I saw her text and froze:

“Mom, stop meddling.”

Ouch! My daughter was right. I meddled, and I got caught! I ran interference for her and she didn’t like it. I could protest: “I just want her to be encouraged. I just want her to grow up in Jesus. I just want her to make a wise decision.”

Did it work? Uh, no. In fact, it did the opposite. Yes, I have wisdom to offer; so do you. We don’t have these gray hairs for nothing. But when I meddle, my kids are much less apt to ask me for counsel and wrinkly-proved wisdom.

Moms meddle. It’s part of our DNA. I know I do so far more often than I get caught (Praising God for small mercies).

I hated it when I caught my mom meddling. So why am I tempted to interfere? Let’s face it: we do it for love. Moms are fiercely protective. God made us this way. Also, aren’t we smarter and wiser than our emerging semi-adult children? Don’t they need us to run interference to keep them from the muddy pitfalls we fell into and lived to tell about?

No. They don’t. Instead they need us to share our stories of our failures and the stupid mistakes we made and pray to God they remember: “Don’t do what Mom did—I will regret it!” Humble storytelling goes a lot further than a well-intended lecture.

Meddling for love and for protection isn’t a good enough reason. My kids need to see that I am trusting God for their lives. When I worry out loud or try to over protect, I’m not showing them that God can be depended upon. The older our kids get, the less they want our control. Meddling is a form of control, and from my vast experience, it doesn’t work.

What’s a mom to do when desperate to reach out and break a grown child’s fall?

We don’t meddle, we pray and ask God to do the meddling.

I love this quote from Hudson Taylor: “Learn to move men by God through prayer alone.”

Really? Prayer alone? I just pray? That’s it? Maybe he only meant “men”. I have three daughters. (What was God thinking?)

God teaches me more about faith and trust in His love and power the longer I’m a parent. As I view my kid’s progress of maturity and faith, God is working the same progress in me: “Well, well, I see that Sue is finally letting go of her control of her children—in process, anyway!”

Yes, Lord, I’m in process. I want to show my girls that You are worth trusting.

When my girls were small, I thought it was difficult to be a mom. In each new stage, I had to learn to trust God with their welfare. Now as a mother of semi-adult children (22, 26, 29)—OK completely-adult children—now I realize I’m in a new, harder stage: the stage of keeping my mouth shut and my knees in place, kneeling regularly at the feet of Jesus and asking Him to meddle like crazy!

There’s a certain joy and peace in it all, especially when I keep my “hands to myself” (as I used to teach them). I’ve done my best. God’s got the rest. And when I’m tempted to interfere, I’ll remember these words in Isaiah 40:11.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. NLT

He leads His lambs. The mother lamb and not-so-baby lambs.

Sue Moore Donaldson

Sue Moore Donaldson speaks and writes to introduce God’s welcoming heart—inviting you to know the Ultimate Host and pass on His invitation. She and her husband Mark live on the Central Coast of California and have raised three semi-adult daughters (which means she’s always at the bank or on her knees). Sue blogs at http://welcomeheart.com/sue-donaldson, and is a frequent speaker for women’s events. You may view speaking topics at: http://welcomeheart.com/speaking.