It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…


I arrived in the smaller of the two gyms at my daughter's high school. Thin rubber mats covered the surface of the floor to protect it from the scratchy feet of the long tables that marched in long rows stretching nearly from wall to wall. In this room and several other locations in the school, 700 sophomores were about to file in, pencils and minds at the ready. A couple of other moms and I were there as parent volunteers to help oversee the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

The kids were in a 10 minute morning break between classes and we volunteers took the opportunity to get acquainted. We told our kids' names and ages, talked about how long we'd been at this school, and inquired as to whether any of us had done this before--routine parent volunteer small talk. Just then another mom came in, peering inside to make sure she was in the right place. We assured her she was, and I couldn't help noticing a slight sadness, the almost apologetic expression she wore.

She explained that she hadn't been sure where the Small Gym was and with the halls teeming with the 2800 students hurrying to lockers and 2nd period classes, it had been a challenge to find us. She said, "I passed my daughter in the hall, but I didn't ask her or even speak to her--I didn't want to embarrass her." Her eyes looked down and away as she said it. "I saw one of her friends and asked her for directions, so I finally found you."

Just then the doors were opened and the administrators let the students in and I didn't have a chance to say anything . . . I'm not even sure what I would have said or wanted to say, but I just felt so sorry for her. Clearly she cared deeply about her daughter and was a loving mom. She was living out her love for her daughter, but somehow she thought her daughter was ashamed of her, or would be embarrassed to be seen with her, so she passed her daughter in the hall without speaking, a little sadder for it . . . maybe a lot sadder.

I couldn't help thinking about the relationship I enjoy with my own kids and how at every age and right up to this day (at almost 21 and 16), both of them would be more inclined to tackle me (or their daddy) in a bear hug in front of all their friends, and then would proceed to introduce me to all of them! They would have been deeply wounded had I tried to pass by them without speaking. I also thought back to how much I loved having my daddy for a teacher and how proud I was to be his daughter, and how cool it was to see him in the halls and to be able to give, and get, a hug from him in the middle of the school day . . . in front of all my friends who wished they had a dad as awesome as mine!

When I told my own almost 16 year old daughter about this, I thought her response was so insightful--she said, "I'd tell that mom to go ahead and embarrass her daughter!" While there is a certain amount of healthy pushing away our children must do to become themselves, we should not take that as a reason to pull away from them. If anything, they need us to stay even closer, not in a hovering, smothering way, but in an I'm-not-going-ANYWHERE way that makes them feel secure and loved through every minute of their growing up, even while we're gradually, appropriately, necessarily letting go.

As so many parenting moments do, this little vignette I observed made me think of our Heavenly Father and how we relate to Him as His children. Seeing this woman's sadness over her keenly felt distance from her daughter, it made me wonder how God feels when His children act ashamed of Him in front of their friends. Are we ever embarrassed to be seen with Him, or do we walk with Him unashamed, excited to introduce our friends to Him? Would we tackle Him in a joyous bear hug if He walked through the halls of our school or workplace?
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26 NIV1984
These are sobering words from Jesus . . . words I never want to test. I think I'll take a bear hug instead!
How about you?

What is your favorite way to stay close to your kids (even if they're pushing you away)?
How would you like your life to make God feel?
Speaking of mothers and daughters and our Heavenly Father, my awesome mother is going in for surgery on Tuesday morning to correct some problems in her neck. May I ask for your prayers for her, for her wonderful team of doctors and nurses, and for my daddy as they all work toward getting her well? You have my very humble thanks--it's hard for this daughter to be so far away and your prayers feel like one way I can close the 1200 miles between us. Thank you.
UPDATE: Just got word that her surgery is all done and that it went very well! Continuing to pray for a smooth and complete recovery!
Thank you so much for your prayers!

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"
Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1106-1126 (February 5th-11th)

5. one gift stitched--a football (Super Bowl Sunday!!)
    one gift hammered--cymbals played in worship by Drummer Boy
    one gift woven--our hearts, together, watching the game, cheering and celebrating the win!
6. 3 gifts found outside
    peach and purple sunrise
    oranges the size of grapefruit to pick . . . and eat . . . slurp!
    wise old moon winking through gathering storm clouds
7. 3 gifts red
    my dream car that I get to drive every day
    delicious red bell pepper
    apples, Braeburn and Jonagold
8. a gift broken--my left knee (not actually broken, but certainly not a happy knee-a gift nonetheless)
     a gift fixed--dishwasher working like it should again after running a little CLR through it
     a gift thrifted--Drummer Boy's 1980's karaoke machine from the Goodwill store that he thinks is a better guitar amp than the one he has and with which he is going to rescue my old cassette tapes!
9. 3 gifts that were surprises--unexpected grace
      the child-hearted fun of stepping on the gas through a big puddle just to make a huge splash!
      help for my knee
      unexpectedly getting a day at home that I desperately needed!
10. 3 times you heard laughter today
      4:15 AM and Hero Husband getting a good laugh out of Drummer Boy's understandable disorientation at having to get up for work so early
     Tickling battles with She So Sweet
     Drummer Boy in unbridled joy at finally having the majority of his gear for his recording studio!
11. 3 gifts found in working
      checking accomplishments off on the to do list
      built in exercise

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