On Mother’s Day, my daughters presented their handmade creations: An ice cream cone picture with six adjectives to describe their sweet momma and a worksheet with “Facts About My Mom.”
Mostly as various moms posted their own kids’ responses to similar projects on Facebook, we laughed over the outrageous things kids say about us.
Like when they get our names wrong (!!!) or guess that we’re either 15 years old or 100.
But I opened the handmade gifts on Mother’s Day and didn’t read silly, mistaken or perhaps outrageously funny comments from my kids.
Somehow my daughters got it right.
Sweetly right, but maybe painfully right, too.
(Well, other than the “fact” that I’m probably 20 feet tall and probably weigh 45 pounds. That’s a little off.)
Yet there were other “facts,” too.
There was the objective data, of course. Adjectives to describe her mom? “Married” and “pregnant” made it on the list. Undeniable truth.
My other girl included “musical, gardener…..and competitive.”
What second grader diagnoses her mom as “competitive?” My girl. The one who has heard me apologize for my struggle to her face, and the one I held close while confessing how wrong I was to fret and worry over foolish competitions and how sorry I was that I ever put even one ounce of pressure on her shoulders when I’m so proud of her just as she is.
What does your mom like to wear? Pants and a sweater.
Simple and sweet truth-telling right there. Those are my happy clothes.
What is something your mom always says? Do your homework. Play piano. Hurry up. Go to bed.
Oh, here I pause. Because last year on this same little assignment, she wrote that her mom always says, “I love you.” And now here it is in pencil on paper, how I’m always giving instructions, always directing, always focused on getting those daily tasks done. Why is it so hard to make the words, “I love you” ring truer and louder than the drill sergeant commands of everyday necessity?
What makes your mom mad? When everything is out of control and no one listens.
When everything is out of control…..
Yes. Isn’t that what smashes down all of my hold-it-together personal strength? Isn’t it what makes me grumpy, short-tempered and anxious?
When I feel like I’ve lost control so therefore there must be no control, always forgetting that God is in control…. yes, that’s what makes me “mad.” That’s what God uses to plow right through my heart and break up all of that well-tended ground covering over my insecurities and my deep-down sin attitudes and misplaced trust.
Second graders can be so wise at times.
But I wonder, given a worksheet like this, what would I say about God?
Would I get the “facts” right and answer the questions correctly? Not giving the dictionary facts or the Bible study answers. Not the good church girl responses or the pat Christian phrases that tie Mighty God up in neatly packaged paper with a perfect bow on top.
No: Would I know Him? Would I know His heart? What makes Him happy? What makes Him mad? What do I love about Him the most and why is He the perfect Father for me?
Or would I get it all wrong?
In the book of Job, one man lost family, friends, servants, status in the community, riches, property, and physical health. And without sinning, he questioned God. Why this seeming injustice, he wondered, why this tragedy and pain for a righteous man?
Job wants to call God into court and question Him on the witness stand.
Yet, God remains silent. He waits. He listens and doesn’t answer. Finally, after almost 40 chapters of Scripture, God speaks.
In her book Wonderstruck, Margaret Feinberg writes,
Instead of focusing on the Why’s of our life circumstances, God calls our attention back to Him and reminds us of the Who that controls everything (p. 37).
It isn’t until the taking away, the sorrow, the mourning and the grief that Job doesn’t just know about God; He knows Who God is.
And that is enough.
Job says, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you” (Job 42:1). Yes, now he knew, not about God, but now He had seen God with his own eyes (Job 42:5).
Intimacy in silence. Intimacy in the listening, the waiting, the mourning. That’s how we know Him, too.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King