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The Back Seat

When I was a kid, we used to take family vacations to Colorado, Manitou Springs, to be exact, a cozy little community right outside of Colorado Springs.  We went every year, I think, and I loved the predictability of our trip, from the two dollars we got to blow on candy before we hit the road–back in the day, two bucks would buy you Sweetarts, DinoSour Eggs, Jolly Rancher sticks, Smarties pops, Laffy Taffy, Pop Rocks, and Gobstoppers–to the Amish girls who swam in their dresses (long story), to the welcoming smell of home when we got back a week later.  It was always the same.  Perfect.

Back then, family vacation was about freedom, adventure, and making happy memories.  My only responsibilities were to be nice to my little sister, stop chattering in my parents’ ears once they tightened up and started ringing, enjoy my candy, and try not to get car sick–or at least give my parents a decent heads up if I got to feeling green.  I never gave a thought to anything else.  I just assumed my parents had it covered.

Now that I’m the mom, family vacation is still about the same things, but my responsibilities have changed in a big way, making it a lot harder for me to live in the moment like my kids are still able to do. Someone has to budget for the trip, make the reservations, gas up the car, bring the medicine and snacks, create a daily agenda, plan the meals, keep us on schedule, watch out for sketchy strangers, etc. Okay, so Todd shares equally in this, but here’s the difference. If things don’t go well and no one has a good time, Todd will shrug it off as their own fault. I will blame myself.

I am the mom, after all.

I love scrolling through Facebook in the summertime, reading all the posts about Vacation Bible School and church camp and looking at the pics that people post.  The kids, little ones and big ones, are all so excited about God things.  You can see the joy in their Kool-Aid stained faces and feel the passion in their lengthy, promise-filled posts.

It makes me happy and a little wistful.

I remember being that little kid, exhausted from VBS, but so proud of the Fishers of Men mural I made and that I finally remembered every word to the Bible pledge.  I remember being that teenager, so jazzed about what God was doing in my life that I took the microphone from our youth minister and preached for forty-five minutes during our Falls Creek share service.  I’m sure a lot of other people remember that, too!  In my defense, I had a lot to say.

Somewhere along the line, I seem to have lost a little of that.  Not the conviction.  Not the passion.  Not the joy, really, but the emotion, the light-hearted feeling of knowing that your only job is to obey, enjoy, and trust someone else to take care of the details.

It’s hard for us grown-ups to remember that spiritual maturity isn’t about taking control, but letting go of it.  I learned this verse when I was a little girl, maybe at Vacation Bible School.  I’m not sure.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

I’m tired of approaching spiritual things like a mom approaches family vacation, anticipating, hoping, dreaming, working, mustering, and, ultimately, watching others enjoy.

I want to be a kid again, light-hearted and care-free, so I think I’ll climb in the back seat and leave the driving to God.

He’s the Father, after all.

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