I love surprises. And I’m also not a planner – which means my life is full of them! For my recent trip to the National Parks of Utah you might think I would have done some sort of looking ahead to prepare for what I was about to see and do – but why do that when your travelling buddy has it all under control?
As we drove away from the Las Vegas airport on our way to our first destination, Sue (who had been to this area before) was cracking up as my jaw permanently dropped for the next few hours. I couldn’t believe the massiveness of mountains and the vastness of the ridges. “You haven’t seen anything yet!” she kept telling me.
Eight days and six national parks later, I was still in awe. I think the thing that surprised me the most was that I kept being surprised – each park was so different! The diversity of formations, colors, and textures of rock was incredible. Sue and I were constantly asking each other, “How did this even happen?”
One of my absolute favorite sights was “Balanced Rock” in Arches National Park. As you drive up to this formation, you have to do a double-take. “What in the world?”
Here’s a basic explanation: The ‘balanced’ rock, made of sandstone, is perched on a pedestal of mudstone. The pedestal, which weathers at a faster rate, is slowly shrinking and at some point, will no longer be able to support the boulder (which is about the size of three school buses and weighs 3,500 tons). Collapse is inevitable, but for now, it’s quite a sight to see!
One area of life I don’t look forward to surprises in is parenting. After working with teenagers for almost 20 years, I’m convinced that there will be plenty of “We didn’t see that coming!” moments in our future – but I’d love to keep them to a minimum. I know I can’t predict or control my girls’ future choices (no matter how much I’d like to), but as we’re learning in our Moms’ Bible Study – I can take intentional steps toward building a foundation of wisdom in their lives.
Proverbs 2:2-4 tells us that wisdom is something that must be sought after – it requires action on our part. We must ‘turn our ear,’ ‘incline our heart,’ and then be open and willing to ‘receive’ wisdom. We are to ‘raise our voice’ and ‘call out’ for it – ‘seeking’ after it like we would a treasure.
The thing is that after 10 years of parenting, I’ve found it much easier to live in “survival mode”. Life is crazy and busy and every kid and situation is different, so it seems natural to just ‘go with the flow,’ grabbing whatever bucket of sand I can find from things I hear (or happen across on Facebook) to keep things balanced. Or mostly I just do whatever I think is best in the moment.
But I’m learning that even though there’s lots of really good advice out there (and I might actually have some good ideas), none of it can replace the moment-by-moment activity of seeking after God’s wisdom. I have an entire Bible full of His wise words and the ability to ‘call out’ for help and then ‘turn my ear’ to the voice of His Spirit who can speak into my every situation.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
Unlike these rocks, I’m not just sitting around waiting for an inevitable collapse – I don’t have to live in fear of the forces of nature (or adolescent development). I have the opportunity to build into my childrens’ foundation a solid layer of God’s wisdom. And as I seek His insight in the moment, I am not only more likely to make better parenting choices, but I’m also modeling for them how to seek God’s understanding for themselves.
Those teenage years (and beyond!) may seem scary, but the weathering forces of culture, false teaching, and even that ugly sinful nature don’t stand a chance against the solid rock of God’s wisdom. The surprises may keep coming, but maybe some of the collapses can be prevented!