The Spirituality of Carseats

Hello, everyone!

Taking a break from book reviews and cover reveals (though in all honesty, I’m behind on several of them that should have been featured months ago on this blog…stay tuned for a combo post), and procrastinating on my NaNoWriMo project again to talk to you about car seats.

This is my son James in his car seat.

Sure, he’s sleeping now. But earlier he was complaining about being in his car seat. He’s not a huge fan of it. Though he will sometimes tolerate it, and sometimes fall asleep in it, MOST of the time he gets his feelings super hurt whenever I have to put him in it. And he lets me know in no uncertain terms.

“You KNOW I hate this thing! I don’t like being confined! You’re trampling on my free spirit. Why would you put me in this place I hate? Why don’t you love me? I don’t want to go! Why, Mommy, WHY!?!” he cries.

Or something like that.

“Hang in there. We’ll be there soon. I love you.” I say over and over again.

Unfortunately, car seats are an unpleasant necessity to get James safely from Point A to Point B.

I know these rides won’t last forever. I know we can’t avoid the car seat. I know the car seat keeps him safe, and he will be fine on the other side of this ride.

I was thinking the other day how much easier these rides would be if I could just explain all of this to James and make him see reason. But even if I tried, he would not understand it. He knows I love him. He doesn’t always understand why he has to be in the chair. So, sometimes we suffer through some very unpleasant rides. Other times he accepts his reality and tries to entertain himself, or falls asleep.

Here is where I turn the tables.

There are times in our lives, either when something happens to us that we can’t control, or we have to live with an unpleasant reality that we did not ask for.

We lose our job. We have to sell our house. We have to move. Someone moves in with us. We lose something (or someone) valuable to us. We have to take on extra work. We have to accommodate a less than pleasant personality. We are kept from the thing we want most. The THING we wanted most to avoid in life happens to us.

We ask God why? If he loves us, why would he make us go through this? Why can’t he just make it stop?

In short, we are the angry one crying out in the back seat that we don’t like it.

But what if that unpleasant situation is just a carseat? We can’t see where we’re going, we just know we don’t like where we are. But what if that situation is keeping us safe while we go somewhere better? All the while, God is in the front seat trying to reassure us.

“Hang in there. We’ll be there soon. I love you.”

When my school closed and my husband and I lost our jobs, I was very quickly offered another position in a nearby school. With a pay raise. In my favorite subjects. I would not have had to move. I could have stayed close to my friends. It seemed perfect.

But something about it wasn’t right, so I declined.

I ended up moving in with my in-laws, teaching Science and Math, and spent three months away from my husband while he renovated our home to sell. Several times I wished I had accepted the offer. Several times I asked God why we had to move.

Fast forward a year and a half:

We had our first baby. A month later, we sold our house. We were able to pay off the rest of our debt, my husband finished school, eventually found a job, I quit my job, and we are set to move into our own apartment in February.

This past weekend we visited some friends from our school. When the school closed they went to the school that had offered me a job.

They told me the school was imploding because they had not been able to pay their teachers THIS YEAR.

Here is what I know:

God DOES know what He’s doing, we just don’t always see it.

James can’t see where we’re going. He doesn’t understand why he has to be in the seat. All he knows is that he’s in a place he doesn’t like. But if I didn’t put him in the seat, he would be in a compromising situation that would put him at risk.

If I had taken that job, we would not have sold our house or be able to pay off the rest of our school debt. I would probably have had to continue working after having the baby, Matthew wouldn’t have had his job, and we would eventually end up in the exact same place we had been, except THIS time with a baby!

It turns out, we were in a car seat.

Your sadness DOES matter to God and He is right there with you. 

No matter how much I know the trip won’t last and my little one will be fine in a minute, it breaks my heart to hear him upset when I can’t soothe him. The fact that he is in a car seat that he doesn’t like, does not mean I don’t love him. The fact that you are in a situation you hate does not mean that God doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean that He isn’t listening to you. It doesn’t mean He’s abandoned you. It just means you haven’t arrived yet.

Whatever your situation, may we all have the grace to trust Him and thank Him for His provisions while we wait in the car seat for our next destination.

“Hang in there. We’ll be there soon. I love you.”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

– Isaiah 55:8-9

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