As school has just begun and my kids have started to break new ground, I have been faced with hard choices. After the first day of school, I was hoping to be met with joyful smiles and hearts full of excitement and expectation for the new year, as this has been the normal first day of school response in years past. Instead, I was met with one smiler, and three somber expressions. They all downloaded their days, which was exhausting to hear. Then they spoke of the challenge of being new and not having friends to talk with yet, etc. One recounted that at lunch he sat alone at a table, but his teacher asked if he’d like to go sit with others from class. This painfully shy child of mine, responded with, “No thanks.” My heart stopped as he continued the story. Next some kids from class invited him to their table and he refused again. Gasp. Then he told how all the boys at one table then stood and came to him. They moved to his table. Can you believe it? As if a beacon of light came down straight from heaven I felt so grateful that my son was being understood.
But then I was confronted with another one of my children’s tears. All evening long, she tearfully spoke of how overwhelming this day had been. I asked, “Was someone mean to you?”. She replied, “No”. The problem was she didn’t know what to expect, and she’s a devoted rule follower. So, the prospect of this new territory was leaving her crippled with fear. All evening, the tears flowed. Every member of our household encouraged her. Every single one. Now that I think about it, I see us as a team helping out someone who is “giving birth”. We can rally and encourage and cheer, but we can’t go through it for her. This is a walk she must walk out alone. We read scripture. We prayed. We tried to laugh. We loved. We listened. And when everything inside of me wanted to say, “You don’t ever have to go back.” God intervened. He showed me in a flash that He was allowing her to walk this out, for her own good.
Wait a minute, you mean I am not supposed to make it better? No, I am not. And that’s where the choice came, I could refuse to allow my child to be uncomfortable for the sake of her “happiness”, or I could let God complete His good work inside of her heart. I am to be a supporter, not an enabler.
I am so grateful that our heavenly Father loves my kids so much that He allows and even orchestrates growing seasons while they’re living at home in a protective “encouragement bubble” and not out on their own. I am so glad that if I listen to Him, then I can partner with what He’s doing in their lives so by the time they head off into the world, they will be more emotionally equipped.
I have heard parents complain of coaches being too rough or teachers being too challenging, etc. but every time what I really feel in my heart is, the circumstances don’t need to change, the kid is getting an opportunity to grow. We can’t create a lifetime of problem free living for our kids and then expect them to survive when they discover what the real world is like. Likewise, our lives can’t and won’t be void of challenges, but it’s how we face those challenges that matters most.
How will you choose to face today’s challenges?
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3