Lonely Disciples

My 20 year high school reunion is fast approaching. There are get togethers planned, veggie and fruit trays to be assembled (bought) and haircuts to get for self and offspring. 

And I imagine the conversations with my girlfriends and their families. Seeing each other changed but not changed, lounging in lawn chairs looking over our children and remember who we were when and rediscovering who we are now. 

And exclaiming ‘I don’t feel old enough to….’

It’s an introspective time of life. I find myself craving the activities and music of my youth. Looking back and feeling that a lot of time has passed but yet, still feeling not old enough. 

This is a relatively common feeling for me,this not feeling old enough but knowing that there are follies of my youthful self that have been left behind. Thankfully. 

It’s a sandwich sort of feeling. And a feeling that isn’t only reserved for my reunion ponderings.

As I age I become more and more aware that my learning and growing under loving mentorship is a necessity of life. To sit with someone who can speak into my life as I guide the lives of others is a deep desire of my heart. But having this type of relationship where we learn from another in the context of journeying life together is not as easily brought about as I might hope. 

Sometimes we look at others and think they spiritually have it together. Maybe they pray really well in public, maybe they teach or preach, have a degree, are amazing at teaching biblical truth to children and we wish we could learn from them!

And we see in them a level of spiritual maturity and think, ‘wow, they really should be discipline someone’.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re not longing for someone to journey with them. That there would be someone checking in with them, showing them strength where they feel weak, showing them the hands and feet and heart of Christ as they show it to others. 

It can be really lonely when people think you don’t need to be discipled anymore.

We never stop learning and growing and evolving to be these people Christ envisions us to be. 

And no matter who we are, what we can do, or how we can impact others, there is a longing in our hearts to be seen for the flawed and growing people that we are. 

Some of the most spiritually lonely people I know are in vocational ministry. Because our spiritual needs don’t stop with the 30th Bible study we’ve led, or the 100th child we’ve taught. 

And it’s so very hard to ask someone if they will walk this spiritual walk with you. Sometimes I’ve been met with ‘but you should be discipling me!’

Maybe it’s a misunderstanding of what being discipled is. It’s not one sided in learning. It’s not perfection of person or hierarchy of degrees. 

It’s realness and God-focussed and laughter and reminders and prayers and not being shocked by the humanity of the other person. 

And it’s an antidote for the spiritual loneliness and surface connections that can seep into our Sundays.

So how do we connect with each other and journey together?

We ask, and we answer yes when we are asked. 

We don’t let others different gifts make us feel that we lack.

We are real and true and honest with each other. 

We are serious in the care of each other as we don’t take ourselves too seriously. 

And we ask each other if we are alright. And we answer honestly and listen intently. 

And we seek God’s face and truth together. 

It means we need to be brave. It means we need to say yes when no is much more comfortable and less busy. 

And it means we let our loneliness give way to leaning in and on as we recognize that we are God’s good gifts to each other.

My Great Quilt of Witnesses

We have no power in our house tonight. 

The outside is blizzarding and it seems good and well to all to stay inside. 

In the glow of candlelight and phone screens my husband and I are doing the rounds of checking in, turning off lights that aren’t light, and hauling our oldest out of the tub where he’s reading in quiet murk by book light. 

My lot is to creep into the rooms of the youngers and make sure they are warm enough. My daughter who, like her father, is a furnace and my son who has never had a spare ounce of insulating flesh in his life. As I try to creep and don’t succeed because of Lego and Polly Pockets I reach into the tops of their closets for the extra blankets. 

Extra blankets are an essential in our house. To my husband they represent provision. The ability for, on nights such as this to provide warmth for whoever in whatever numbers may be under our roof. 

The blankets are essential for me too but they represent something different. 

As I reach up into the top of my daughter’s closet I pull down memories. Sunbonnet quilts hand sewn by my great aunt, a woman lauded for her kindness, the woman my mother is named after. My daughter shares their name. An afghan knitted for me by my grandmother no longer with us and another crocheted for me by my oldest sister when I was a child. I pause, but no, it’s not quite cold enough to add the wedding bedspread in all its white weighted-ness that was knitted for my husband and I by my mother’s sister.  

My son becomes loaded up with baby quilts sewn by community women, layered and overlapped over each other. 

As I handle these blankets, feel their familiar textures, I am flooded with the feeling of provision. In the gift of these blankets people who love and loved me have crafted warmth and care around me and around my children. 

These layers of generational love for me and my children they may not have met is a witness to me of how not only physically but emotionally we provide for each other. I share the stories of these women with my children. Their stories of faith and kindness and laughter. This testimony of personhood that my children can hear of and be surrounded by as they cuddle up in the warmth. 

“Therefore, as we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything  that hinders and sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us.” Hebrews 12:1

The reassurance of those who came before me is warmth and strength to me. Knowing that there were others who have gone before and bear witness to God’s timeless work in our lives. That in telling their stores not only do we remember them but my children hear the testimony of God in life back beyond their memory but not beyond story. 

I am so grateful for those who have gone before in strength and courage and faith. And that they cared for and remembered me. And I wonder what they thought of the generations that would come. Did they wonder if the the care of their time and handiwork would warm those in the future? Did they wonder if they would be remembered?

They are. And their stories weave in with mine and ours. 

More Saul than David

I used to think that King Saul got a bad rap.

A man who was anointed as king but didn’t ask to be. A man feeling insecure and thrown into a situation where Israel had asked for something outside of God’s plan and God had provided Saul as the solution.

I don’t envy Saul.

And I used to think his actions weren’t necessarily his fault. That he was under-equipped for the task at hand and was just doing his best in the face of Philistine invasion. That his poor decisions were a result of misstep only.

Often when I read scripture and feel bad for people in it and try to justify their actions God says to me “look a little closer”. It was the case with my feeling sympathy for Martha trying her best to meet social expectations while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, uncaring about what other people thought. Lesson learned (or at least, need for learning of lesson acknowledged).

So what am I learning when I look at my sympathy/empathy for Saul?

I see a person who feels unready for leadership.

I see a person who wants a solution. Who wants answers and action to make the problem go away.

I see someone who has a hard time waiting on God to move so tries, through all the right channels (worship, sacrifice), to jog the situation along.

I see someone who is working on rather than waiting upon.

How often is the drive there in my own life to move my situation along. To see something in life that I think needs fixing or needs a plan, needs a nudge in the right direction because what I think should happen must be right.

And intentions are good.

But intentions are not always aligned with what God is doing.

Because what God is doing is not always clear or, to my mind, timely.

Saul was a man of action. He saw what he thought the people needed. He functioned under the pressure of the role and what he thought were the needs of the people and the nation.

My people have needs and though my personal nation is so much smaller I am aware of trying to keep everything going and moving in what I think is the right direction. And I am clumsy in it.

I am clumsy in trying to say the thing and do the thing that makes the thing happen. Because in the saying and doing and making I don’t always leave space for God. I know in my head and experience that waiting on God and being still is the best thing but my saying and doing and making don’t always align with what’s best.

And I’m left in situations feeling foolish for the saying and doing and striving.

Feeling smaller and unconfident because I’m not big enough to do what God does.

It’s often in these times of slinking away and licking my wounds, in the times of analyzing every word and every possible way people could be thinking of my words, that God speaks to me. A hand on my arm and a shared sigh. An acknowledgement that, like Saul, my rushing efforts cause me often to trip over my own desires.

That being silent and still is allowing the bigness to move in small ways.

That it’s not about getting out of God’s way, but pausing and side stepping as he steps forward and takes the lead.

And realizing that my clumsiness has not messed up what God has planned for me. That people don’t focus on my mistakes as I do (if they even notice). And that who I’m pitying is really myself when I am mirrored in biblical people who struggled.

 

The Refining through Road Irritation

I’m not usually subject to road irritation but there is one stretch of road on my way to church that does not always bring out the best in me.

Some of the mitigating factors include a van load of children, some or none of whom may have worn socks even though they were repeatedly asked to put them on, running late because I didn’t time my morning properly, lack of breakfast (see prior mitigating factor), and the knowledge that I will need to apply my makeup in the parking lot of the church with a time limit of about 2 1/2 minutes (I’ve done it).

So there are some Sundays where it’s like a van full of loving kindness and comradery. Songs are sung and jokes are told.

And then there’s the afore-mentioned Sundays (mitigating factors) where my irritation is palpable.

This isn’t a blog about how we put on nice face for church; I regularly come into church realizing that I’m in need of peace that passes understanding.

This is about how my getting to church sometimes lets me know how much I need church.

My story of woe begins with socks, half eaten breakfast, so we were actually half way to good, but yet timing things just right so we would be at church on time. On time only.

I was doing the speed limit. Not by my own virtue but because my youngest is inclined to have an internal radar detector that lets her know when I’m going even 2km over the speed limit.

So I wasn’t speeding but I was intentional about being there on time.

And we were well on our way until, horror of horrors, someone pulled in front of me and proceeded to slow down to 20km under the speed limit and stay there. There was not passing, I needed to be in that lane. And I was miffed.

Not angry, more in the area of exasperated/ticked/miffed/irritated but yet trying to maintain my poise in front of my children who will not learn road irritation from me, that’s for sure!

As the, I’m sure, very nice lady in the sensible sedan turned left I drove by thinking.

“Well, at least she wasn’t one of us. Because then I’d really feel bad.”

…………………………………………………

Oh yeah. I thought that.

Because if she had gone a bit further and turned left, then she would have been going to my church and then wouldn’t I have felt bad thinking nasty thoughts about someone I knew.

Yeah.

I’m not proud of it either.

But these not proud moments are ones that thankfully, God uses to teach me something about myself, my reactions, my impulses that haven’t yet reached the pinnacle of refining that he’s doing in my life.

So why would it matter if she was at our church or not? And for goodness sake, I should want her to be part of our church!

I’ve been trying to puzzle this out all day. Why would it matter if I was irritated with that lady and I ended up following her all the way to the church parking lot?

I think it’s something about the goodness of church.

Because at church, I’m surrounded by people who I care for and people who care for me.

And part of that caring means I let them into my life, make space for them to speak into my life about how God dreams I can be.

There are people there that I know on a deep and intimate level and I know that we all struggle.

And there are people there that I love very deeply.

It’s not that I would feel judged if someone knew that I had those unkind thoughts this morning. It’s that I’m on a journey with these people to seek Jesus. To love as he loved. To love everyone because knowing him means that I represent his love to others.

And driving into the parking lot of the church with people seeking to love means that when I don’t love, I’m reminded of why it’s my privilege to do so.

And today was a reminder that loving people extends beyond the church walls. That we reach out to those who irritate us, repel us, reflect us.

Realize that grace in the little things is a reflection of God’s grace to me in the biggest thing.

My irritation with that lady is no reflection of her, but a reflection of the gentle work that God still has to do in me.

And driving into the parking lot of a place where grace is offered to me is a good place to continue my journey.

 

Why My Child Should Know About War

One of my favorite times of day is sitting on my cold bottom on my front step watching the sunrise. After my friend and I go walking three times a week, I sit down, cross my ankles, and sit with God. It’s wonderful.

Today as I was sitting, I heard the door creak open behind me and my 5-year-old daughter plunked herself in my lap. This was new because usually my children aren’t up when I go walking. But because today was Remembrance Day, our walk could be taken at a later time, the glorious lateness of 7:30am.

After snuggling and greeting, my daughter piped up.

“Mom, did you know that there are kids who are dying in war right now?”

Pause

“You’re right, honey. Where did you hear about it?”

Now, I’m not upset that this is information my daughter has. Her school does a very good job of honoring and discussing why we observe Remembrance Day. But it did take me aback.

I think there is the hope in the heart of ever adult that children will never have to know of or experience war. But the reality in our world is that there are children who are being killed, who are being trained as soldiers, who are living in situations that are horrendous and seem hopeless from a continent away.

But I’m glad that my daughter knows this is happening.

I’m glad because this began a discussion with her about the people who work very hard to help others and keep them safe.

And it began a discussion about how Jesus calls us to do what we can to love other people, even when they seem so far away.

I wrapped my arms around my daughter and told her that even though we may not be there to wrap our arms around kids who are terrified in their reality of war, we can do what we can to love people right where we are.

I talked to her about loving others.

I talked to her about how we make sure that we love people who are different.

I talked to her about how if there is someone new who comes to your school, you look into their fear and you do what you can to make them feel welcome.

I talked to her about welcoming people who may be fleeing war, and have experienced so many things we can’t imagine. About how we can try to look at them and imagine what it must be like to be scared, to lose everything, and to start over where you may not know the language. And we do what we can to love them and make them feel like we’re glad they are there.

And when she talked to me about how even in Kindergarten, there are ‘teams’ of girls and they don’t all play with one another, I could encourage her that we don’t play teams. I tell her that sometimes girls aren’t so good at making sure that everyone feels like they belong. That her loving people and standing up for them means that we welcome everyone to our play space.

That if our friends tell someone who they aren’t welcome to play with us that she can stand up on her 5-year-old feet and say ‘everyone is welcome’.

“Mom, I was just thinking of that!”

I love my brave kindergarten Girl.

I love that her knowledge of the world is expanded so that the dark places we see can always have a crack of light in them.

I love that Jesus gave us the model of loving others, of praying for the persecutors as well as the persecuted.

I love that in the midst of hate there is love, and in the midst of the heaviness there is determined forward hopefulness.

What lessons to learn so young, and I’m so grateful for these lessons.

So I hugged her and she skipped off. And I sat, thinking of those who have come before. Those who have fought with weapons and those who have fought with love. Those who have fought to maintain peace, and those who have fought to bring peace.

And in our corner of the world, where war is a memory and not my reality, I will do what I can to bring love.

 

Not Enough Emotional Wet Wipes in the World

It’s been a day.

A day of watching and receiving other people’s hurts.

Of exploring how we as human beings view one another and the fear and grace of end of life.

It’s been a day of too little reserves, too much salad and not enough hamburgers, not enough water and not enough iced tea.

It’s been a day.

It’s been a day where I wish my words were powered like a shop-vac with a reverse switch, where as soon as something flowed, it could be gathered up again in an instant.

It’s been a day of the best intentions and the most clumsiness.

It was a day where in the attempt to connect with a group, I may have inadvertently hurt the one. Where something I said may have resonated a discordant clang against the wounds of their experience and I wish, I wished the moment I said it that I could gather it up.

But instead I looked in the eyes and tried to smooth, yet not make a big deal, yet all the while worrying that a person I admire and try to emulate may thing that I think things I don’t think.

I hate that. I hate the thought that within my reserve-less jabbering I was like a dog who brought my dead carcass treat and laid it at someone’s feet.

Where I had wounded where I meant to connect.

“Watch your words and hold your tongue and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23 (MSG)

Yep, can’t argue with you there.

I’m normally pretty good at holding my tongue. I try to keep secrets and use my nice words and try to look on the positive. And I think I’m pretty successful.

But there are the days, like these, where there is over-tiredness, and a kid barfing, and too much salad, and my words aren’t what I hoped they would be.

So what do I do?

I vent, to God on the way home and to my husband when I get home. And they tell me that I’m going to be ok. And I pray. I pray about what to do, what amends are needed and how to go about it.

Because we all have those days. Days where we wish we were vacuums and wet wipes and could make it all better. But I go forward and I learn, and I remember that self-care and thoughts are important before the words come.

The Most Important Thing I Did Today Was Hold Someone’s Hand

The most important thing I did today was hold someone’s hand.

It was a hand gnarled and twisted with pain, a hand that gripped mine as the soul and body’s hurt issued outward through quiet groans and whimpering.

It was the hand of a stranger. A person who had called for someone, anyone, and I happened to be the one at the other end of the phone.

They did not know they wanted me, they just knew they needed someone.

As I sat with them, I asked what they wanted, what they needed. And what they needed was not to talk, but to sit, to be touched and seen. To have their hand held as they struggled through their pain and fear and sense of being alone.

It was a holy moment.

A moment where I remembered that this is the reason for being here. That this is worth the disinterest and the brush-offs. That for every 10 passing conversations, God intervenes with a situation so holy it takes my breath away.

God was not in the conversation, but God was in the room.

He was in the stillness, in the grip, in the quiet voice of caregivers, in the fluttering of eyelids and the recognition between strangers that this was a space where names didn’t matter, but presence did.

And my heart broke and rejoiced all at the same time.

And I felt, in that moment, the certain experience of being the present hands and feet of Jesus. All the medicine in the world could not do in that moment what hands could.

What a gift.

To be the living and breathing presence of God’s spirit to people who don’t know him, who don’t necessarily want to hear about him. But the hands are there.

So often I wrestle with the reality that much of what I do is less about words and more about action. I’m a words person, speaking and writing, and so much of my wiring is orientated to making Christ known through word.

But God is stretching me to know that the holy is found in deed. That making him known expands beyond the words of my mouth to the care by my hands.

As I held the hand of this fellow journeyer, I meditated on the idea that how often we offer the prescription of salvation through our words when it is the deed that shows his love.

I could not offer cure but I could offer comfort.

It was not the time for me to expound on my faith, it was the time to sit silently and be present. The invasion of my words, any words, into that sacred space would have been self-serving rather than serving.

But I know God was there in our enfolded hands.

He was there in the most basic and comforting of ways. If you know me you know that my hands are NEVER warm. They aren’t capable of it on their own.

But today they were warm, inexplicably warm. And this brought comfort, my hands that were ‘so warm’, to hands that were frigid in their pain.

God uses the heat of our hands and the Holy Spirit within our hearts to show who he is. He uses the words of our mouth and the silence of our moments to share his love.

In the moment, it’s not about prescription, not about cure, it’s about the still presence of the Holy Spirit, our comforter. And in that Holy space we learn how to travel with one another.

There’s No Shame In Getting Benched

Tae Kwon Do starts tonight.

For my middle kid this is the utmost in excitement. It means all the weeks of practicing ninja moves on his sister and doing practice roundhouse kicks in the grocery line are all going to pay off.

Because tonight is the night.

In chatting with him and saying how much he’s going to love it, he looks at me with certainty and says ‘Well, if I can’t do it after a couple of times, I’ll just quit.’

Yeah, no.

This was a funny statement coming from this kid. He’s the most agile child I know. He has a 6 pack. At age 7. He’s going to be fine.

Me, his participating mom, not so fine.

But it got me thinking of how we approach things, the idea that we need to be stars immediately.

This was not my sporting experience. I began playing on my Junior High basketball team when I was in grade 5. I was tall, I was determined.

And I was a bench sitter.

There were kids who weren’t as tall but they were faster, and they were as tall and they were better shots than me. So I spent time on the bench. In Junior High there is this sense of fair play where everyone gets to play, provided you’re trouncing the other team with enough margin that whatever you do doesn’t matter because you can’t lose anyway.

Fastforward to High School. With 4 years under my belt and playing with the same group of girls as Junior High, I still spent time on the bench. I didn’t go to a school where it was all about participation. Winning was important.

I wasn’t the star, but I was a hard worker. And I was a team player.

I hear stories of people, young and old, who aren’t willing to be bench sitters.

It’s not worth their time, they don’t deserve to be benched, where they played before they were the star and now you want to bench me?

I’m not saying the bench is fun. It’s not fun knowing that you’re dressed, warmed up and ready to go, and your job is to cheer and be a nice enough person that you don’t wish an injury on the player ahead of you.

But bench warming taught me something.

It taught me that it wasn’t about me.

It taught me that you stick with something because you are part of something bigger than yourself.

It taught me that the work that you put in proves something to other people, your tenacity is a sign of your character rather than your stardom.

Being in the middle of the pack showed me that when you love something more than you love your ego, you’re willing to have other people see you sitting on the bench and waiting for your turn.

I find this aversion to bench sitting happens in church. People want to be front and center, want the stage and the accolades, want to be noticed for their skill and their ability.

They want to run with the spiritual big dogs.

And when they don’t, they quit.

I’ve known people who, when they were told they couldn’t be part of the worship team because their musical ability was non-existent, just stop trying. Because they wanted what they want and didn’t want to hear no.

I’ve seen people chafe at being led because they want to be the leader, even when they aren’t ready or skilled, aren’t able to lead with the kindness and humility that is required of us by Christ.

And I’ve been someone who wanted to be in a ministry place that I wasn’t prepared for, either in maturity or knowledge. But, oh, how I wanted it.

I’ve been spiritually benched. I’ve had times when God has said to me ‘not for you, not yet’.

And it sucked. I felt ready, I wanted that experience, but I wasn’t ready.

Looking back on my times being benched, spiritually and otherwise, I realize that it was one of my greatest learning experiences.

It taught me to check my motives. Did I want to be the star and have the fans, or was I doing this to further something bigger than me? If we say no to serving others, to being part of what God is doing in church just because we’re not serving in the way we think we deserve, we are missing out on a sense of mission, community, and purpose that is so very very good for our souls. It’s good for it not to be about us.

It taught me that my skills needed to be developed. Just because you’re benched doesn’t mean you’re not practicing, and training, and learning. Some of my best learning experiences have been when I was in the background, in a supporting role.

It taught me that it’s up to the coach to determine when I’m ready. When I look at ministry opportunities I wanted so much, I realize that the no from God showed his great foresight and wisdom. I wasn’t ready, or the situation wasn’t right, but I couldn’t see it until later.

So I’ve learned not to give up when I’m on the bench. Watching, waiting, training, striving, supporting, all of these traits have developed me into a better person. It’s taught me that my view of myself needs input, I need to let God be in charge of me and what I do. I needed to learn how to be a follower before I could be a leader.

I needed the experience of the bench to get better.

I Miss A Lot of Things

I miss writing.

Which seems strange because I’m doing it right now. But this right now is a stolen moment, a pocket of time where things seem to breathe a little better and my inspiration and will both align.

These moments seem to be few and far between these days.

It’s more than the start of a new season, a new ministry position that is creating as I go, all the kids in school, time and space are structured differently than they were before.

It’s more than these things. All of these things come into play but I think it’s a season of life where looking ahead and looking behind are done in congruence with one another.

And it’s not even a crossroads. It’s not a right or left decision. My inner life right now seems to be flooded with the who was/will be/am of me.

Do you ever feel that way? Are you ever struck with the sensation that you are almost a totally new person to yourself and at the same time, shockingly familiar?

If you say mid-life crisis, I’ll deny it every time.

I think it’s more an idea of the evaluation of self. Who is this person that is me?

At this time of re-introducing me to myself, where I’m learning new things, parenting just school age children, venturing out in new ways in ministry and refining the familiar ministries and patterns.

It’s weird.

Because I feel both not old enough and wiser than I’ve ever been. Things are rushing and poignant all at the same time.

It makes me sit on my front step early in the morning and gaze and think.

And what do I think?

I think of what I miss. I think of the college basketball me who felt light on her feet. I think of not being too spent to write. I think of court shoes and impulsive movies.

And I think of what’s now and ahead. I think of walking alongside those at the end of life. I think of being hands and feet of Christ a different way than I ever have been before. I look at my husband of 16 years and realize that we’ve been to each other for an entire adult (18 years altogether). Try that on for size.

One of the things that happens when I’m visiting on the wards is the natural inclination of people to do a life review. To look over their lives, past, present, and future, and find meaning. Meaning in how they were within themselves and to others. To find what brings them joy in the moment, birds out the window or heat in their room.

When memories and the present and a whiff of the future seem to all merge in their hearts and minds.

It’s an intentional place to be. To sit on your front step and think about how God wired you, the experiences you’ve come through, and what the future may look like.

I sat on my front step. I sat there and invited God to have a seat. And I decided that I would start asking him questions. I would ask him what he thought of me now, because he’s known me longest and best. I would ask him what he thought of the life I’m in the midst of.

And I would tell him about the things I miss. And I would ask him what that missing means in my life now. Does it mean a going back to a part of me, or does it mean that change can feel scary and uncomfortable and I long for the long ago known.

I’m committed to asking those questions. Sitting on my front step in the stillness and everyday-colder of the early morning. Because the only way I’m going to feel settled in my skin is if I see my past, present, and future through his eyes.

It’s a journey and a discovery and I don’t have all those answers yet and my inner skin still prickles with the unsettledness of it all. But that’s ok. It’s part of growing and rediscovering God and me and us doing this life together.

So I breathe, and I ask, and I discover, with him.

Nope, Not Even Close

I am not ready. 

I am take-a-sedative (herbal, but not that kind of herbal) or stress-clean-the-house kind of not ready. 

I am so not ready that I can’t even wrap my head around it, I’m so not ready. 

My daughter is ready. 

She is sooooo ready that the people around her can feel it seeping out of her pores. She is so ready that people stop her in the library and intuitively ask her if she is ready? 

And boy is she ready. She’s been ready for two years. 

As I look at my girl I see her readiness and feel my own unreadiness. 

Sure, she’s nervous about things that other people look at her in shock for even worrying about. Like will she make friends. Because she will, in abundance. 

And I’m ready for her. I’m ready for her to be ready because she is so ready. I know these things are good for her, that kindergarten will be a place of remembering playing house and water tables and the elusive crab in the class fish tank. 

But I’m not quite ready for me. Because, you see, change in her life means change in mine. A change of time-focus and leaping into situations that have snowballed me into a world of newness and wobbly legs. 

The commitment that I made to myself years ago that when change came for her I would actively seek change myself. That the time when she’s away from me and I from her would be spent in walking alongside others. That I would stretch my legs,heart, and brain back to the back-burner part of myself, not dormant, but shared in time and space with the care of young ones. 

And now it is time and she’s ready and sleeping and I’m awake and contemplating the cleaning. I may have already taken the ‘not that kind of herbal’ sedative. 

Because I know the old but don’t know the new. Like I reassure my children as they enter new classrooms and engage with new teachers, I too want to hear, ‘you’ll be fine’. (my glorious husband has offered to pray for me when he comes to bed)

God and I have chatted about this new change. Well, I have chatted and felt too spun around to be able to listen much. But I do try. 

And sometimes the listening comes in the moment while I’m talking. 

My middle child, the lightbulb spirit child, was being cuddled and prayed over when I knew that there was something more for him. I asked him if he remembered Joshua and his nerves before he went to Jericho? And then I said, ‘and God brought those walls down to crumbs’. 

“Be Strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid. The Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Wherever, no matter what. 

Despite the nerves and new beginnings and insecurities of self and situation, God is there in Spirit and in Truth. 

My son nodded, but still a little sceptical. But you see, he doesn’t have the years of new beginnings I’ve had. 

Doesn’t have the years of God’s presence, going before and hemming behind. 

Hasn’t yet seen the depth of faithfulness I’ve seen. 

Hasn’t seen enough that he can look at the young ones he loves and offer them the gift of his certainty that we are always in God’s presence and palm.

But his time will come, and tomorrow’s Godly faithfulness will resonate with his soul. 

And it will resonate with mine, in present and memory.