Sunday, August 31, 2008

On Being a Child of God

I often have a hard time trusting God with little things and things that I know are luxuries. It's hard sometimes not to view him as a harsh, demanding ruler who expects me to suck it up and keep marching. I live in a country where so much of what we have is excessive and indulgent, and so when things happen like my air conditioner going out, or having car trouble, I wonder why God would just provide it for me and not make me work myself to death to get it.

The thought struck me yesterday, again, of how God is much more of a Father to us. I provide food, clothes, a place to live, an education for my children because they need them. Their very survival depends upon them. But I LOVE to be able to buy them a coke, take them to a movie, buy them a toy, etc. I love the delight in their eyes over it, even when they aren't very grateful (although I prefer the gratitude). Sure, sometimes when the ask me for something like this I say no. Sometimes I already have a better plan, and sometimes I just know it's not the best thing for them right now. Sometimes I know they need to deal with no occasionally. But often (probably a bit more often than I should), I say yes. I love to say yes.

Why is it so hard for me to believe that God loves to say yes?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Big Kid Gets Bigger

My dearest boy,

Who are you? Who is this young man standing before me each day--no longer a boy, yet not quite a man? Some days I hardly feel like I know you. Your awareness of the world around you is so mature--political humor, fascination with all things entertaining, a social schedule, responsibility. I'm in awe of your thoughtfulness, amused by your humor, grateful for your strength, and annoyed by your independence. You're not my baby, not even my little boy. When did that happen? Can it really have been FOURTEEN years?

My concerns for you grow with each passing year. Will you walk with the Lord faithfully, or will you abandon Him? Will you have to learn lessons the hard way by suffering the pain of poor choices, or will you be an obedient leader who enjoys the blessings of that life? Will you love your family, especially your wife, or will the weaknesses and absences in your upbringing show through there? I am more and more aware of how little time I have left to teach you, train you, counsel you, and guide you. The weight of this realization presses down on me.

Not that it is all bad. You have your faults, and most days drive me nuts, but I do so enjoy you! You are fun, and funny. You are opinionated, and I love to debate issues with you now. You show so much wisdom one moment, and act like a foolish young man (which you are entitled to do!) the next. I love it that you talk to me. You tell me when you are mad, when you are irritated, you can tell me you love me even when your anger is justified. You are sensitive to my feelings (sometimes). You are in some ways protective of me, although it is my prayer that you know you are not fully responsible for me.

Another thing that has been fun is to see your unique interests develop. You love music, especially fast music, but it has to have a melody. You love drama and acting. You love being with friends, even if they want to do something you don't exactly love doing (you camped at the beach for a friend you really like!).

I worry about you son, because I am your mom. I have invested so much in you, and I love you so very much. At the same time, you are a great kid. You can work very hard, and do a great job at whatever you take on.

I hope you know how treasured you are. I hope you have a wonderful day today.

Happy birthday.
Love, Mom

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Different Kind of Year

School is starting again. In some ways it is like most other years, or at least the last few years. I'm not completely ready to begin. The boys are excited about the first day, but eager to shed that excitement since they know that work and routine follow it. The major difference this year is that Josh is going to school. Not doing school, but going--to the private school our church runs.

I had already planned out in my head most of what I wanted him to do this year, but after he was in the play, he started asking about maybe going to school there. Oddly, it didn't even make me flinch. I know so many of the teachers there, and am involved in the school even though I don't have kids attending. I told Josh he needed to make a firm decision, and that we would begin the process, trusting that God would make clear to us what He wanted for Josh.

At the time we applied, there wasn't even an opening in the 8th grade class. I assumed we had our answer, even though in the back of my mind I knew God could easily still indicate differently. But part way through summer, I got a call saying they had decided to open another class. I quickly scrambled to get some financial records completed, meanwhile the administration was very gracious with me and understanding of my financial situation. (Summer was hard because I wasn't working one of my part-time jobs--a serious decrease in income!) One thing after another fell into place, and here we are, finishing the first week of school with Josh away during the day.

Emotionally I have had mixed feelings. It is still hard to school the younger two boys. Both are still easily distracted (AJ got distracted during reading lessons this morning by a hang nail on MY finger!), but we don't have Josh home to add to the confusion and busyness. I miss him terribly during the day, and miss knowing the details of his day, but there is a certain sense of relief that this year it is not my responsibility.

My goals this year are to really get things going and to help the boys find the environments that best suit their learning needs. I've always felt too pulled apart to work on that. I also must get AJ reading. He is having a terrible time, and I am fearful that someone will finally blame me (even though I know it is learning difficulties, and I am doing what my financial situation and resources will allow). I'm very slowly working on establishing a little more order in the house.

Josh isn't thrilled with attending school, but he likes it. He says it is still school. He likes the order and schedule, and being with his friends, of course. He likes the teachers he has. I think he's even going to like the classes, and I'm not expecting him to feel overwhelmed with the work load (although having to come home and do it after a whole day at school may be a bother).

Most of all, I feel like for this year, this is where God wants us. I'm pleased with it . . . a little anxious about the financial demands, but trusting God who has provided for us thus far.

Then again, we'll see in a month how at peace I am with 7am mornings and kids who won't get up!