How to begin this post? I am reflecting on an incident that took place with Thing 3 on Friday night. More like all day Friday but that is not necessarily important. I have thought about this, prayed about it and now I felt compelled to write about it. Because that my friends is how I process best.
Let's begin with the back story. There is a special opportunity at our church that presents itself once a month to junior and senior high students. A chance to put others before self and experience life on the streets of our city. For the record, I have never pressured or prompted our Things to serve in this capacity, this is something they have taken on as their own. So, this month is the junior high students turn, which is where Thing 3 comes into play. She requested I sign her up and notify her leader that she would like to attend said outing and serve. Great. Done and done.
Only come the scheduled day we encounter reluctance. And not just passive I don't really want to go but a definite attack of the spirit. Any excuse possible surfaced, I'm tired, I don't feel well, and my personal favorite, none of my friends are going. Now let me tell you, Husband Jared and I had responded in kind all day. You are going, you made the commitment, let's move on. It wasn't until an hour before that this all came to a head. Standing in the kitchen Thing 3 began sobbing. This girl tends to have a dramatic flair but this was very out of character. My initial response would have been to let loose on her, unleash the proverbial parenting nonsense and then I felt the prompting and it could not be ignored. That is after my threat of taking certain privileges away and seeing the shoulders drop and the heaviness enter her and then it became crystal clear more was at stake here then just a night of serving. I took a step back and a rather deep breath and looked into her heart.
We talked. Females are social, relational creatures by design. Upon learning she would be on her own in an already uncomfortable situation she resisted. She understood this night was not about her or her friends. It was serving. Taking on a servant's heart and being the hands and feet to those that don't know. A Great Commission. I had no words, the disappointment had struck and I wasn't sure I would be speaking words that would make her soul stronger. So I prayed and asked for them. And I still didn't have them. I let her off the hook and sent her upstairs. Note: another fine parenting moment goes down in the books. I thought after the first prompting that I had it. I clearly didn't.
Thing 2 entered the equation and talked to her and I tried effortlessly to listen. She said something that stirred Thing 3 and they both bounded downstairs and I received an apology. Seems as though missing out on other activities wasn't worth not going. I prayed her motivation might be turned from the thought of her comfort and social calendar to those that would cross her path that night. I forgave her and in that asked for her forgiveness too for losing it and not seeing straight. It happens and more often than I care to admit.
There we were. In the parking lot and her ready to go. We stopped for a moment and prayed. Prayed over the night, the leadership team the students, we prayed for safety and opportunity and we asked the Holy Spirit to rain down on them. On all of them. I prayed for her, Thing 3, that she would know Jesus better because of this and that her heart would break for what breaks His. I thanked Him for allowing me to be her Mama and for the gift she is. We asked for forgiveness and accepted His grace, offered again and again. Then she left. And not more than two hours later I received this text, "Thanks Mama for making me come tonight, I love you." Still brings tears to my eyes. A sweetness that I certainly did not deserve and one I am grateful for all over again.
The night ended and when we picked her up we heard all the stories of the people she met and served and all the laughter and fellowship she experienced. And here I sit on a Monday morning thinking about the lesson I learned in all of this. Our Father in heaven deals with this repeatedly in my relationship with Him. He calls me into sanctification. To His holy presence. Walking with Him and following His commands. Obedience at it's purest. Yet I resist. Over and over again. Too many times to count. I don't want to serve. I fool myself into thinking that what the world offers is better. My comfort should come first. I know better than He. Obviously not my friends. In all transparency here can I just get an Amen? I know only what He has allowed me to know. And in my quest to know Him better than more is revealed. Only then. Full surrender is what He's after. Mind, body, spirit. All I can do in my humanness is fall on my knees, ask for forgiveness and accept His grace that He freely gives. Then I can offer that to others. Not because I love Him so much or I am capable in my flesh but because He loves us infinitely more than we can fathom.
That is when I can say to Thing 3, I love you and like our Jesus I am more concerned about who you will be in five years than your temporal happiness and comfort in the now.