opinionsI was a different kind of parent when I raised my daughter.  I never spoke to her in baby-talk. I never spoke down to her.  I talked to her like she was an eternal soul trapped in a baby’s body.  She learned to tell me whether she wanted food (num num) or milk (na na) when she was three months old. I spoke to her like I would an adult. By the time she was in 4th grade she tested with a 12th grade vocabulary.

I never asked her to do anything without telling her why.  I always had an answer for all of her questions.  This became a running joke with her when she became a teenager because she knew I would give her a long drawn out answer to her questions.  Her favorite question was, ‘What makes waves on the ocean?” She would let me give my scientific  explanation and then laugh at me.

If you have ever seen the movie Almost Famous Frances Mc Dormand’s character (Elaine Miller) is a lot like the kind of mom I was. In the movie her son William goes on the road with a rock band to write an article for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Elaine Miller: Listen to me. He’s a smart, good-hearted fifteen year old kid with infinite potential.

Russell Hammond: [Russell is stunned]

Elaine Miller: This is not some apron-wearing mother you’re speaking with – I know all about your valhalla of decadence and I shouldn’t have let him go. He’s not ready for your world of compromised values and diminished brain cells that you throw away like confetti. Am I speaking to you clearly?

Russell Hammond: Yes – yes, ma’am…

Elaine Miller: If you break his spirit, harm him in any way, keep him from his chosen profession which is law – something you may not value, but I do – you will meet the voice on the other end of this telephone and it will not be pretty. Do we understand each other?

Russell Hammond: Uh, yes, ma’am…

Elaine Miller: I didn’t ask for this role, but I’ll play it. Now go do your best. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. Goethe said that. It’s not too late for you to become a person of substance, Russell. Please get my son home safely. You know, I’m glad we spoke.

I became like this character because as a child I wasn’t treated with respect.   I wasn’t allowed to ask questions. My parents were my providers and the arbitrary rule makers.  There was very little opportunity for me to express my thoughts and feelings.  My role was to comply and not cause problems.  My role was to obey the rules.  I was emotionally estranged from my parents although I lived with them.  I didn’t know much about their life nor did they know about mine.

We confuse our Father God with our earthly father.  Today God answered a question for me.  I realized that God is more like the kind of parent I was than the kind my parents were.  He doesn’t answer every question.  Faith is about obeying without knowing why.  Faith is pleasing to God.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Usually we get the answer in retrospect, but sometimes He answers our questions.  Today He answered my question.  The question was “why?” The life of faith in Christ is a life of obedience and a life of sacrifice.  No Christian is truly happy unless their life is surrendered to God.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24
We are asked to follow Him on the road to Golgotha. This is the road to the hill of crucifixion.  We are asked to deny our wants, our desires, our plans, our ambitions, and all that we are.  We are asked to die.  This death to self is daily because our human desires are not taken from us at the moment of salvation.  We must battle them every day until we are taken from this world.
Everyday we must take one more step along the road to Golgotha.  Along the road God asks us “Do you love me more than these?” One by one we surrender the things of this life that would separate us from our devotion to Christ.
So today He showed me as I stretched in my exercise class one more thing that I must surrender.  But today He also showed me why.   He revealed to me that in my sacrifice others would learn to know Him.  In my death to myself others would live.
He does not leave me alone to fight this battle against my desires.  He does not ask me to carry the cross alone.  He gives me strength for the burden.

Romans 8:11

New Living Translation (NLT)

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

So the question is -will you go to your Golgotha?  Are you willing to die to yourself that you might truly live?  You will live a life of purpose in this life and an eternal life with Christ in heaven.

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