Earlier this week I dropped my two oldest off at sleep-away school (that sounds so much nicer than “boarding school”, doesn’t it?). While they couldn’t contain their excitement over moving into their dorm rooms, meeting old and new friends, learning new things and living on a beautiful campus, I couldn’t contain my dislike for the whole business. The night before they left I said, “You guys aren’t supposed to be so happy about this. Can’t you at least pretend you want to live the rest of your lives right here, next to me?”
Of course I was kidding. Knowing they want to go makes it so much easier. Not to mention the entire point of raising children is to teach them to be independent. To prepare them for the moment they venture out into the big world and take responsibility for themselves (gasp!).
The problem is, I know how much can go wrong out there. I know all the bad things that can happen. And what I don’t know, I lie awake at night and imagine. You don’t want to know what scary thoughts go on in my Mom Brain when I get like that. (Unless you’re a mom, too. In that case, I don’t have to tell you.) If only life could be lived in bubble wrap. Or better yet, an impenetrable panic room with everything we could ever need or want.
But it can’t. We weren’t created for that kind of existence. We were created to be independent people. One of the main questions that arises regarding Christianity is about this very thing. Why did God create Adam and Eve in the first place if He knew they were going to fall into sin and ruin His perfect world? One answer to that question is that He created them to make their own choices and decisions. He didn’t want a couple of robots who only loved and obeyed because that’s what they were programmed to do.
Honestly, I’ve never really liked that answer. But after this past week, I see it in a different light. I want Luke and Kate to enjoy being home, and to love time with family. But I also want them to feel so of their own free will. I don’t want them to do those things just because that’s what I want.
Could it be that God feels the same about His children? That He wants us to love Him because of the amazing and wonderful things He has done for us and continues to do? I need a few moments to let this sink in… of all the ways God could have created me, this is what He chose. Not to make me a prepackaged, cookie cutter person, but to make me independent and to give me freedom to make my own choices.
No, I don’t completely get it. As the LORD Himself tells me, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” (Isaiah 55:8) But I do know this: The kind of love I want to give, and the kind I want to receive, is the kind I was made to have. It’s the kind that freely overflows from a truly thankful, joyous, and willing heart.