I was born and raised here in rural Kansas. After college, God saw fit to bring me back here and it's where we have chosen to raise our family. Yes, it would be nice to have a Way-Mart closer than 45 minutes away but it's a trade off. I'm not afraid to let my teenagers roam through town with their friends and everything is literally within five minutes of my home. Bad traffic here usually means you've gotten behind a farmer in his combine on the way to or from the field.
Every spring we watch as those farmers and ranchers burn their fields. Orange flames licking at the old grasses, gray smoke rising into the sky. While this can be a bit confusing for folks from the city or other parts of the country, small town Midwesterners know that these fields are set ablaze for their own good. The fire destroys the old, unnecessary, and unwanted while restoring the minerals and nutrients necessary for the land to thrive again.
Parenting can sometimes feel like we have jumped right into the middle of the burning field. No fire-retardant suit, no fire extinguisher, without so much as a bucket of water. Just the horrible burning. And it's hard. It's hard to watch our babies, totally dependent on us, become teenagers, stretching and growing and *leaving* us. Needing us less. Becoming adults who are no longer dependent on us. How dare they?
But looking at the long-term, we know that the fire is necessary. We must walk through it. Without the fire, the new life can't come. Without becoming less dependent on us, our kids can't grow into independent adults. If we allow their entire lives (and ours) to be fire-free, we will stifle their growth and nothing will grow as it should.
That doesn't mean that it's going to be easy. Being refined by the fire is never, ever painless. But just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, we are not in the flames alone. God walks right with us through the hottest parts, protecting and teaching us as we go. And this fire that motherhood sometimes brings us to, this fire is NEVER, EVER out of His control. He has us right there, holding us as it rages. There is no better place to be.
So, sweet momma who is going through the fire right now, know that the green is coming! The burn does not last forever and after it comes the beauty of new life! You - with God at your side and as your guide - can do this!