Mommas do a lot for their children. It’s part of God’s plan for us mommas. But all mommas know this: one day those children are going to grow up and move out (hopefully, right?) and they need to know how to function on their own.
About the time my daughter was a freshman in high school I figured if my children knew 5 basic functions they could make it on their own out in the big, cruel world one day:
- Know how to clean a toilet (I had actually taught both of them that little task years before);
- Know how to tell time (on a clock with hands, for heaven’s sake just in case);
- Know how to make change (which clearly has escaped most people working in the fast food industry today);
- Know how to balance a checkbook (and not just look at the end balance on a statement – hey everybody – there is a difference); and
- Know how to do their own laundry.
I’m very well aware that when they leave this nest they may not ever do any of those, but let’s get one thing straight – they won’t leave this nest without knowing how to do them.
And now here’s a little secret about me: I enjoy #5.
(Loud gasp can now be heard for miles…)
See it’s a control thing. I like sorting the whites into their pile, the darks that need to be cold vs. the ones that need to be washed on hot in their piles (I have a son who plays sports, remember?) reds go in by themselves, and as my mother would say, the “unmentionables” get their own pile. I sort, I wash, I fold all my piles away with a sense of accomplishment and order. (But don’t get me started on ironing – I HATE ironing – that’s all there is to that. Downy’s Wrinkle Releaser has truly changed my life for the better…)
So back to teaching the finer art of laundry to my daughter. In the beginning it bugged me the way she did laundry – her piles weren’t the same as the ones I would make and she refused to dry any t-shirt so she would hang them on the shelf in the laundry room, the curtain rods in the kitchen, the shower rod in her bathroom, the clothes hanger outside, etc.
It bugged me until one day I realized how much freedom I now had because I wasn’t a slave to her laundry anymore.
Cheer skirt dirty from last week? Not my problem. Favorite t-shirt with a salsa stain on it? Too bad. I realized it’s OK – no it’s actually AWESOME – to let go of her laundry. But it took me surrendering the task to her, and then trusting her to do it even if she does it different than I would do it before I could scream, “Free at last, free at last! Thank the Lord I’m free at last!”
True freedom is available in our spiritual lives as well. “The word ‘surrender’ brings to mind many pictures, perhaps a white flag waving above the sails of a ship or a troop of outnumbered soldiers with their hands raised. Often, we associate it with defeat, but when it comes to a life with Christ, the act of giving up control to Him is actually the beginning of our freedom.” (Living In Freedom Everyday, Church of the Highlands)
And to truly surrender to God, you must trust Him. So if you don’t trust Him, start there. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Work on one area of your life at a time, turning control over to Him, trusting Him and then enjoying the result of your obedience.
The result is a something unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced.
It’s blessed freedom!
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