I think it's funny how God allows you to go through things at just the right time when your heart is ready to receive His instruction. I don't think we go around looking for these lessons; they just happen. If we have our spiritual eyes and ears open, the Lord is so gracious to teach us lessons through our everyday life that slowly shape us more into His image. And this is the classroom God has had me in lately....
It all started on May 15, 2012...I really can't remember exactly what was going on, but my journal serves as a reminder that I was NOT in a good place. Here's a piece from that daily entry,
"It's weird how sometimes everything seems so good and right...the kids are doing well in
school, their behavior is good, financially we feel secure, baseball, swim, friends, life....all
seems good. Then there are times when nothing seems good....This is where I find myself
Later in that entry, I felt the Lord saying, "What do you want, child?" If I heard Him correctly, there was a hint of frustration in His voice :), but I answered anyway. I am way to proud to put my whole list out there for everyone to read, because when I finished and reread it, I was appalled at my selfish, prideful, temporal self. My most ridiculous request that I wanted was a nice facility for my kids' sports. Other neighboring communities have nice complexes; why can't I? (Crazy...I KNOW!!) A more reasonable request was that I wanted a nicely decorated, clean home...is that really too much to ask? Can no one in my house under the age of 40 clean up after themselves? And then here's the biggie, and I quote..."I want superstar kids with no struggles, all victories." I wanted perfect children, and I was very aware of the fact that they are NOT even close to perfect! No joke; this was my request to the God of ALL creation!! I am sitting here smiling because I can hear how selfish and unhealthy these requests are, but this is truly where God let me get so that He could start the lessons in my heart.
From that day forward, I have focused a little more on thinking about 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 where Paul says, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." I've had moments where I would better remember the lessons, but I have still occasionally found myself wanting my kids to be perfect. When my oldest child started struggling with juggling two sports at the same time, and we had to pull her out of swim for a while, my heart was sad...my thoughts started sounding familiar again. "Why can't she just be a stud on the court and in the pool at the same time? I wanted an Olympic athlete in the next four years. And what the other child who struggles with his math...will school ever be easy for him? I wanted all three of my children to be brainiacs...they just seem to be normal. And why does another child have to have such bad allergies...his nose is always stuffy or runny or both at the same time...why him, Lord?" Maybe I'm the only one, but I just feel sad when I see any one of my kids struggling through anything, yet God clearly reminded me that that is how and where He shapes us...it's in the struggles...in the valleys there is the most growth. My heart is always lifted when I CHOOSE I trust in the promise from Jeremiah 29:11; His plan is always for our good. He's God; I am not, so I can trust in Him at all times! As my Nana just told me on the phone today, THAT is humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God...trusting Him in all things.
As any good teacher would,through my time in the "classroom," God opened my eyes to new lessons, backed it up with His Truths and His promises, and then allowed me to experience(on some level) three tangible examples to really drive home the point. First, with the Connecticut shootings, He showed me that there were moms and dads from Sandy Hook Elementary that had probably spent their last morning with their child in a rush, in a fuss, and in frustration. I realized that fighting over teeth that were not brushed, forgotten lunches, and mismatched outfits were NOT important,and I decided to live without regrets, and quit sweating the small stuff! Two days later, one of my sweet, normal, 16 year old students passed out at her sports practice before school. After flat-lining 5 times, they were able to revive her, and she now lives a healthy life with a pacemaker in her chest. What the Lord wanted me to see was that my kids' health is NEVER to be taken for granted...everyday is a gift, and I want to live with that awareness. And then just a few weeks later, an old friend's son, 13 years old from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was shooting skeet at a birthday party, and was accidentally shot and killed....just having fun with his friends...parental supervision...not being irresponsible...just an accident.... My heart was broken...
The lesson was complete...My kids are my treasures....never to be taken for granted. I want to live with no regrets. I want to love them and even, yes, even LIKE them no matter what. All the while I had been complaining about my kids not being perfect...WHO CARES!!! I am not promised forever with them, and even if they live to be old and gray, and I am long gone, they'll only be in my home for a short season. So I no longer want perfect kids. I don't want superstars. I want MY kids just the way they are. The most important thing I can do as their mother is to point them to the Father, and teach them what it is to follow Christ. NOTHING else matters.
Thank you, Lord for your classroom called "life." You truly are a great teacher!