Monday, November 07, 2011

Mama Can't Fix

     For years, it was “run to mama, and she’ll make it all better.” She gave lightly blown kisses for skinned knees, a refuge from pestering sisters behind her apron. In later years, there were words of wisdom dispensed while she was peeling potatoes or kneading bread dough.
     We little girls saw how mama did it, and from our hearts of love we did the same things when we grew up and had our babies. It just seems right that mama can fix physical and emotional “owwies.” It was up to daddy to fix the wagon, the tricycle, and the washing machine.
     What worked when Danny and Lola were little established us in the “Super Mom” mode. And that set us up for disappointment.

     Things have gotten out of hand. Mama can’t really fix all the broken things in life — broken friendships, broken promises, stressed marriages, flattened finances. Even with the children married, there’s still that tug on the heart. And Denver and Des Moines are miles away.
     Despite our concern, bordering upon worry, we parents try to hold it together. However, even desperate determination isn’t the answer. What’s really going on is a test, for us and for them. Can we trust God? Can we speak calm words of assurance because we’ve prayed and given the burden to the Lord? Has Scripture been brought to mind by His Holy Spirit?
     What’s your first impulse? Jump in the car and go, be there on the scene? Write a check and get it in the mail this afternoon? Phone everyone you know?
     Mama can’t fix, anymore. This latest calamity is only a tip of an iceberg floating in a huge ocean of life. Tears and kisses, even money, can’t take care of all of the other person’s needs. Consider it an invitation to sit down and have a serious talk with God. Instead of prayer out of panic, a prayer of believing God and letting go.
     This is a time of testing. Your kids need to know how to size up the problem and get down on their knees to ask God for wisdom and help. You need to know how to relinquish any idea of having all the answers. You may have to say, “No,” to that request, or tell yourself, “No,” to that impulse.
     The faithful dog has died. Major dental work is needed. The move to a new town and a new job meant leaving friends behind. Dilemma or disaster, the right words often fail us as we reach out to the person who is hurting.
     Or, perhaps we’re full words, that is, hot air. The mouth starts up before the brain gets in gear. Slapping down blame, running interference for the ball carrier, who might be headed in the wrong direction. Even too much sympathy can camouflage the calamity. A Band-Aid may hinder healing; advice can add to aggravation. What we say and do may deter the growth that needs to take place.
     It’s not that mama doesn’t love you, it’s that your Father in Heaven loves you more.
     Adversity, ours or someone else’s, has a way of putting us on the spot. How easily we slide back into our old ways.
     “I’m so sorry, I —” No, I’m maturing in my faith, and I realize that mama can’t fix, but God can. In my need I am reminded to turn my eyes on Him. His Word has answers; His Holy Spirit leads and guides me when I give up my inflated ideas of sufficiency and call out to Him.
     This is NOT to say don’t make a gesture to help at all, don’t do something tangible, or don’t express some sympathy. These very things may be called for. We need discernment to make good decisions.
     What in the world is God trying to teach us? He wants us to trust Him and obey Him. Go back to the last thing He impressed upon you to do, that you didn’t do. Obey Him and He will show you the next step to take. There is more to learn, more to do.
     As we turn to God for answers maybe this is an opportunity to set things straight, confess a sin, deal with an old mistake. Don’t let anything block your communication with Him.
     Even after praying and giving the problem to God things might not go the way we hoped, the way we planned. There might be something entirely different in His plan for us. It may be more wonderful in the long run than we can imagine. His timing is not the same as ours. Can we let Him show us? Our faith does not “rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power,” (1 Corinthians 2:5).
     Parents or children, singles or young marrieds, teens or senior citizens, we all need the truth of God. Don’t wait until the next disaster shows up on your doorstep. Don’t wait until someone needs more than you can give. Now is the time to establish and deepen your relationship with God. Another test is already on the way. Find the joy of Jesus.
     Anger, frustration, and tears of sorrow come to each of us, somewhere along the line. Bystander or recipient, trouble in life is inevitable. Don’t be too disappointed that mama can’t fix. Turn to the One who can.    + + +

by Elaine Hardt ©2001