(So I wrote the above paragraph last night along with a bunch of notes that I'll now try and make sense of to compose the rest of this...)
Do you ever find yourself just completely knocked over with a sense of God's pleasure? Like God is just reaching down from Heaven, wrapping His arms around you an squeezing the life out of you in the best possible way. Not because of anything you've done or said or successfully completed, but just because. Because you are His and He loves you far beyond any earthly parental love. Because, most of all, He, more than anyone else, knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
Lately these moments have happened for me in the midst of complete chaos. At times when I'm literally running myself ragged with not a second to process anything (and believe me, my sweet husband will attest to the fact that I need WAY more than a second...). It's like God reaches down from Heaven, puts His hand under my chin, just the way you would with a 2 year old who's eyes you want to meet, and says,
"Look how I am caring specifically for you! I'VE. GOT. THIS."
He is aware of every lost hour of sleep, every second, minute, hour spent fretting over circumstances far out of my control (but thankfully not out of His), and not only is He aware, but, as Peter so eloquently put it, He cares for me! (1 Peter 5:7). AND He goes out of His way to show me. Time after time after time. And every time I am totally overcome by a sense of gratitude and thankfulness and complete unworthiness that the God of the universe would take even half of a millisecond to love on me. But He does. And He will continue to. And it is that knowledge that allows me on the hardest of days to simply put one foot in front of the other and do the next thing.
So tonight as I washed my face (well last night I guess since my Benadryl stupor took over and I didn't finish this post), all of these I'VE GOT THIS moments that God has given me lately came rushing back to me as I reflected over the last few weeks/months and the chaos that has been our lives. I've been overwhelmed by the number of emails from acquaintances and friends that said God put you on my heart TODAY and I prayed this for you. Perfectly timed emails on days of high stress and worry. God lifting up my chin, "I'm in control, child, I'VE GOT THIS". But the worry doesn't stop. At least if you're me. (or one of my daughters, I'm discovering). That's just how I'm wired. I worry. I just do. I'm kind of good at it, actually. Pretty sure that's not something to brag about, but it's simple fact. Anyone who knows me even a little can attest to it.
When I was little I worried that I was going to get bitten by a brown recluse spider and die.
Then I worried that someone I loved might get bitten by a brown recluse spider and die.
Then I went to nursing school and in my first nursing clinical, I helped clean the wound of a 400 pound firefighter who had gotten bitten by a brown recluse spider. He didn't die.
(but I fainted)
When I was in 6th grade, I worried that I was going to get leukemia and die. Actually, what I really worried was that I already had leukemia and my parents weren't telling me because they didn't want me to be sad that I was dying... (no, I'm not kidding). This worry may or may not have been caused by a book I read called "Too Young to Die" about a young girl with leukemia....
Then my sweet husband was diagnosed with cancer as a 27 year old. God took that lifelong cancer worry and placed it right in my lap and lifted my chin and said,
"I'VE GOT THIS"
Truly this only begans to scratch the surface of my life long history of worry, but I digress, that is not the point of this post- I'll save that one for another day...
Anyway, you get the picture, I worry.... A LOT. So it shouldn't surprise you at all to hear that my girls are top of my list of things to worry about. Maybe worry isn't the best word choice here. The Bible does, after all, tell us not to do this. But we do, or at least I do. Because I'm human, and not only that, I'm female, and I therefore tend to forget that I am not, in fact, in control of all things and then I start to worry. I guess those are the moments when God looks down and sees that I need those holy reminders of Who is actually in charge. Those arms reach down from heaven and hug, and that hand lifts my chin and reminds me to keep my eyes on Him as He says in one way or another,
"Child, I'VE GOT THIS TOO. EVEN THIS"
So in the back of my mind all summer long has been an undercurrent of worry about my girls education. More than I realized I think. My sweet girls have been in numerous schooling situations- French national school, private Christain school, homeschool, private Christian school again, private Jordanian school..." It's a long list. Some situations have obviously been more ideal than others, but each situation has been carefully prayed through and yes, worried over. We knew back in May that the girls would be changing schools. We prayed about it, felt Spirit led in the decision, received confirmation from the Lord in our decision, yet somehow when Jason would ask me how I was feeling about the school thing, my oh so positive answer would vary from "bad" to "awful" to "very worried". Positivity at it's best, people. I am generally not a negative person but when it comes to their schooling and possible mistakes I've made along the way, it's doomsday in my head I tell you.
So as the girls have started school this week, I've realized just how worried I had become over yet another new situation for them academically. I don't think I realized how determined I was back in the recesses of my mind that there was no way this could possibly be a good thing. I have, after all, ruined them for life with all of the school hopping and there is no way they will ever recover.
"I've got this,
and that over there,
and that little situation over there. Got that one too"
Abbey and Maddie have amazed me. I've seen them jump boldly into new and unknown situations that would have scared me to death at their age. They tell me of the questions they raised in their classes that show cultural understanding and emotional intelligence well beyond their years. They both show an inner confidence in who they are in Jesus as opposed to being fearful of doing or saying the wrong thing in a new and unknown situation. Just this week they have prayed with and for non-believing friends. They have contributed to our house group's Bible study in a way that challenged my thinking and made me think of my Creator in new and amazing ways.
And Naomi. My sweet little wild card. That's how I described her on Facebook this week as I awaited her return on the bus that first day since I never really have any idea of how she will respond in a given situation. I've been most concerned about her in this new school setting. She is fully immersed in arabic and sort of has been for the last 2 years but not in the best environment. She's a little behind in her English reading as she is learning to read and write in Arabic at the same time, so, as you can imagine, my worries have been numerous. Have I missed her up? Is she missing out? etc etc etc...
But I came home last night from her parent teacher meeting and that's really what started this whole train of thought. I wept as I left that meeting having heard her teachers' words. These ladies have been Naomi's teachers for 1 week. That's all. As I visited with them, one after another they told me how they had been amazed at Naomi's adaptability in the classroom. The told me of her sweet spirit. How she jumps in and volunteers and helps other students with things they don't understand in English. She raises her hand to contribute in class. She reads along with the class, out loud in Arabic. Yesterday, she read out loud BY HERSELF in Arabic. She is doing it. She is ok. She is more than ok. She is His and is filled with Him and He is guiding her and leading her when I am not there. And He gently lifts my chin, wraps His arms around me and says,
"My child, I have been telling you all along that I'VE GOT THIS."
My heart overflows...
"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young."