Psalm 92:12 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree.”
When you were little, you would boldly start to climb up the playground ladder. Then you would get to a scary point, look back, and cry out, “Mommy, help.” I’d usually stand under that ladder, smile back at you and say, “You can do it. Go ahead. Reach for the next step and stretch your legs.”
Your chubby little legs would quiver as you looked back at me with question and fear. But then you would turn back to the ladder, stretch your legs, and reach for the next step. When you came zipping down that slide, wisps of hair flapping in the wind, the look of joy on your face was pure gold to me.
The next time you approached that ladder, you approached with a bold confidence. Each time you conquered the ladder gave you a little more reason to puff your chest. “I did it. I did it, mommy!”
“Yes, you did it all by yourself.”
Sometimes you fell from the ladder. Sometimes you would slip a touch. Sometimes you scaled with ease. Each time your confidence grew. You realized that when you pushed through, you could do more on your own than you realized.
Boys, though you are bigger, the principle still applies. And it will apply for life. Except one thing I want to add. Do nothing on your own. Do all through the strength of God.
Fail. Fall. Disappoint us. You have our permission. It’s how you will learn and become stronger.
I’ve written to you before on why we want you to fail. It’s important.
Dad and I will not come to your rescue as you learn to navigate life. We will be here to cheer you on, to encourage you, to dust the dirt from your back, to wipe the tears. But we won’t rescue you. We won’t save you from failing. We won’t save you from your mistakes.
But we aren’t standing over you saying, “You should’ve known better.” or “How dare you.” or “I can’t believe you did that.” You will be tempted to think that is what we are thinking, but hear us. We are looking on you with pride and compassion. We love your hearts. We love your drives. We love your determination. We love your strong wills. We love your faith. But you aren’t perfect. You weren’t created as miniature adults. We are learning life. You are learning from your mistakes. Be free to fall down and fail. Just get back up and try again.
When you ask me to sit with you while you work on homework and I tell you no, I’m not being mean. It’s because I believe in you. And I think you earning a C from struggling through the work on your own is far better than the A you could receive if I work on your homework with you. What good is a grade if you didn’t earn it? And don’t you value something more when you have poured your own sweat into it?
When you were little and you completed your first Lego set unassisted, you were far more proud than all the years we built sets together. When you push through and conquer on your own (with God fueling the fire) you will be better for it in the long run.
The other day one of you complained about a physical ailment. I heard your moaning and your cries. How you wish God would just take it away from you forever. In essence, you want to be rescued from the pain. While I just said Dad and I won’t rescue you from your failures, choices, and mistakes, when we see you in pain everything in us wants to rescue you. And I believe that God cries with us in our pains.
I heard you say, “Why me? Why of all people on the earth do I have to suffer with this?”
My response to you was, “Why do you feel you don’t deserve it and someone else does? Why do you think ‘why me’? Why not you? And have you ever considered how God shapes us through the pains, the trials, the mess ups, the failures? This is when we get strong.”
Hardships make us strong. Failures grow us. This is true when we rely on the Lord through the trials and tough times in life.
I want to share a cool fact with you. If you plant a tree, and the tree is never exposed to wind, it becomes a weak tree. It never develops strong roots. If while that tree is maturing, it is protected and sheltered from wind, then it grows up and the shelter is gone and a strong wind comes, the tree is so weak, it can fall right over.
The stronger and harder the wind, the stronger the tree becomes over time.
Palm trees are incredibly strong. They are faced with hurricane winds. During the storm, they bend sometimes almost to the ground. But when the storm is over, they are returned to their original shape. Not only that, their roots grew stronger because of the storm.
Dad and I want you to be strong in the Lord. If we rescue you in your growing years, we will not allow you to draw your true strength found only in God.
When it’s Sunday night and you realize you forgot to do your homework and we tell you, “Sorry, you had all weekend to get that done,” we aren’t being mean to you. We are allowing you to make choices that have consequences and allowing you to weather the storm that it brings. We don’t love you less. We empathize. We understand. We are behind you each step. But we won’t rescue you from the storms.
You were created for the storms. The storms will make you strong and bold, with roots that will hold you steadfast.
So, boys, go for it. Give it all you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to climb higher. Don’t be afraid to let go and reach for the next step. You might fall. You might slip. Just get back up and do it again. Each step of the way, look to your Heavenly Father. Ask Him for strength, wisdom, and guidance. He will teach you and hold you through the very storms that grow you stronger.
With all my love,
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