Monday, August 10, 2009

A Chance to Begin Again

Set up this scene if you will. I am functioning on, at most, four hours of sleep, preparing for a day that begins with early morning band practice before church and runs non-stop til late afternoon.

Add to that two over-tired children who are so revved up about the beginning of second grade that they can hardly sit still. Open house was a huge success: one in which they demonstrated much patience, and my daughter proudly sported her new "Eagles" ponytail holder.

As she has every day since she received it, she wanted to wear it to church. She insisted she had left it on her bed the night before, but even in our last few moments before walking out the door, we were unable to locate it. She would have to do without.

And there, the crisis began. She dug her feet in the ground, arms pressed tightly agains the sides of her bedroom door frame, refusing to move. I carried her to the car, slipping her hairbrush into my interpreting bag in case she decided to groom herself that morning. Of course, I know she is vain enough to allow me not to engage in THAT battle!

Out we go, into the car. I buckled her in, and drive the whole mile to our church. Somehow I managed not to cuss - not quite as successful at not raising my voice - but during the drive, I elected to pray silently instead. "HELP ME! HELP ME! HELP ME!!"

In the parking lot, I got out, offered her the quesadilla she had refused at home, grabbed my bag and headed into the church alone. She was refusing to move. My son chose to finish his level on his latest Nintendo DS game.

It must have shown on my face. One of the pastors asked how I was doing. I honestly don't remember what I said, but no doubt my displeasure was conveyed.

I opened my notebook, pulled out the music for the service, and sat for a moment. I wondered briefly if I'd survive her adolescent years, frustrated with her "rebellion", I signed as the thoughts formed in my head. She digs in her heels and refuses to move.

"Not unlike someone else I know...." The words were unspoken, but true none-the-less. I let that conviction settle in my heart, and considered the times where I had done the same thing with God.

"No. No. No. No. NO!", "You are the worst God in the WHOLE WORLD!" (well, I might not have gone as far as saying THAT exactly....but you know where I'm going with this.)

Still lost in thought, as the band continued with their sound check, I considered the moments where I was more like my daughter than I cared to admit. What had happened then?

He came to me, picked me up, dried my tears, professed His love to me despite my lack of reciprocation, set me down and allowed me to begin again...

"So... what are you waiting for?" Again unspoken, as I returned to the presence of the room.

"Be imitators of Christ", I've heard again and again. I sometimes wonder how exactly, but He's given me step-by-step instructions for this situation. Time to seize an opportunity.

I set down my book, slid on my shoes and headed out the door. Up the walk comes my son. "She's still mad at me, I'm guessing..." I said as he approached. "OHHHHHH YEAH!!" he says.

"Help me, help me, help me..." I pray silently, all the way to the car.

There she sat, arms still folded, forehead wrinkled, mouth set. "Ready?" I asked. She shook her head "No."

"C'mon", I said, as I scooped her up, dried her tears, professed my love for her despite her lack of reciprocation. We returned to the stage, where I set her down and allowed her to begin again...

She sat at my feet for a long while before saying, "I love you, Mommy".

"I love you too...."

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