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Mother Bears and the Damage Done

My daughter Rachel is now grown with three little boys. But when she was a student at Texas A&M, I was still conniving to make life do what I wanted. I was still struggling to trust God with my life and loved ones. One afternoon, Rachel called me overwhelmed with an unfair situation at school. They had a rule at A&M that you could have the room of your choice or the roommate of your choice– but not both. Well, this was so unfair, and I, the mother bear, would not stand for it.

My daughter Rachel is now grown with three little boys. But when she was a student at Texas A&M, I was still conniving to make life do what I wanted. I was still struggling to trust God with my life and loved ones. One afternoon, Rachel called me overwhelmed with an unfair situation at school. They had a rule at A&M that you could have the room of your choice or the roommate of your choice– but not both. Well, this was so unfair, and I, the mother bear, would not stand for it.

Besides I heard horror stories of girls having guys in their room at night. I could not stand by and let this happen to my daughter. Rachel had been granted the room she wanted in the best dorm and she had a Christian friend she wanted to room with–but they would not allow it.

I heard that one could change this if one could talk to the right person. But they would only make exceptions for students with learning disabilities, which Rachel did not have.

But I set out to make this happen anyway. For a week I was on the phone (long distance). I worked my way up the ladder until I was finally on the phone with the man who had the power to grant my request. I made my rehearsed arguments with skill and cunning. Finally, the question came. "Does your daughter have a learning disability?" My response in a rather huffy tone: "I prefer not to label people." That did it. Mission accomplished. 

I could hardly wait to call Rachel and tell her of our victory. Except the roommate turned out to be the roommate from hell. She did have boys in the room and at the end of the year she left school pregnant. And I had to endure misery calls from my daughter all year long. And I was responsible for her misery. I felt so ashamed. If only, I had trusted God to work out the roommate situation. I knew He loved her as much as I did. But I refused to place her in His hands and trust Him.

So now I had done this awful thing, I had not trusted God–and my child had to bear the consequences. But we all learned a valuable lesson…It was a turning point in my life to say to God, as Mary said when she heard she would bear the Christ, "Let it be to me as you have said."

Now when we are tempted to connive to get our way, to take the reins from God, Rachel and I look at each other, laugh and remember. And we ask God to help us trust Him, because mother bears make messes.

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Sue Edwards

Dr. Edwards is Assistant Professor of Christian Education (Specialization: Women's Studies) at Dallas Theological Seminary and holds degrees from Trinity University, DTS, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is the author of New Doors in Ministry to Women, A Fresh Model for Transforming Your Church, Campus, or Mission Field and Women's Retreats, A Creative Planning Guide. She has 30 years experience in Bible teaching, directing women's ministry, retreat and conference speaking, training teams and teachers, and writing curriculum. Married to David for 34 years, she especially enjoys extended family gatherings and romping with her four grandchildren.