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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Skills, Scars, Fashion, & Inflection
Pointing at the old stitch marks where he cut his finger while cleaning the turtle bowl, he demands, "Mom, how is God ever going to use this scar for anything?" Then, without hesitation or need to search, he points to other reminders of old accidents, "...And what about this one? And this one? All they're ever going to be is useless scars that remind me of times He didn't protect me from pain."
Oh, my dear son...
Sometimes it's hard to imagine how any treasure can come from our misfortunes. God calls us to walk by hopeful trust (faith) rather than understanding, but that's hard for me to explain to my youngsters. And a little bit hypocritical. After all, I've watched more victories rise from ashes. I have more testimonies--more understanding to go with my faith. Over time, Father God has mingled bits of understanding with my scars and my baby steps of faith to build my faith bigger. Now I'm to tell my children they "just have to step out in faith"??? How can I do that? Rather, I think what I have to do is: a) continue to step out in prayerful faith myself, believing He's going to help our children plow through similar stages, and b) seek Him for how to encourage them along the way.
But our children don't want the resistance of a plow nor the time and struggle of plowing; they just want answers. They want answers that make all their confusion go away... Right now. From us. Despite all training, testimony, head knowledge and actual proof to the contrary, our son still operates almost as though WE are God--kind of a "vicarious faith." Sometimes I feel like such an unintentional stumbling block between him and God that I live in relieved wonder that I'm still alive! (Whew! I live another day! He's still fixated on us, but the Lord hasn't chosen to wipe out his idols yet!)
The discussion about scars led to discussion about skills. The Lord says His yoke is easy. Theoretically, that should mean it's fairly easy to score a passing grade on our God-given assignments! I think we often expect our burdens to be heavier, though, and we discount the "skills training" God puts us through because we don't even realize He's giving us a work out!
For example, last week our children were delightfully surprised when I pointed out that by taking advantage of the privilege of going to play at their friends' house for the day, they were actually also serving the Lord. Their stay with their friends freed up their mother to chauffeur someone home from the hospital. How light was that burden?!
And today our son practiced skills of a different sort, and even moved up to the next level. Again, he just thought he was having fun:
"Mom. Mom! Can I please take my raft out? Will you please come down and watch so I can use it?"
Raft-Poling 101 (No, I have no idea how the Lord will use this for His glory, but based on all I know of Him I have to believe it will be good and life-changing!) ;~)
Raft-Poling 201 (Um...oops? Okay, I guess it's time for a dip! Yes, son, I'm sure it IS very cold--the ice has only been off our swamp for a week... But look, you amazing guy!--You just got great training! You learned and developed new skills! You saved your pole and spanning board from floating away, swam safely to shore even with wet heavy clothes weighing you down, recaptured your raft, and poled it back to dry-dock! And you did all that REALLY FAST!!! The last time you capsized into freezing water, your dad and I were right alongside of you, swimming and available to help. But THIS time, you did it solo--just you and God. And you did it VERY WELL!)
There was a tiny bit of blood on one toe when he emerged. It seems unlikely to leave a reminding scar.
Other skills in our children's developing repertoire:
So many interests/skills/variables...no wonder we struggle to identify their "bend."
I wonder where they are going?
What an exciting mystery!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." --Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)