My memories of high school are a mix of the horrible, the not-as-horrible, and unwanted realizations. The day I got accepted into the student government and elected in charge of the homecoming parade was the day I thought “I’ve made it. I’m finally part of the it crowd.”
Not so much.
Fears of still not being accepted by everyone – the punks, the skaters, the hippies, the cheerleaders, the debate team, the bug nerds – I wanted to belong so badly I tried to fit myself into every group. To this day I don’t think anyone from my high school knows the real me and I, myself am still discovering her.
There was a girl in my high school that had a grace unlike anyone I knew. She was soft-spoken, a unique soul and well liked. She carried her Bible with her to every class, reading it anytime we had to sit and wait for a teacher to arrive. I still think about how amazing it must have been to be so free and possess a faith so convicting as to carry a Bible in a public school. This was back in the late 90’s. Kids today have it even harder, yet some still find a way to inspire.
At our little church there is a teenager that Sunday after Sunday brings me to tears. When the music plays and the worship begins she is there whole heartedly. She isn’t off thinking about boys, quietly playing on her cell phone, or even yawning. Not even close! She stands there swaying her body to the music, lifting her hands high to heaven and last Sunday, was even down on her knees with her head bowed and hands raised high. I’ve shared with her before how her openness is a true blessing.
As a mother I’m always worried about the four boys, laundry, homework, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sunscreen, bundling up, bullies, and the list goes on and on. Often I completely neglect to eat or find I’m doing the potty dance because I have been so busy I haven’t even used the little girls room all day. I know you’ve been there too! Stomach growling you retreat to the bathroom for a moment of quiet and it doesn’t come because someone has followed you to tell you about who hit whom or to ask about the next meal of the day even though they just got done eating thirty seconds prior.
A few weeks ago I focused on those raised hands of inspiration. I closed my eyes as we sang song after beautiful song. Then it happened. I felt my arm being pulled upward. Palms outstretched, my hand was now raised to heaven. In that moment it was about two people – myself and my Heavenly Father. There were no endless piles of laundry. The thoughts on what should I make for lunch were gone. Even the fidgets of the boys were stilled in the moment. Unmistakable amazing grace bathed me completely from the inside out.
In the car on the way home the boys asked why I raised my hand during church. It was a great opportunity to share with them how people worship differently and how I was allowing God to take all of my worries and scared feelings away and give me only happy thoughts. It was more then a raised hand. It was an opening to my boys hearts.
It was that evening as I was sitting and thinking about all that I place before what we are called to do that it hit me. How can I be a witness to my boys when I don’t even make time to allow God in? How can I teach the boys to allow God to guide their lives when I sit here worried and fretting over so many mundane things?
God has called us to do two things in life 1) to know Him 2) to tell others about Him.
How can I do the second when I haven’t even fully grasped the first? It’s like putting laundry away and skipping the washing machine. I’m dirty and broken and I need to know Him before I can let others know Him, as they’ll know Him through me. The words from my tongue, my reactions and even the little praises like a raised hand–those are what will truly allow others to see Him.
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” John 5:44 ESV
Mom, I hear you.
I am walking with you and I feel the heavy weight upon your shoulders. The day slips by and suddenly night has fallen and our eyes burn with exhaustion. We need our Lord and Savior. We need to prepare ourselves with His Word and Truth. We need to commit His Word to memory and call upon it in times of desperation. There is no greater need than this. His Word is our oxygen – without which we cannot live. Just like on the airplane where you are directed to put your oxygen mask on before assisting others – we need His Word. It’s when we make it a want that amazing things begin to happen.
“How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.” Psalm 119: 9-16 The Message
My challenge to you – and myself – is to want to fill your heart and soul with His Word and amazing Truth. To want Him just like a need – stronger than the need for oxygen; to be free and raise your hand to heaven and allow Him to cover you with His everlasting love. For when we do this we are ready to share God’s love with our children. We are ready to meet their spiritual needs just as we tend to their physical ones.
Alaina Frederick is a mother of four boys. She is a woman on a journey to be fully consumed by God. Afflicted with an illness called Trichotillomania, Alaina is learning the true beauty of what God can do with the ashes of life. Alaina’s ministry, Amazingly Broken, creates a safe place where the broken and scarred can join together in their grief, and rejoice in the wholeness that only God provides.