career you’ve built or are trying to build, the dream you’re chasing, or that thing you’ve been working towards for so long. Maybe it’s an unmet longing that you wish with all your heart the Lord would make come true.
Whatever it is, will you trust the Lord with it? That’s a big question, one you might have to wrestle with for some time. That’s ok! Take the time, sit with the Lord, and be honest with yourself and with Him.
Do you trust Him? If so, it’s time to surrender everything and let Him lead.
Father, I trust You. I know You are good. You are faithful. You are wise. You are love. Thank You for all that You are! Today, I lay ________________ at Your feet and surrender to Your will in that area of my life. I pray that You will be glorified and that I will draw nearer to You as You have Your way. I trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Chrissie Angell is the Executive Director and a Co-founder of Humble Faith Ministries. She is a speaker, writer, and Bible teacher passionate about pointing women to Jesus and helping them live out their Kingdom assignments. She and her husband, Brian, live in Kentucky with their two boys and their yellow lab, Charger.