JUST HOLD MY ARROWS
By Heather Harder
This past year has been a tricky one to navigate. After my husband and I welcomed our fourth baby, it took me nearly all year to find my footing.
Not long ago, as I was doing my devotions, the Lord showed me a picture of an arrowhead. Up close the details of the stone were chipped and chiseled. The angles sharp with all the intricacies and craftsmanship of an effective arrow head.
As the picture zoomed out, I saw the shaft of the arrow. A person strained with all her might but couldn't pull hard enough on the bow string. And in her struggle, she also could not keep it steady on the target.
I knew that I was the archer. The arrows were our children. The straining and pulling was my enormous effort to raise them well. And along with all the joys they bring, it was a lot of hard work!! It wasn't *just* the detail in shaping and sharpening the arrowhead or perfecting the arrow. It wasn't *just* the strength needed to strain against the tension and tendencies of the bow. Not *just* about the precision in the aiming, the launching, the speed, or in determining the target... IT WAS *ALL* OF THOSE THINGS!!!!**
As I watched, God came along side me. His strong arms reached around mine until He was the One who pulled the arrow back from where it wanted to rest. He held it steady and zeroed the arrow at the target. His precision came with ease. And through His touch purpose was infused into each arrow.
The verses came to mind from Psalm 127:
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5a Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
As a child, I thought adults knew everything. They were *adults* after all!! Here I was, an adult, parenting children of my own... yet I felt unfit for the task - overwhelmed, weak and immature.
In my devotions that day, God zeroed in on the areas of archery... or parenthood... that were daunting to me: steadily shaping the young lives of our child "arrows;" chiseling away those things that would dull their edge, effectiveness, joy, or purpose; inspiring them with vision and goals, drive and momentum; and the biggest responsibility – modelling, teaching, training and encouraging a relationship with God that will become a vibrant life-source to their heart for their entire journey.
The responsibilities that I saw on the archer, combined with the inadequacies I felt in myself seemed too much to bear.
I asked God one by one about all the things that were terrifying me in that moment.
"Am I to chisel the arrow head and ensure my children have the sharp edge they need?"
"No" He answered, "I got that."
"Am I to pull and strain and aim and get my kids lined up and propelled toward their destinies?"
"No" He answered, "I got that, too."
Over and over I asked Him these questions... and His answer was the same. It was He who does all the tasks that I had taken on and had been so afraid of failing at.
I was a bit confused because, as a parent, I knew I had a role... so I asked Him what I was to do.
"You are the quiver," He said. "You are to hold them and love them. If you stay close to Me and let Me shape your heart, and just hold My arrows, I will do the rest. Everything you need for them, I will put in your heart."
Immediately, I felt a weight come off me, a tightness that had taken up residence in my chest lost its grip. My role didn't need to include the extra weight of the future. My role was to love them in the moment. What more does a child need than to be utterly and completely loved? And it no longer had to be encumbered by the stress of misplaced responsibility.
For the first time in a long time, I didn't fear. With much reflection on that journal and intentional habit breaking, I have been able to start to walk it out... Being the quiver, the one who holds them and loves them... rather then the white knuckle parent who is too focused on the target to see the arrows in her hand.
What struck me immediately was the all-encompassing acceptance I felt as He *covered* me, as His arms surrounded mine and He gently took hold of my overwhelm. He didn't judge my failings. He wasn't condescending that I would assume His role in my children's lives and then wriggle like the wounded snake under the weight of it. In fact, He took pleasure in meeting me in my weakness and being everything I need.
Whatever truths I had lost sight of, they were mine again... dripping in love... not an ounce of shame or sharpness in the delivery. It makes my heart burst with love for Him, the way He loves me. He's such a good Dad!
Another day not long after that He was addressing parenting again in my devotions. I was frustrated by my children's behaviour and I took it to Him. He said something that, again, my head knew, but my heart lost practice of. He said, " I don't have any grandchildren. Trust me to parent your children just as I parent you."
Again He was lifting the responsibility off my shoulders so I could be free to simply love them, knowing fresh in my heart just how perfect and tender His love and parenting would be toward them.
I am beyond thrilled that we are embraced and helped by this amazing Father. And I am confident I can entrust my children to His capable, all-encompassing love.
I have learned about weakness on more than one occasion. I have written a song about God meeting me in my weakness which can be found on my website:
It is a part of the worship album "Into His Heart." The songs take you on a journey from intimacy to overflow and is available to download for *FREE!!*. Follow the link above and click on the “Free Downloads” tab to get your copy.