Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: God encourages us to experience life at new levels
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|God encourages us to experience life at new levels|
A few weeks ago our church distributed prayer bracelets; each with a child's name and the school they are attending.
I put my bracelet around the steer shift of my car. I am amazed at what this simple yellow bracelet offers my morning. Not only does it remind me to pray for a certain child and her school, it also reminds me of the school zone's speed limit. (I consider that a "win-win" situation.) Some mornings my daily "to-do" list and the "don't forget" lists can sometime seem a bit overwhelming. Seeing that child's name reminds me not to get so bogged down with the daily agenda that I miss the wonder and opportunity the day will offer.
Several years ago I faced a day like I had never faced. It seemed to throw me into a direction I wasn't expecting. I remember feeling alone and somewhat forsaken. I knew that God loved me and would always be with me, but I couldn't help but wonder why I had to face such a time as this in my life.
My thoughts went back to my first day of school. I can remember how excited I was about buying the new school clothes, picking out my book satchel and my lunch box (with the matching thermos.) I was so proud of my Big Chief Notebook and the three fat pencils my mom helped me select. There were crayons, construction paper and a bottle of Elmer's glue and even a package of modeling clay. I was so excited about the opportunity to learn to read and write, to learn to add and subtract, and to learn about the colors that were beyond my box of eight.
Finally the big day arrived. I can remember driving up to the school. All of a sudden the building looked much larger than before. I remember hesitating as my mom walked me down that hall. It seemed to go on and on. I can still hear the echo of her heels. As my eyes filled with tears, I asked her to carry me. She refused. Instead she reminded me of the wonderful friends I would make. I didn't want new friends. I didn't want to learn. I only wanted to go home, eat cookies and watch Captain Kangaroo.
I wondered why this Mother who loved me could do such a thing. She left me there — all day — with total strangers! It didn't matter how I begged, how I bargained, or how I clung to her. It was as though she had turned her back on me when I needed her most.
I never fully understood her heart until I dropped my son off at school for the first time. He wasn't quite as theatrical as I, but he was a bit apprehensive. As my mom did for me, I reminded him of all the wonderful things he would learn and experience.
As I thought about the transition my life was taking, I couldn't help but consider that God was not abandoning me or punishing me. Instead, he was encouraging me to learn and to experience life at a new level. As I look back on that moment several years ago, I must admit, I have learned to recognize the blessings that have been added to my life and the struggles that have been subtracted. I have learned how true friendship can add vibrant color to a gray moment.
Any loving parent will encourage a child to learn and to grow. Any loving parent will teach a child to work for the answer. Any loving parent will realize that scraped knees and hurt feelings are a part of growing up. Just as my mom was waiting to pick me up from school and to hear all about my day, our Heavenly Father is anxious to share in our lives on a daily basis. I'm thankful that she taught me that even though she would leave me from time to time, my Heavenly Father would not.
"See how much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1
Jo Ann Cooper is a United Methodist pastor of the LA Conference.