Every day I bring my child to school 45 minutes early so we can sit in our car and spend time together. We do a "Jesus Calling" for kids devotional, pray, and talk... and talk... and talk -- about whatever is on his mind. Most mornings, he's upset -- either angry, frustrated, or fearful. (Sounds a lot like me lately.) School is stressful. The days are long. Mom has cancer. Homework is overwhelming. The sheer volume of "what-ifs" overload his adolescent soul.
I spend our 45 minutes encouraging him, trying to calm him down, and creating a longer, quieter transition between pulling into the parking lot and dropping him off into the vortex that is Middle School.
Today when he stepped out of the car, he wasn't any less angry, frustrated, or fearful than when we arrived. He strapped on his 500 lb. backpack, lugged his huge tuba case, and walked slowly up the sidewalk. Every three or four steps, he would turn around with a troubled look and lock eyes with me (still parked in the car). I would smile, nod my head yes (as in "It's going to be okay") and give him a thumbs up. This morning he turned back five times. Five thumbs ups to get to the door.
My heart aches for him because I know how he feels. But when I shift my thoughts to the encouragement instead of focusing on the fear, something changes. I see hope for my son and me.
I see a picture of me and God and a long sidewalk. I'm lugging the stresses of my life like that colossal tuba case and this 500 lb. cancer ordeal is breaking my back. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm afraid. And there is God --- smiling and nodding and giving a thumbs up. I lock eyes with Him.
"Are you sure I can do this?"
Thumbs up. "Yes."
"Why can't I just go back to the way things were before?"
Thumbs up. "Keep going. You'll see."
"The weight is too heavy. I can't carry it."
Thumbs up. "Yes, you can. Let Me help."
So while my child is probably still grimacing at school and I'm definitely still grimacing at home, one thing is clear. It's going to be hard. Life's going to be hard. School is hard. Cancer is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Work is hard. But if we keep looking to the Father, we'll receive all the love and encouragement we need.
He's a "Good, Good Father."
The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; He will rejoice over you with singing. - Zephaniah 3:17