As I sit down to write this post, I begin it with a heavy sigh. The last few days have been both exciting and hard at the same time. I now have a kid in Kindergarten. And that fact doesn’t make me sad, in fact, I’m happy about it. He was ready, and though I’ll miss him during the day, he was ready to go and eager to learn. But when my husband and I took him to the meet-and-greet recently I left feeling anxious, overwhelmed and weird. We loved the classroom, the teacher, all the staff that we met and are so thankful that he can go to such a great school where the teachings are biblically based and God is exalted. So why did I have these feelings? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Until the next day. That’s when it hit me… or more like that’s when the Lord revealed to me what my feelings were about (I love when He does that).
While I was at the meet-and-greet, I watched my son’s interactions with the teacher, the other students and went through all the “what ifs” in my head. “What if he doesn’t get along with one or more of his classmates?”, “What if he’s disrespectful to the teacher?”, “What if he doesn’t follow directions or acts up in class?”, “What if he misbehaves on the bus and they don’t let him ride anymore?!” Pretty normal concerns for a parent, right? Right? But what caused those feelings was this: Will my son’s behaviors, actions and choices be a reflection of me? Will they be a reflection of my parenting and mothering skills? What will people think? How will it make me look? Me. Me. Me. Pride. I wondered “Do other moms ever feel like this?” or am I alone in my irrational thinking? I allowed those thoughts to taint my feelings about my son entering school. I allowed them to discourage me and take the focus off both the Lord and my son. And when that happens, the Lord usually nudges me to return my focus to Him for direction, wisdom and comfort. And like always, He was faithful in those things and faithful in showing me how my pride (among other things) was getting in the way of the joy that is available for me to experience.
The Lord reminded me that my son is a gift. A gift from the Lord. A borrowed gift that my husband and I were given to raise, guide and love. My son is the child of the King, made in His image. Each quality, trait, talent and gift that my son has was perfectly designed by his Creator. My son is also a sinner, like me, who needs loving correction and gentle teaching in order to be molded into a young man who consistently makes good choices that honor God. The Lord reminded me that I have to let go of the “what ifs” and that He’s in control. He redirected my eyes back to Him. Rather than worrying about my son and the possible things that could (and probably will) happen, I was reminded to be in prayer for him. To encourage him. To love him. To accept him. To guide him. And to lovingly (and firmly) provide discipline and correction when needed.
I know that having a strong-willed, attention-loving, full-of-energy little boy (times three) will come with it’s fair share of teacher notes, calls and possibly a few parent-teacher meetings. I’d be foolish to think that my boys will not make foolish decisions that come with consequences. But I do not have to let those situations define me as a mother, keeping in mind they are children who must learn from mistakes, just like the rest of us. And asking God to give me His perspective and wisdom when faced with situations that I would normally let define me (and embarrass me). Not allowing my eyes to shift from Him to me. And remembering His truths, including that we are all His children, dearly loved. He defines me and gives me meaning, not the behaviors of my children, or how put-together my house is, or how much I’m involved in. Sometimes as women we tend to allow things such as this to set the tone in our hearts and lives.
Finally, I was reminded that I’m surrounded by family, friends, church family and now this amazing school family who know and love my children….just for who they are. No matter what. So that answered my earlier question: no I’m not alone in this. Other mothers have been in my shoes and are here, ready to offer me encouragement and wisdom when my child decides to make his peers in class laugh by doing something totally absurd and naughty. And I hope that my own parents will be there to remind me of all the absurd and naughty things I did in my youth, so that I will not take things so seriously. Love and grace, friends, and lots of it.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3