I’m standing here, looking at these vehicles– plural -full of stuff, and it’s apparent that she was not paying attention in Coach Thompson’s physics class. She obviously learned nothing about mass and volume. The idea that all of this could possibly fit into a dorm room the size of most people’s closets, which she has to share with another, similarly heavy-laden young female, is absolutely preposterous. Her mother is an accomplice to this crime against the laws of physics. But, because I’m a veteran husband and father, with years of experience, I realize that my role in this emotionally-charged packing drama is to simply shut up and provide muscle.
And, so my mind wanders, Lord…..
…to that first day in K4, when her mama and I, each holding a tiny hand, walked that little smocked-dressed, black-patent booted wonder into Donna Youngblood’s K4 classroom. Like all those sorry saps I saw earlier this week, we stood outside that two-way glass and cried like babies, sensing the end of her infancy and toddler-ship era, and probably projecting forward to that “distant” day, this one, when the goodbye would be a little more momentous, the rite of passage a little greater. Although I was tempted to run back in there, grab her, and run away to some deserted island where they don’t make kids go to school, You stayed my hand. You were preparing our hearts, even that day, reminding us that, although she was on loan to us to raise well and as an act of worship to You, ultimately she was Yours and we’d have to give her back.
…to that day in elementary school, as I was filled with righteous indignation when I realized that she had THAT teacher. My tender child needed a “warm fuzzy”, and that teacher was NOT a warm fuzzy. Since I was the Headmaster, clothed with immense power (NOT), I was so tempted that day to pull rank and stick her with the “right” teacher for her. But, that day You stopped me. You told me that You, the Creator of the universe and her soul, might actually know better who she needed in that moment than I did, in all of my magnificent wisdom. So, I shut up. And, that teacher was EXACTLY who she needed, taught her how to be a student in a way that carried her through junior high, high school, and, I’m confident, into college.
…to that day, in seventh grade, when she, like so many seventh grade girls, had the “friend issues.” As I listened to her story, and how she was being mistreated, I still remember the feeling of the blood rushing up my spine, threatening to boil out of my ears. What I wanted to do in that moment was to wait until the next day, pull that kid or those kids (isn’t it funny how no one, including her, even really remembers with the passage of time?) out of class and throttle them in the hallway, or get down in their little faces and really scare them. But, You stopped me. Instead, by the power of Your Spirit, You led me to talk to her about what might be going on in the hearts of those kids, what sadness and loneliness and insecurity and brokenness might be there to cause them to respond that way. Instead, we prayed for her and for them. You taught both of us that day about empathy and compassion, and to even look at people who are angry and yelling at you as who they are: broken and afraid. We both grew that day.
…to all those times her mom and I were tempted to sign her up for this and that, because Suzy’s mom or Betty’s mom had them signed up for it, and deep down in our hearts, we didn’t want her to “get behind.” Or, when we thought we knew what was best for her, and were tempted to push this class or this activity on her. Although we made some mistakes, most of the time, You stayed our hands. And, lo and behold, you awakened beauty and interest and passion in her. She developed, and is still developing, things that quicken her heart, and we are seeing the unfolding evidence of Your call on her heart. Not our call, or our desires, or our definition of success- because she’s only on loan to us, and we didn’t make her, what we want is kind of irrelevant- but Your call on her heart.
Oh, Lord, we’ve made so many mistakes, and we’ll make so many more. But, as I sit here looking at this mountain of stuff, three-quarters of which I’ll be bringing BACK from Waco tomorrow, all I can feel is grateful. Grateful for the times You told me to get out of the way, and let You be Lord of her life. Grateful that you broke through our fear and stubbornness at times to press on us to help deliver her through the difficult times, instead of from them. And, grateful most of all that the prayer that I prayed every night by her bedside-that no matter what she does in her life, please….please, let her be passionate for You- has, to this point at least, been granted in ways I could never have imagined.
Thank you, Lord. Gotta go. Looks like there’s room for one more box over on that side of the truck.