Proverbs 20:11: “Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?” (NIV)
My husband and I participated in a small group studying the book, Boundaries With Kids, by Dr. Townsend and Dr. Cloud. A phrase that our small group leader repeated, sometimes multiple times a week, was, “I am an oak tree” (Randy Halberda, Ph.D.). That phrase still rings in my ears as a gentle reminder.
No matter how much our children try to manipulate us sometimes, or how often they try to push the boundaries that we set, our main job is to be their oak tree. This isn’t just to offer them protection and guidance, but to give them security in a world where things change constantly.
I have to admit: It’s a lot easier to be an oak tree when ignoring the tears and firmly telling my three-year-old he’s not going to play until he picks up all the DVDs than it is to listen to my older child ask me over and over and over and over about different clothes, out-of-the-norm activities, or certain programs on TV. However, it is equally important that I stand as an oak tree with each and every situation. My children need to see that they have my support and I will guide them, but they need equally to know that I will protect them and provide safety, even when the easy way would be to give in.
I think of my Heavenly Father like that as well. The promises that I read about in the Bible are promises I can count on Him to deliver. He tells me that He won’t leave me, that He loves me so much He sent His son to die for me so I can spend eternity with Him, and He promises that He has my back when trials and problems come up in my life.
Now, unlike myself, who at times caves in to the manipulation and requests of my children, I’m glad that God remains steady, firm, and unmoving. As I work on being that strong oak tree for my children all the time, I just have to look at the One who is my example, my role model, the One who stands tall and strong in my life. I’m so glad that I don’t have to rely on my own self but instead can rest in the shade of the One who created the universe and all the oak trees that represent His power, His love, and His protection. This isn’t just for my life. No, He’s waiting to be that for you as well.