Tuesday, December 11, 2007


My semester's coming to an end. I've finished three of four classes, and have one more test to take. My plan was to begin the spring semester this Friday by taking two Wintermester courses. All told, I intended to take 25 hours in the spring, though not more than 13 at a time. It sounds hard, but I had it all planned and scheduled.

Last night, though, as I was bedding down Gracie, she asked if I was "ever going to take a break from school" (emphasis added for five-year-old dramatics). After some discussion, I promised her I would at Christmas, just like her, and began mentally shifting my school schedule and the educational plans I had made. Despite the fact that in anticipation of winter classes, all of the Christmas gifts have been bought and wrapped, most of the holiday groceries have been pantry-stocked, e-mails have been sent, and arrangements have been made, today, I shifted it all on paper, and will take that break because my little one wants to cuddle and watch Sprout.

The schedule shifting today made me think about all the things we do as a parents to provide for and protect our children -- things they never know, understand, or appreciate.

Some time ago, while in a angry moment, Bub said to me, "But you never do anything for me" (emphasis added for six-year-old dramatics). He meant I never turn on his video games (which I rarely do because that's done in Dad time), but instead of saying, "You never turn on my video games," he said "anything." That evoked a response from me where I informed him of a great deal of the behind-the-scenes stuff I do, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bed-making, shoe-finding, nose-wiping, birthday-party-planning, lunch-packing, note-signing, and so on. The list exhausted both of us, so I stopped before listing all I do, but I think my listing made him as appreciative as a (then) six-year-old can be, even if it was only for a moment. Nevertheless, he promptly went back to completely taking me for granted and expecting the laundry fairy to deliver him some clean underpants. Sigh.

Gracie will never know what sort of shifting was done for me to meet that hanging-out need in her, just as Bub doesn't comprehend all of the things that go on beyond his understanding to make his life function in a comfortable way. They will never know, understand, or fully appreciate the work and sacrifice that goes on around them. In the same way, neither do I.

Last night as we were driving home from Celebrate Recovery, Bub was telling me about this mean boy in his class. This boy is evidently a real troublemaker and has been reacting to Bub in a violent way. At first, when Bub mentioned this child, we didn't know it was so serious. We thought what had happened between the two was just some random kick in the leg. Boys are boys, and stuff like that sometimes happens, so we just told him to stay away from this little kid when he was being mean. By last night, though, Bub was in tears from the frustration of dealing with this child.

I promised to talk to the teacher today (which I've already done), but explained that sometimes people react to problems in their lives by being violent towards others. "Maybe he has alot of anger in his heart," I said. "But he always smiles when he kicks me," he replied.

Chuckling at his logic, I again assured him that I would call his teacher, but suggested we also pray for this little boy. "But I have been praying every night," he said, "even three times, and God hasn't been answering me." It was then that I had the opportunity to explain how God works behind the scenes, making connections and answering prayers in His own perfect way. I assured him that God had heard him and was definately doing something about his bad situation, even if it wasn't yet clear what that was. I explained how we could never fully know, understand, or appreciate all that God does for us to meet our needs or to work out his purpose in our lives.

Some of that was made even more clear to me last night as we were sharing our hearts at CR during this time of transition. In an attempt to encourage those we're leaving behind, we shared Ecclesiastes 3 with them. The passage I shared with the group included some verses which were very poingnant to me, both for the group, and for us personally:

"...He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done
from beginning to end.

I know that everything God does will endure forever;
nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that men will revere him.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;

and God will call the past to account."
Ecclesiastes 3:11,14,15

That passage made me think about all of the amazing connections God has made in our lives to carry us along his intended path. I've shared a few of those connections with a few close friends, but today, I've really spent some time thinking about them. There are lots of days that I want to say to God, "But you don't do anything for me" (emphasis added for thirty-one-year-old dramatics), but when I look back on my life, it is clear that God connected me with this person for that ministry opportunity, or James with that job for the eventual connection to this church, and on and on and on.

God is behind the scenes at all times working things out on my behalf, doing things that are beyond my understanding to allow me to function in a comfortable way. Even when times are hard, hearts are broken, and the storm is raging, God is at work silver-lining the clouds. May I understand Him and His ways more deeply every day.

"As I was with Moses,
so I will be with you;
I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Joshua 1:5 NIV

"And we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good of those
who love God and are called
according to his purpose for them."
Romans 8:28 NLT

"You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail."
Proverbs 19:21 NLT

"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


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