My son woke up crying. The transition from winter break to school hasn't been an easy one for him. He's the type of kid who loves having a set schedule. He even asks me exactly how much iPad time he can have each day and rations it out. "I still have 11 minutes and 45 seconds."
He needs to know everything in advance which is wild considering the type of mom he has. When I think about going to the grocery store, the idea pops into my head, and I grab my purse and go. He needs three days written, notarized notice or he kinda falls apart.
I sympathize with him because I like information, but am not quite as rigid.
This is day two of school being back in session after Christmas break and he woke up at 5:50am in a state. Again, I don't want to sound like a mean mother, I sympathized, put on that song "Sound Mind" to try and set the mood for getting one's act together, and spoke gently, but even after all these years parenting there's something about a meltdown before the sun rises that sets me on edge.
It's like someone is taking a wire stripper to your nerves. But you take deep breathes and do your best not to scar your kid for life by saying the wrong thing.
We got to school. We did it. He ate a bag of Cheerios in the car because there wasn't time for anything else. But we made it.
Later that morning, I had a meeting with the dean of the school I'll be taking at classes at soon.
And much like my son had been only hours before, I was in a state. You see, going to school wasn't part of my original plan for 2023. I finally just finished my university degree in the summer of 2022 and was very happy. I felt complete.
But you know when God starts talking to you? Telling you to do things, or that something is for you?
I'd tossed around the idea of more school before but really I was joking. And even if I was going to do more school it was a "one day" type of thing not February 2023. Not when I have so many plans for so many books and the laundry is still bullying me every single day of my life. I just got a dishwasher and don't now how to use it yet. Not now.
Several weeks ago, though, He did say now.
I'm not proud of it, but when God tells me something I don't feel sure about my first instinct is to pretend not to hear Him, then I just dive right into ignoring what I know deep down to be true.
So I waffled and went back and forth, driving myself and probably everyone involved in the decision making process crazy until I went in today and wrote the final check.
Why was it so hard to just say ok?
Obedience is one of those dirty words people like me don't like to think much about. "God is love," yes, but even parents need and expect their kids to listen to them. Disobedience can be deadly when raising children.
"Don't run in the street." "Don't go into that house."
The times a loving, trustworthy parent asks their child to obey isn't about them being an overbearing authoritarian, it's about protecting them, keeping them on the right path and helping them grow into the best person they can be.
Is it possible to love God and not make obedience a priority? Obviously not. I threw my own temper tantrum and had a week's long internal and external meltdown about plans because I didn't anticipate or understand them. I couldn't make complete sense out of them. I couldn't see what it would be like, I still can't. Who all will be there? How will I handle it when I'm only kinda handling things now? And why exactly?
I really do love maps and wanted to see one.
All I kept hearing was"Go." Not a map in sight.
When I was talking to the dean today, she told me if I knew everything, it wouldn't require any faith.
God has done so many miracles in my life, saved me from so many things, He's proved Himself trustworthy and worthy of my faith over and over even though He does not have to do that, so why do I withhold it?
It took me awhile, but I said yes. There were tears. Anger. Unlike my son, I do deep down want to go to school, but also wanted more information and control before I was willing to say yes. I wanted to be God of my decision.
The whole time I was going back and forth, God didn't stop talking gently to me, as a Father does to His child. He showed me an image of two people riding a horse, both trying to be up front and how silly it looked. He showed me two people trying to drive the same car.
Another thing I noticed is that the weeks between my knowing and my yes were extremely turbulent in many ways. Not at first, but the longer I took to align myself with the One I claim to love and follow, it was almost as if that state of rebellion opened me up to steadily increasing darkness.
It's hard to explain, but it felt like as I chose to let go of His hand, I wandered into the woods. He came with me, but it wasn't a place I'd like to return.
It reminded me of when Saul disobeyed God and then tried to make excuses. Samuel the prophet checked him with a quickness. "To obey is better than sacrifice." He goes on to tell him what rebellion really is to God and in the spiritual. It explains why I felt opened up to so much turmoil.
I love being close to God. He brings His own climate and scenery no matter where we are. He brings music. Peace. He's His own atmosphere and the more time I spend with Him, being His child, the harder it is to breathe anywhere else.
Disobedience felt like being under water and although I could hear His voice, it sounded farther away, not because He'd walked away, but because I'd taken steps in my own direction.
The culture today says, "Do you," but walking alongside Jesus means holding hands and letting Him lead. I'm still getting used to that. It's usually fine in the meadows but I notice during transitions, I'm nine years old and it's the first day of school after a long break.
Thankfully He doesn't leave.
One thing He told me during the time I was mad at Him for wanting me to do something deeply uncomfortable and unpredictable was that He has angels to command. He's has no shortage of beings who will do what He says when He says it.
With us, yes, He wants to lead because He knows the way and sees things we don't, but not just as in a captain leading a recruit.
It's more intimate than that. He wants to lead the way one person does when you dance.
When two people dance, one leads one follows. You hear the same music, but one person sets the tone, movement, and changes. He showed me two people dancing, one leading, and how beautiful it was.
He's not a despot in the sky. He wants closeness, and to accomplish things together with rhythm and time. I know Jesus has that with God the Father. They share it so closely they're One. Often in reading the New Testament there seems to be this longing Jesus seems to have to return to Him and I understand why. He really doesn't like to be away long.
So in conclusion, I'm in school. I stumbled out of the wood with a skinned knee, ripped t-shirt, dirt on my face, few twigs in my hair from the truly fruitless side quest but He was there, still looking at me with love in His eyes, "You good?" I nod and take His hand again and we walk again.
I hope you have a good day. Listen to Him and do what He says. He's trustworthy. Keep the leaves out of your hair.