Recently I was asked to be a panelist at a parenting forum. One of the participants wanted me to share a difficult yet defining moment of motherhood. Quite easily my memory took me back to August of 2010. I had just returned home from an exhausting business trip. When I walked into my home, I took immediate stock of what Kyle, my recent high school graduate, had done or (more accurately) had not done in preparation to leave for college in less than 36 hours.
As I go to search for the little darling and chide him for his lack of readiness, I find him. still asleep, although the noon hour has already passed. For a fleeting moment, I felt like a commercial for the armed services. That I had already done more before 12:00 than he was going to do all day. I took e a deep breath, and then as nice as you please, (because I know I only have 36 hours before he leaves for college) I wake Kyle up and tell him this would be as good a time as any to begin doing laundry, packing, and shopping for his college dorm items. As he wakes up, he rolls over and I see it.
I immediately begin interrogating Kyle like he was a wanted felon.
“What is that thing on you, who did this, how did that happen?” You see I discovered that Kyle’s arm is now a billboard of his pertinent information. His name, his birthplace, and his birthday, as if he may need a reminder of this information once he gets to college. “Now isn’t this a nice welcome home” I told Kyle with all the sarcasm I could muster. I mean it’s not like he didn’t already know exactly how I feel about tattoos.
Later in the afternoon, after I pulled myself off the ceiling, I knew the remedy for me to find peace was to spend some quiet time in prayer. Gradually I realized that no matter what I did or didn’t do, the permanent, very colorful and bright ink wasn’t going away. No amount of anger, time spent considering a consequence, or just sheer frustration could alter the situation. I began to think of the Serenity Prayer that asks God to grant me the peace to accept the things I can not change.
Somehow that prayer always sounded like a good idea in the theoretical realm.
But now I realized that I needed to apply it in the practical realm. The Serenity Prayer for me had been about memorization, but now I had true revelation of what it means to accept the things you can not change. I would like to encourage you to consider some people, some situations or some things in your life that require you to go to God for the peace of mind to accept them because there isn’t anything you can do to change them.
I can honestly tell you, based on my own experience, that once you really get this concept deep down in your spirit there is a real sense of freedom. Yes, freedom from wasting time thinking about it and/or worrying about it because you realize it already is what it’s going to be. You may have some permanent ink circumstances in your life that no amount of angst or effort will change. What I want for you is the peace that passes all understanding—that comes from what you believe, not what you’ve experienced.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.” —Isaiah 26:3