Monday, August 15, 2016

The First Day of School

How did this happen?? Just a few short weeks ago (right?!) we were kicking off mom's summer camp of fun and learning. There were grandiose plans, tons of organization and lots of effort put into our summer of fun together. We all know what happens to good intentions when life just happens. We did not do learning activities every day. His summer journal only has a few pages of writing in it. The summer goal of attempting to learn to tie his shoes was in fact attempted but not with successful completion. 

Nevertheless, time has gotten away from us and the long days of summer have somehow quickly come to a close with the start of third grade today. There's an expected level of excitement and anxiety that comes with the start of something new. This year comes with lots of changes and newness, along with lots of opportunity. Even so, the first day of school means the end of summer and I am in complete denial. 

Don't get me wrong. The summer did not come without its challenges. Many of them, actually. But something happened this summer that gave me such insight into this amazing boy that God gave me. I became the pupil instead of the teacher during mom's summer camp of fun and learning, and learn did I ever! 

We did not do learning activities every day, but I learned more about my boy this summer than in almost 8 years combined. His summer journal only has a few pages of writing in it, but the notes I took while studying and learning who he is and what makes him operate could fill a book. No, he didn't perfect the art of tying his shoes but there's a beautiful bow tied around the mother-son bond we got to share this summer. 

School has begun and while the love of organization and schedules has me motivated, I begrudgingly start this year missing my boy home with us each day. Baxter has been sad all day. Violet even talked to his picture on the fridge calling for "buh buh." 

Summer, you did not disappoint. As a necessary part of life, we must say goodbye for now and embrace change. Thank you for the time together, the memories made and the ways we were blessed. Here's to a new school year and my boy! He said it was great day and he did "all the normal things you do at school." He's a boy. I'm not going to get much more detail than that. For now we are bidding the first day of school goodnight. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Unanswered Prayers

He answered my prayer. It was so specific, almost insignificant to anyone besides me, but it was not something I overlooked. I saw and felt His Presence when I got the answer. I knew He had done what I asked, not for any other reason than to bless me because I had asked of Him. I couldn't help but give Him praise. He bent His Holy ear toward me and said yes. He blessed. He answered. I rejoiced!

It's a blessing to be able to give Him such praise. Yet I have to admit it came in the midst of a time of testing when I knew He was asking me if my faith would waiver. Just a few days ago His answer was no. It was something entirely different and much more significant to me and yet He didn't oblige. I can honestly tell you that it was something I have prayed long and hard over, pouring out my heart and shedding tears over this request more times than I can even count. The fact that He once again had to tell me no, keep waiting, doesn't mean that He's any less faithful but it definitely put me in a place where my faith was tested. My simple human mind has tried to grapple with understanding why and when He chooses to say yes or no to my prayers. Many times I have had to be reminded that His timing is not my own. Even more often I have had to remember that I only see what is before me. He not only sees the entire landscape but He has created it and fashioned it by His own hands. Who am I to question?! Oh, but I do. 

So what happens when God does not answer your prayer? 

"You pray fervently then wait hopefully for the changes you desire. When I don't answer your prayers according to your will, you sometimes get discouraged."

Sometimes?! Discouraged?! Let me be real, folks, I have had a full blown pity party. No one was invited, of course, because it was all about me and sulking alone in my misery seemed even more like a sacrificial act of martyrdom. Despite my own self, He offers this reminder: 

"It's easy for you to think you're doing something wrong-as if you're missing out on what I have for you. When you think that way, you are forgetting a most important truth: that I am Sovereign. I am in control and I am taking care of you."

Yes, but Lord...You didn't answer me! You didn't give me what I asked and doesn't Your Word say ask and I will receive?!

Somehow I hear myself and cringe at the selfishness that I scold against in my own child. I'm waiting for it. Just waiting for the lecture I more than deserve. 

"I want you to accept your dependent way of living as a gift from Me.... Actually, nothing will lift you out of the doldrums faster than praising and thanking me."

A glad and thankful heart. Receive His gift of dependence with joy. Praise Him even though He didn't give me what I want. Praise Him because He is God, He is good. He is Sovereign and my limited sight cannot see how He's choosing to bless me despite my loathsome behavior, regardless of my complaining. He doesn't have to give me any answers to my prayers, yet He chooses to because of Who He is. And then He chooses not to because of what He knows and His Sovereignty at work in my life in ways I cannot see. It's well beyond my limited way of thinking. So I have to trust. I have to praise. I have to wait. I continue to pray, not to keep asking for what I want but to continue to draw closer to Him. To thank Him for Who He is. Not what He gives me. But what He chooses not to give me. Even when it doesn't make sense to me. Even when it seems like I somehow know what's best. I praise Him because I don't. Because I am dependent on Him. And that's the only answer I really need to know. 

(Excerpt quotes from Jesus Today)