There are times when our desire to help must be restrained, because sometimes in the helping we do more harm than good. As difficult as it may be, sometimes the best thing we can do is step back and get out of God’s way. Today my guest, Christine Lindsey, tells us about one of those times.
When the Ones You Love are Suffering
by Christine Lindsay
As a mom and now a grandmother, one of the hardest things for me is to stop stepping in each time one of my loved ones suffer.
I come from a long line of “savior” type personalities. People with this particular personality trait often choose careers in caregiving, such as doctors and nurses. Even as an administrative assistant, one of my strongest bents was to help others, solve problems, fix situations.
How can one be faulted for helping others? What’s wrong with bringing comfort? As Christians that’s what God urges us to do…right?
Unless your help is hindering God from what He is doing in that person’s life.
As a mom I have been right in the middle of helping my kids and thought, am I a stumbling block to my children gaining the wisdom they need?
All good parents will use appropriate discipline to teach their children the lessons of life when they’re little. As we mature in our Christian faith, we come to accept God’s discipline in our own lives, so why do we step in so often to “fix” the situations in our adult kids’ lives, and thereby stop them from learning what we have learned?
This particular truth inspired my latest historical romance Sofi’s Bridge. In Sofi’s Bridge, the hero and the heroine both had to learn the same lesson that I had to learn in my life—that we cannot save our loved ones. Only Christ can do that.
This often means letting our loved one go through a time of suffering, one of the hardest acts of love on the part of a parent or grandparent. Step back and let God work.
Here is a brief excerpt from Sofi’s Bridge where Dr. Neil Galloway recognizes this important spiritual lesson:
Back when Neil and Jimmy were only lads, the two of them hanging on to their father’s hand as they walked to church on a Sunday morn. Bells chimed all over Belfast. Inside the gray stone building, Neil had listened to the minister preach of what Christ had done on the cross for all mankind, taking the punishment that people like him deserved.
Now in this jail cell, Neil sat up and leaned his elbows on his knees. His hands dangled between them like heavy weights. As a boy he’d believed in what Jesus had done. But as an adult he’d demeaned that sacrifice. Instead, he’d tried to be Jimmy’s savior. But how could he save anyone, him a fallible human being?
Lord, I’ve been a fool. He dropped his face into his hands.
Remember, the next time you are tempted to step in a fix something in the life of someone you love, 1 Peter 4:19 (NASB): “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.
Read the first chapter of Sofi’s Bridge HERE
Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.
Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. Coming August 2016 is the release of Christine’s non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.
Let’s talk about this: Nothing wrenches my heart like watching my daughter struggle. I long to shelter from every pain, but if I did, she’d grow up stunted and ill-equipped to handle life and those assignments God has planned for her. There’ve been numerous times when, I’ve watched her go through a difficult period, a whisper to my heart let me know God was in it. That was hard to hear, but also reassuring, because I know He is good, loving, and sovereign. I know He has a hope-filled plan for her and is, at this moment, working out that plan. And sometimes the best thing I can do it get out of His way.
And pray. I can always pray.
Can you share any stories of watching your children struggle but seeing God bring good from it? What was the hardest part for you as a parent? When have you had to step back and “let go and let God?” Share your thoughts, experiences, and advice with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace, because we can all learn from each other!
If you follow me on social media, here’s where I’ve been this week!
And yesterday, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Carrie Schmidt on Reading is My Superpower. Join the fun HERE. (Don’t miss the giveaway of Breaking Free in the post, too!) Carrie also posted a very humbling review of Breaking Free. Read her thoughts HERE.
Before you go, if you’re in or close to Lincoln, Nebraska, I’d love to see you at Barnes & Noble this Saturday from 2-3pm!
And if you’re within driving distance of Omaha, I do hope you’ll join me at the Wordsowers Conference where I’ll be teaching how one can craft characters that grab hold of readers on a deeply emotional level.
One last thing. In August, I’ll be in Nashville for the first Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat. Head HERE to read about who will be there and to register. I would love to see you there!
Other resources you may enjoy or find helpful:
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend