It’s homecoming in Texas! And for you coastals, yankees, and otherwise normal humans…it’s a thing. And I’m not saying it’s a good thing. I’m just saying, it’s a thing. It has its own mood, its own social protocols. Its own aisle at Hobby Lobby.
I now have two children in our local public high school. So, we are knee deep in all the things. Some of you may remember that my youngest changed schools right before the school year started in August. You can read about that here: To School or Not To School…That’s Not Really the Question. – Hey Salty Lady
Our freshmen daughter felt the Lord calling her to change schools. And so she did. Because that’s how obedience works. I know “She felt the Lord call her to a hard thing and so she surrendered to it,” is less fun and visually appealing than “She believed she could, so she did,” Nonetheless, it is the better way. Even when you are not tasting the good fruit of said surrender yet.
Y’all, my girl is not tasting the good fruit of obedience–yet. Or at least not in abundance. Or in the ways she hoped to. Oh, there is fruit all right. I definitely see it and am working overtime to point it out. But it’s like having a girl who really loves and wants strawberries and bananas for her “good fruit” smoothie and constantly handing her horned melon. Or tomatoes.
Berk is praying for community and connection and the Lord is providing strength in isolation. Berk is praying for a place to belong and serve and the Lord is providing anonymity and humility. Fruit for sure. But not the taste we crave.
Can anyone else relate? Either for yourself or your kiddos? I sure can. I have written entire chapters of books on it–The Suck and Solitude of Godly Living. It’s a thing too. It does not come with parades or mums. Friend, if no one has told you, allow me.
Obedience does not guarantee comfort or community as you walk it out.
In fact, it often precludes those and other lovely things. As adults, we eventually come to realize and accept that for ourselves (or grow deeply bitter.) But when it’s our kids walking through the wilderness, not of sin but sanctifying surrender? It’s killer. Just killer.
I think back to how many times I’ve scoffed at the foolishness of my ancient friends in Scripture and their feeble efforts to shield their children from hard things or wept over the faith of Abraham when he didn’t.
I like to talk tough but kid, nine times out of ten if I could spare my children disappointment or hurt I would and only the Lord could stop me. And in His kindness this week, He did stop me.
Since August, we have processed the good and the bad, the highs and lows… the progress in this area and the defeat in that area. We have come up with strategies for lonely lunches, for making rejection a game…see how many times you can ask to sit with someone in a day… at three no’s we get ice cream. At five? Pedicures! Woohoo!
Some days the high spots are harder to find than others. On one such day, the thought of dressing up for homecoming seemed to be a good distraction. Coming out of private school this was a new experience entirely. It gave us something to focus on for a few weeks. It gave us tasks… find a dress, find the shoes, etc. It gave us a goal that seemed to make the days go by faster. And at this point, we will take it! It may not be the desired fruit, but it was a sweetener to the bitter fruit for sure.
But on every outing, in every dressing room, I continually prayed, “Lord, please don’t let us get to homecoming without a friend or a plan.” I considered requiring my son to take his sister as a date, but ultimately realized that would be unfair. And weird.
Last week, I realized we may indeed make it to homecoming without having a buddy to go with or a group to glean to. And not because we weren’t trying to find one but because the Lord wasn’t allowing it. What do you do when the Lord does not make a stream in your desert? Well, the options are lay down and die (I’m not partial to this one), wander off in search of lesser sources (not a fan of this one either), or trust that He will sustain and His grace will be sufficient. We went with option three. And a fabulous dress.
Y’all, I would give a pep talk on how great it was gonna be…and then go cry in my bathroom. I would talk about hair and make-up ideas and then take a drink quickly so Berk didn’t see my lower lip tremble. And Berk did the same. We were brave for each other. On Friday before the football game, we made our own game plan. It’s one I know well. It has been tried and true for me.
- Smile. A lot.
- Give compliments. A lot…whether you know that person or not, find a fit you like and go tell that person how amazing they look. Find a fit you don’t, but the face that needs a smile…and go tell that person how amazing they look.
- Be on your way somewhere. If you see someone you know, go say “hello,” if they don’t seem to make a spot for you in their conversation, shake the dust off and excuse yourself to go do some imaginary task or find some imaginary person.
- Fill the cups. Not every event fills our social or emotional needs cup. But every event is an opportunity to fill the cups of others. Be busy doing that.
- Move about the cabin. There’s no need to stand still or shrink into the wall. Get out there. Subdue the land. Know where things are. Observe. Appreciate beauty if there is any to behold.
Saturday came. HoCo would be solo. We cranked up the Taylor Swift, we did the hair and make-up. We practiced walking in the shoes and sitting in a cocktail dress (don’t even get me started on the state of fashion for young people). The only thing I could promise my girl was that the Lord was with her and if nothing else she would be satisfied with having done something so hard. She never considered not going, though the whole way there I could hear her in the back seat saying, “I can’t believe I am going by myself.” Honey, I can’t either. I cried the second we pulled away.
A: because I was so worried for her. B: Because I was so proud of her. C: because her brother was waiting at the curb to take a picture and walk her in the door. Brothers are the best.
She looked beautiful. She stayed the whole time. She wore her shoes the entire time. She made one potential friend. She left glad she went and with more confidence than she had upon arrival. SCORE!!!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner. He is Lord over ALL. Even homecoming. See more about that here: HoCo Solo
Did Berk’s social situation change at 10pm? Nope. Was there a fairy tale ending that made it worthwhile. Not really. Did God prove Himself near and steadfast? Yes!! Was reassurance and hope gained in the hard things? Yes!! What better things to gain anyway! What gloriously good things I would have robbed my girl of if I had dangled some distraction or manifested some manufactured but shoddy solution. Such regret I was spared.