One of Ruby’s little friends doesn’t like me much. She thinks I’m too strict, I reckon. I’m not changing how I do things just because some girl thinks I should let Ruby eat Pop-Tarts for dinner on a regular basis, or strip leaves off trees in order to swing on them, or make seesaws out of a flimsy tree branch and a handful of nails. I know. Just call me Czar Susan. Bow to me!
Which brings me to something else I’m learning: to hear God for myself. Or maybe it’s that God has been speaking to me in a variety of ways for so long, when I need direction for something very specific, I blow off the first answer that comes to me. “Is that all there is?” I learned as a young woman to pray and to fast and essentially, in my mind, to strive for answers. Our flesh is strong and our will doesn’t die easily. Both of which are true. Crucifying our flesh has a place. But sometimes, we’re in the “sweet spot” already. I would hope as we grow and mature we hear from God more readily, our ears and hearts attentive to His word and direction most of the time. He can trust us with more. We don’t have to get goosebumps to know God is speaking to us. We can detect Jesus’ guiding even when every other light has gone out.
I can trust what the Lord shows me. For example, I led pre-service prayer yesterday. Earlier in the week, as I prayed about it, I got a scripture. It didn’t seem “wow” enough. I didn’t feel different. However, I got a spiritual application to go with it. I kept praying and giving God opportunity to say more, to change things. I wanted to be open to doing it His way. But I got nothing else. Turns out that *was* the wow. The Lord showed up powerfully and the prayer time was impacting. He is faithful. I don’t have to push hard to make something happen. Its simplicity was beautiful. I got schooled.
I’m not sharing this to show how wonderful I am. You all know about my ahem, fabulousness. Sure, I screw it up sometimes. But it won’t be the end. I will get up, apologies all around to those I hurt, and move on. I will try to be careful and do no harm – but mistakes happen. I’m not perfect, despite singing on the platform and occasionally leading pre-service prayer at church. I’m still human.
As for parenting, I’m not going to let Ruby live on hotdogs, chips and ice cream, at least not every day. Since I’ve given people tons of latitude on how they parent over the years, it’s probably time to extend a little bit to myself. We will eat veggies and fruit and meat and bread, even cheese. Food groups matter. Eating a variety of foods will ensure we get the nutrients we need. Spiritually, it will be the same: we will hear from God as we keep on listening, no matter the venue.