I love the idea of car seats. They’re the ideal protection for little ones who cannot or will not sit calmly without moving in a car speeding down the road.
They have, however, become increasingly confusing to install correctly in a car, to say nothing of the lack of ease of getting children in and out of them.
Nobody tells children, however, that these are supposed to keep them contained.
When my kids were younger, I had the six of them in the car one evening. Debbie was the only one in a car seat, and I believed her to be secure and safe as I maneuvered through darkened streets in my minivan.
I heard laughter in the back, and being the calm mom that I’ve always been, I yelled back, “What’s so funny, you guys.” No one answered immediately, but Mark finally spoke up. “Debbie’s in the very back waving at the cars.”
Which is when I heard the sirens and saw the flashing light.
I pulled over, wondering what my crime was. A policeman walked up to my window as I turned to see Debbie grinning at me–from the back end of the car.
“Ma’am, you know children of this age must be contained in a car seat when the vehicle is moving.” How do you explain the Houdini ability of a toddler?
“I’m sorry, officer, but she was in her car seat. She’s just very adept at getting out of it. Short of duct-taping her in, I’m doing the best I can.”
He wrote me a warning, then leaned in and said, “I have a few little ones of my own, and I know this is difficult. Just try harder.”
I got Debbie back in her car seat and put my two oldest in charge of making sure she stayed there. I heard, “Debbie, stay put”, most of the way home.
It’s easy to believe we have our lives contained in ways and spaces we think are safe and right. That our best plans and strategies will keep us from falling or being hurt. Trying harder doesn’t always work.
God saw His people, Israel, trying hard to make life work for them if they just did the right things. But preparation can’t avoid all pain. He said:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re Mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end–because I am God, your personal God.” Isaiah 343;2-3
Life will get away from us no matter how careful we are or how thoroughly we plan. We think we can order our lives the way we want them.
That’s a myth.
God makes Himself available to strengthen us when the going gets tough. He doesn’t change our circumstances; He gives us His power and presence to deal with them.
I’d done the best I could to keep Debbie in her car seat. Being stopped by the police wasn’t in the plan, but it happened.
That’s what God does for us every day. He provides us with His strength and presence to deal with our circumstances.
We just need to acknowledge we need Him.