Sunday, March 05, 2006


Do you sometimes feel like Sisyphus? Pushing and straining to move an enormous boulder up a steep hill only to watch it come rolling back down again?

For all you homeschooling parents out there I have a confession to make....I am a slow learner. Although I have I learned that there are some things which are as futile as Sisyphus's actions I still think I can achieve them. Waste of energy - discouraging - and worst of all sometimes that boulder gains a lot of momentum as it tumbles back down and ends up farther back than where it was.

What am I talking about? This past weekend I tried to talk my son into a mission trip - because I -emphasis on I - think it would be so good for him. In the process of that little "chat" (I think he phrased it as pressure) I was pushy - anxious to see him take hold - go deeper - almost casting it as if he had any spiritual interest he would want to go. Oh dear...not good...not a total disaster but why didn't I remember that this boy is not his brother - who went on a mission trip and came home on fire. This boy loves the Lord of the Rings - perhaps I should have it cast it that way - a great adventure - a quest. Instead I cast it as something he needed as if he was deficient - something "good for him" - about as appealing as "eat your vegetables".

I know this doesn't work - it is a Sisyphean task. I cannot by my desire - by my will - by my striving - make my children grow spiritually - anymore than I can make a flower grow. I can only provide the right climate - prayer first - love - protection - instruction - encouragement - and when a boy is 17 almost 18 - freedom. Oh dear...almost a man is a hard place to be - and mom of almost a man is a hard place too.

I need to grow - this is more my issue than his. He is a good boy - growing in his faith - fun to live with - not rebellious - just quieter - more inward - less expressive.

I need to learn to wait for him just as I wait for the bud to flower in springtime.

I need to trust - yes trust - that God will do the work in him and all my children. That His desire to see them walk in the truth is so much greater than mine. And I must remember that He is the only one who can accomplish that inward growth.

It is so hard for me to wait - to rest - to trust - especially when it come to my children because nothing in life is as important to me as seeing them wholly given to Him - on fire for Him - passionate about Him.

I am so grateful to be able to pour that desire into prayer - I know He hears. And He also deals with me - with my fears - my anxieties - my need for control.

This prayer of John Baille is mine today. Into Thy hands...

Almighty God, in this hour of quiet I seek communion with Thee. From the fret and fever of the day's business, from the world's discordant noises, from the praise and blame of men, from the confused thoughts of my own heart, I would now turn aside and seek the quietness of Thy presence. All day long I have toiled and striven; but now, in stillness of heart and in the clear light of Thy eternity, I would ponder the pattern my life has been weaving.

May there fall upon me now, O God, a great sense of Thy power and Thy glory, so that I may see all earthly things in their true measure.

Let me not be ignorant of this great thing, that one day is with Thee as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

Give me now such understanding of Thy perfect holiness as will make an end of all pride in my own attainment.

Grant unto me now such a vision of Thine own uncreated beauty as will make me dissatisfied with all lesser beauties.

Though earth and men were gone
And suns and universes cease to be
And Thou wert left alone
Every existence would exist in Thee

I am content, O Father, to leave my life in Thy hands, believing that the very hairs upon my head are numbered by Thee. I am content to give over my will to Thy control, believing that I can find in Thee a righteousness that I could have neve won for myself. I am content to leave all my dear ones to Thy care, believing that Thy love for them is greater than my own. I am content to leave in Thy hands the causes of truth and of justice, and the coming of Thy Kingdom in the hearts of men, believing that my ardour for them is but a feeble shadow of Thy purpose.

To Thee, O God, be glory for ever. Amen.

from the evening of the fifth day - A Diary of Private Prayer