When my infant twin sons were only weeks old, I decided I would teach them to sleep through a little bit of noise. With two babies at once, I didn’t want to have to tiptoe through the house all the time. So after they drifted off to sleep in their swings one afternoon, I promptly rolled out the vacuum cleaner and began sweeping the living room. As I rolled the vacuum back and forth underneath their rocking swings, those baby boys barely stirred. The following week, I did it again. And I continued to do it each week while patting myself on the back.
You’re nailing this part of parenting! I proudly thought to myself. Not only was I certain my babies slept through a good deal of noise because I’d taught them to, but I felt I’d succeeded in showing them who was “boss” within our family.
When our daughter came along three and a half years later, I once again employed the idea that this new infant would need to get used to a little noise. After all, she had two rowdy brothers who made no small amount of it! So on an early summer evening after she went to sleep, I fired up the vacuum cleaner.
The results? Not the same. Not the same AT ALL.
It took 1.32 seconds for my daughter’s eyes to pop open and grow as big as turkey platters. Then she started screaming like she was on fire. I quickly scooped her from the crib, acutely aware of how the roaring vacuum must’ve seemed like a mean trick from her vantage point.
As I spent those next minutes and hours patting her back to a rhythm of shh, shh, shhhh, all I could think was one thing: You, my dear, had nothing to do with your sons sleeping through the noise. That was a singular work of God’s grace, a gift that made infant twins a little bit easier.
I rolled my eyes at myself at least a dozen times before finally calming the baby down, over two hours later.
Oh, the price I paid for my pride!
Time would continue to show me in a thousand different ways that I am not to take too much credit for the good — or the bad — that happens in my life. And when it comes to difficult change, I will not take too much credit for it either.
But I sure try to do this, especially when the change brings a lot of unwanted circumstances. Whether I’m in the 3 p.m. carpool line or wide awake at 3 a.m., I can spend untold hours asking these questions:
Why didn’t I anticipate this?
Shouldn’t I have taken steps to prevent it?
What does it say about me that I didn’t see this coming?
Yes, it’s certainly true that actions have consequences and we need to care for what’s in our lane. But just because this change is here doesn’t mean it’s our fault. Perhaps it’s here because we live in a broken world. What’s more, perhaps it’s here because there’s something that needs breaking or something that’s already broken that needs to be fixed.
In the words of author Jennifer Dukes Lee, “Brokenness isn’t intended to break us. It’s intended to heal us by leading us back to the cross.”
Maybe whatever change happens in my life and yours is to heal something that’s broken. Maybe it’s here to remind us of our need for God and His power working in us and in our lives.
I am not God, and neither are you. So say it with me now: I am not in charge of this change. God is, and you and I will see how He makes a way through it for us. That isn’t some trite cliché. Scripture is full of references of God making a way through impossible circumstances for His beloveds. (Just ask the Israelites, Ruth, Esther, and Mary and Joseph to name but a few.) Like them, we can trust God’s faithful follow-through. And as we wait, we can refuse to look inward for some kind of supernatural gift or strength and instead look upward for it. We can see our brokenness for what it is — the path we take to the cross, where we’re reminded of how Jesus’ unchanging love changes everything for us.
Ruth Mills says
So often when I think I had something to do with making a positive change I’m quick to share my success so others can do the same. How much more valuable is it when I point to Jesus & His enabling, leading & filling me to accomplish what is needed to change. Made me think of the story of the difference between giving a hungry man a fish or teaching a hungry man to fish. Pointing to Jesus is the most valuable & loving act we can do. Bless you for this reminder it is all about Him not me!
Kristen Strong says
Amen, Ruth! Love this and you!
Boy! – did I need that!
Thank you Kristen
Kristen Strong says
I needed it too, Deborah. And thank YOU!
Michelle Stiffler says
Love this, Kristen! Pride, change, and acceptance – three realities we’re constantly learning and relearning. Thank you!
Kristen Strong says
Learning and relearning–how very true. Thank you, Michelle! xo
Kellie Johnson says
What a great reminder here. I try to tell myself frequently “I can do no good thing apart from my Father”. Pride is so prickly and boy can it boost me with false confidence if I lean in too hard! Thanks for sharing this story with us today-Kellie
Kristen Strong says
As the story illustrates, I can certainly get that false confidence too. Heh. Here’s to reminding one another that we can do “no good thing apart from our Father.” Thank you for being here, Kellie!
Lovely reminders, Kristen! Thank you for your words.
Kristen Strong says
Thank you for the kind comments, Irene!
Yikes….something to think and pray about….
Amen Amen Amen and let me say it again Amen!!!!
Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much for these words. They resonate so much with me.
Nancy Ruegg says
Thank you for this wisdom today, Kristen. I’ve been asking myself similar questions: Why didn’t I see this coming? Did I miss God’s warnings? Did I not pray enough? You’ve reminded me that I am not in charge of this situation. God is and He will make a way through it. Something else I read today: “Whatever we are enduring is not random; it’s carefully planned. Nothing can happen to us outside of God’s plan for our lives” (Melissa B. Kruger, Growing Together, p. 132). It sure feels as though God is making His voice heard when two different sources address the same issue!
Beth Williams says
Most changes are hard for me to take. I like same old same old. God allows changes in our lives to bring us back to Him. It is in the midst of change that I pray more & harder. But when the trial/change is over God has done a work in us. During a recent change at work I went to the cross in prayer. Reminding myself of His unchanging love for me!
I have recently gone through a change at work. They closed my unit & moved me to a Covid unit. My emotions were all over the map. Sure I was glad to still have a job, but I missed my unit the work I did (clerical). Now I just stock items, clean, empty trash, & answer phone. Feel kind of useless some days as there isn’t much to do for me. At night I would cry to God about it. One night God said “Beth For I know the plans I have for you.” “ok Lord.” A couple of days I was asked to work the cardio vascular unit. I like it as I felt more useful. Even made comments about wanting to work that unit should they have an opening. Yesterday (12/2) while I was sitting (close observation of patient) the RN manager came over to the Covid unit & told me about a position she was going to have open & did I want full or part time benefitted? She told me she had to go through protocols & advertise the position, but look for it & apply. WOW! God does have plans for us. Plans to prosper us & not for harm. To give us a hope & a future. Never in my life would I have seen this coming. Going from a part time 2-3 day a week position-working extra when needed to now having this! God is awesome!!