A part of me gets nostalgic every time summer comes to an end and we start buying school supplies. I totally connect with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail,” and melt at the smell of “bouquet of newly sharpened pencils” (especially if they are perfectly labeled with a label machine). I’m reminded of my elementary years. I LOVED school, and I say that with no exaggeration. I adored every bit of it (minus the occasional relational drama), and I honestly pray that you and your siblings would be lovers of learning, as well.
When Connor went to kindergarten, I was ecstatic. I wasn’t necessarily dying for him to get out of the house (even with you at home and Hadleigh on the way). I truly enjoy having you all with me, but I was beyond giddy for him on his first day of school. I did cry…in the car…and I blame my pregnant hormones 100%. You might have slight memory of that.
This year was a little different. You were so excited to go to kindergarten, but a part of me was aching inside. Perhaps it’s because you are a girl, sweet, with fragile emotions, or perhaps it’s because when I look at you, I see a mini-me. It’s probably a little of both, but I have realized seeing the “me” in you creates an unhealthy protectiveness. It’s selfishly motivated, like I could possibly change the bad that happened to me by trying to protect you.
Why do I do that?
I want to protect you, it’s my responsibility to protect you, and I promise to fight for you, but the problem comes when I place pressure on myself to insure your happiness at all times. It’s exhausting, dear one, and someday you might experience that with your own babies.
Somehow, I believed the lie that failure or sadness would harm you. However, if God’s desire is for His children to be more and more conformed to the image of His Son, then sometimes happiness has to take the fall, maybe even a big fall. I often pray protection over you, but when the unavoidable pains of life happen, as they always do, I need you to cling to this: You can be so deeply strengthened and shaped during the times you have no strength to shape yourself. That might just be the beauty of pain. It’s then that our self-promoting, self-seeking, self-protecting inner person crumbles, and we can only rely on God, Himself, to do something glorious in and through us.
When you make a mistake and you get embarrassed, your face turns red, and you feel like crying, God can shape you. Let Him lift up your head so you can bask in His perfection.
When a classmate doesn’t accept you, and maybe even makes fun of you, God can shape you. Let Him remind you that you are His creation and lead you to those who are hurting, themselves, and need a friend.
When you hurt someone’s feelings, and you you feel the burn of regret, God can shape you. Let Him show you forgiveness and give you humility to ask for forgiveness.
When you face the choice to be brave or accepted, God can shape you. Let Him go before you and give you courage.
When you have to wait for something, something you really want, God can shape you. Let Him be your treasure.
In moments of despair, suffering, or frustration, God can shape you. In moments of sadness, anger, and error, God can shape you. In all things, God can shape you.
And let me walk beside you, sweet one. As your character is shaped, let me always walk beside you.
You are my beauty, and I love you very much.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither present things nor things to come, neither powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39