Big girl - Big life

This sweet child is half caught in my memory as a confident, sparkly imp who scrunched up her eyes when she smiled - but the other half of her on the threshold of her intermediate years, is troubled and serious, tears coursing down her face for days in a row. Wearing optimism like a banner, this intelligent, sweet-natured girl stepped into the unknown of a new school on Tuesday. But she was back home by lunchtime, in her bed, wracked by convulsive sobs. What a shock it all was for her. To walk unerringly, with integrity and courage into a hostile and unfamilar environment shattered her. She fell hard, feeling sick to her gut and ran to the only safe place she knows, our arms. The absence of friends and a teacher devoid of empathy was enough to scuttle the bravery and replace it with the the sense of how very large the world is and how small she in fact is.

It has been a stretching time. For her, to see how only God can rescue us and how in fact, these times bring us to a place of understanding other's pain in a valuable way. For me, watching her temporarily shrink and withdraw while she processes her new position, the week has been poignant and bittersweet. For in as much as while I watch her grieve her old life, I realise that she will become established soon enough, and that will be the beginning of the end of her childhood. She is learning to become a leader, learning to manage herself and apply herself to the values of character and academic achievement. I want to rush in with rescue arms of nuture, and tuck her into the cottonwool of my love, but we choose the bracing and very challenge style of 'white water parenting', releasing her enough to experience things for herself. It is like freefalling in trust. I believe children are pure blessings from the lap of God. For me to actually walk that out and not be the ever-present voice of reason and guidance in her world actually robs me of comfort. I want to shield, protect and snuggle my children into idyllic nests of complete dependance, but more than that I want not to need them in order to survive. I want to be strong enough to let them fall and hurt and grow without directing their every step. I want them to have the opportunity to rise up in their spirits against the challenges they face. I want to learn from them. I want them to never be afraid of real life and how things are not as easy as we think they ought to be and that that's okay.

I fold her into my embrace at night time and pray over her. She rests her blonde head on my shoulder and I can feel the tears dripping through my tee-shirt. I am gripped by the overwhelming urge to be her warrior. But I stifle it, and together we creep in humility before God and give the situation to Him, the good, the bad and the ugly, and I walk in complete blind trust that nothing is ever, ever, ever, wasted in Him. He will turn this heart-wrenching start into good for His purpose.

In the meantime, more chocolate, hot milos and backrubs, nods, murmurs and cherishing. More quotes written on the fridge door about courage. More celebrating on the weekends that she has seen off a whole week. And more thanks to our Creator for letting us learn, and trip up and keep on going. It is not easy to let those you love learn like this.

Hope your Fridays are all full of joy and that the weekend finds you all embracing celebration and rest.

Gail  – (February 5, 2010 at 3:56 PM)  

So well put Amy.
My heart breaks just knowing we will probably one day have to paddle down the same or similar river.
I've kept her in my prayers..... I hope this weekend is one of "just being". God has gone ahead into the next week, month, year....xx

Simoney  – (February 5, 2010 at 10:46 PM)  

Oh man, Amy. Tears are pricking reading this, and remembering TOO WELL those feelings starting Intermediate school in a new town, with a very unsympathetic teacher as well.
She is (wow) so blessed to have a mum like you to be there for her as you are.
I pray that things get brighter for her very quickly.

Sammy  – (February 6, 2010 at 8:24 AM)  

I remember those feelings so well! Hope that this weekend restores her and refreshes her soul xxx

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