“Back to school” felt really different this fall. And I did not like it one bit.
My oldest daughter really took responsibility this year.
She looked up her schedule.
She organized her supply needs.
She drove herself to registration.
And to school.
And to practice.
All. By. Herself.
Before she left for school one morning last week, I began to load her water bottle with ice so it would still be cold by the time her 3:30pm cross-country practice rolled around. She’d already prepared her own breakfast and lunch; this was my small token effort to come alongside. But she interrupted me, saying that she wanted to do it… a particular way.
I felt rejected.
She didn’t seem to require anything from me. She just didn’t need me. While we’re raising our children to prepare them for launch into adulthood, I wanted her to need me (for more than just registrar fees, anyway).
As often happens in parenting, I realized how similarly God must feel with us. Indeed, He causes us to grow and mature. Our faith develops and deepens in much the same way as we progress toward adulthood from childhood. But God never intends for us to be independent of Him. He has the heart of a Father who desires to remain close to His children, ever-mindful of our needs.
The American culture promotes independence and “rugged individualism.” I wonder how often this way of thinking infiltrates our prayer life, keeping us from relationship and conversation with our God. How quickly we begin to problem-solve our lives and strategize to meet our own needs, instead of turning to Him and trusting He will care for us perfectly. Because He is “at hand,” we are instructed to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV) He is close and wants to meet our needs and hear our voices even more than I wanted to share in my daughter’s daily life.