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Practicing What I Preach

I have a confession. I am very good at handing out advice to my children but not so good at following it.

Case in Point: Through the college admission process of our eldest daughter (which has so far involved five auditions in four states) I have repeatedly coached her on what is the bottom line in this journey.

That ultimately it is not about what her plan is for herself. Plan A (to be accepted to a fabulous BFA program and make it big on Broadway) or Plan B (to be miraculously transformed into a five-year-old again and stay in mom's nest for another twelve years).

Rather, it is about what His plans are for her. Her Heavenly Father. He, who created her, trusted us with her care and who has great plans for her. Plans that are often unknown and unclear, alternately difficult and wonderful, but always in the end, right for her.

During our long drives up and down mid-America I have counseled her that if she sees Plan A ebbing away, and recognizes that Plan B, no matter how splendid it seems, is unattainable she can rest in knowing that He has the ultimate plan. And it will be more magnificent than anything she could have hoped for.

But yet this morning, as I crept around yet another darkened hotel room, in yet another college town, I found myself, the hypocrite, ignoring my own words. As sleeping beauty caught a few last winks before our wake-up call I sat on the edge of my bed beseeching this very same Heavenly Father to give her Plan A.

Hands clasped before me, I whispered my earthly desires: A calm and confident (but not too so) persona. An inspiring and memorable initial audition. An afternoon “call back” – an invitation further prove her substance as an actress. And ultimately a validation that she is in fact stupendous, amazing, worthy. A tall order for this frigid Chicago morning but not too much for a mother to ask, right?

But as I disengaged from my prayerful pose and turned to begin what would be a long day I felt a quiet voice reminding me of my previous words of wisdom to this very child sleeping beside me. What had happened to: “let Him guide you…let Him be your planner…let Him be in control, for His plan will not let you down?”

Was I now not focusing on what I had told her not to focus on? What would make her instantly happy. What would fulfill her Plan A and make Plan B no longer desirable, or necessary.  What would even play into my own dreams of seeing her at a school we could afford, at a college with a Christian foundation, in a city that is happening and exciting, but still pretty safe for all the adventure it offered. Yes I had sat through the previous day of tours and information sessions and fallen in love with a plan for her.

Who was this woman, this mother in my skin, perched in prayer asking Him, her most wonderful Maker, to hand over on a silver platter what she – what I – wanted?

What had happened to all those soothing, value-filled words I had preached to her yesterday, last week, last month?

Did they not also apply to me? Am I also not better off when I pray for His will, and guidance, and grace?


So now, some four hours later as I wait, still anxiously I must admit, for her to return from the morning round of auditions my prayer is this:

Dear Heavenly Father, let Your will be done. No matter what the outcome, let her know in the deepest recesses of her soul that you love her, every ounce of her beautiful being. And that You – yes You – alone have the perfect plan for her.


*Until the next time I try to be charge.