Trust and Obedience

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When I was fifteen and learning how to drive, my dad gave me countless opportunities to practice this skill. Being the oldest of eight children, I didn’t learn on a typical small vehicle, but instead tooled around in a fifteen-passenger van.

One evening, I was driving home from the grocery store; my dad was in the passenger seat and one of my brothers was buckled in behind me. We were climbing a hill in our neighborhood, heading towards an intersecting street that had a stop sign, giving us the right-of-way.

Just as we approached the intersection, my dad yelled.

“Stop,” he shouted, “stop the car!” I didn’t have time to ask or look – I threw my foot on the brake as hard and fast as I could. Immediately, a car flew in front of us with such speed that it seemed to be flying in air.

The driver never even slowed down. That car came through the intersection so fast that if my dad hadn’t seen it, our van would have been crushed. I remember sitting for a split second, shaking badly, before I could put my foot back on the gas to pull down the street and into our driveway. We walked inside and I fell crying into my mom’s arms.

What I realized, what my dad told me several times after, was that my quick obedience saved our lives. That thought terrified me. If I had flinched, had taken even one second to ask my dad why I needed to stop when we didn’t have the stop sign, things would have turned out different that night.

I was reminded of that story last week as Augie and I walked home from a friend’s house. We approached the street to cross; I slowed down with Henry in the stroller, but Augie sped up to run across the street. A car was flying around the corner, and I only had time to scream (loudly) for him to stop. I couldn’t even grab him.

Thankfully, in that moment, he quickly obeyed. And it saved his life. I thought about all the other moments throughout that day when I had given my boys multiple chances to obey me – a second and third chance to do what I said. I was reminded of the importance of training my boys to practice obedience the first time – and I realized how grateful I was that in this situation, Augie sensed the urgency in my voice and did what he needed to do.

When I think back to that moment in the car with my dad and my brother, I recognize it as a critical moment in my life. There I was, fifteen and possibly heading into tumultuous teenage years, and I was given an amazing gift. In that split second I saw the wisdom in trusting my dad, in trusting both of my parents. After that night, despite not always understanding their reasons, I was inclined to trust their judgment as a means of protecting me. Listening to my dad that night saved my life – and I rarely doubted his guidance after that.

Last week, I made that same point to Augie. And despite shaking for hours after that moment near the road, I was grateful for it. Like me, Augie was given a tangible example of why we should trust and obey our parents, even when we don’t quite understand them.

Questions and discussions are indeed import – I don’t want my boys to be mindless followers – but they must also understand there are times when they need to trust us, that we have their best interests at heart.

And I think in the midst of all this, God is gently reminding me of the same. 1357″>



  1. Beautiful and so true.

    On another note…I noticed that the book recommendations didn’t include James Herriot’s writings. He was a country vet in Yorkshire, England in the mid 20th century. His first book is “All Creatures Great and Small” but there are three more that follow in that series. He is a fabulous storyteller and his books are a stitch.

  2. Rachel, this is an excellent column. I kept thinking how our obedience to God is life saving here and forever.

  3. Yes! It is difficult because I want to give them reasons, but sometimes it really is because I said so. I had a close call with my 8 year old recently. It wasn’t obedience related, but my stomach still gets sick at the thought of it. I love your blog!

  4. Very well written and very true!!
    I’m so glad both of those stories had happy ending too.

  5. Michelle says:

    Such wisdom. I am cutting this one out once my SC arrives and posting it on my fridge. My coffee cup in right in front of me is telling me “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). I think I better start paying more attention around here since seems like Someone is trying to tell me something. Thanks Rachel for that “gentle” reminder.

  6. I love this column. Trust is such a wonderful gift. That’s great that you realized it at such a young age!

  7. MeanMommyDoc says:

    This is so true– I tell all my parents that the most important lesson your child can learn is that what you say as their parent is of utmost importance, simply because you said so. Thank you for giving me such a personal example to share with my blog readers– and I am glad you and your son are both okay!!

  8. Jessica says:

    Thank you for the reminder of why I am doing all this hard work!

    Incidentally, if I ever want to comment & there aren’t already comments on the post, I can never find how to do it. Am I just obtuse? Please help! Thanks!

  9. Jessica, I don’t have comments open for all the posts, which might be why it seems like you can only post after someone else has. Generally, I’m opening them on Monday and Friday. Thanks!

  10. Perfect timing for this post. My lesson for my Sunday School students yesterday was from Ephesians 6:1, “Children obey your parents…”. I was thrilled to be able to use “my friend” Rachel’s experience as a perfect example of why children should obey their parents the first time and without hesitation. It went over very well. All my first and second graders discussed horrific alternate endings had you not obeyed your dad right away. Thank you for the great addition to my teachings.