He was ready. His backpack was ready, his outfit was dapper and he greeted the bus with and enthusiastic smile. The doors opened to the sound of a hiss and I watch Jon take a large lunge toward the bus… only to lose his balance on the curb and come crashing face first into the large, ribbed stair chin first. I chuckled and checked for blood. He whimpered, finished the climb and found his seat. “Rough starts happen, Buddy. You can still have a great day. I love you!” I shook my head with a smile and thought, “Yep, that’s my kid.”
I have evaluated my boys’ progress this week because professional evaluations have come home. It has been a mixed bag. On one hand, capabilities were judged harshly. There was a great rising in my spirit to say that yes, when you compare the performances to ‘typical’ kids, mine fall short. However, there is great progress! They are moving forward!
I sometimes wonder if God watches me get prepared and eager to go, only to fall on my face. My kid recovers faster than I do, sometimes! It is always hard when others evaluate your child. Assessments are one part of the puzzle and it is good to look at progress and areas of weakness. It is also good to balance it out with celebration. Grace and truth must to hand-in-hand. It is one thing to point out where I fall. It is another entirely to point out when my children fall.
I find that God does the same thing. The Bible shows us where he chastises, instructs, guides, and disciplines his kids. He gets a bit wrathful with disobedience too, as it turns out. Jesus did turn water into wine when his mom asked… I’m just saying. Still, when others messed with God’s children- Israelites and Church- it was ON. The goal was always to guide and love toward perfection and holiness while being fully present and understanding of where they were in the moment.
Today I had an encouraging friend with superb timing knock on the door with ice cream. Sometimes that helps when gravity knocks us down. She could have hit me in the head with an apple a la Isaac Newton, so I will take ice cream. That is the key. You find your people who can coach and encourage, speaking truth and love.
Take King David as an example. There are those who love to focus on his defeat of Goliath, authenticity before the Lord, leadership, and preparation for restoring the temple and Israel to glory. Then there are those who can’t get past the adultery, murder, parenting failures and wavering spirit. The key is to see both. Humans are messy, friends. It can be both/and. That is how God sees us. That is how I am learning to see my children.
As Jonathan and I say every night, “God never gives up on us, so we never, ever give up.”
Get up. Admit that it hurt. Find your tribe and keep climbing. Pray about it. After all, God is a parent too.