Last week my daughter, Summer Grace, stayed home from school sick. That evening, I went into her room for our nightly reading together. Before we began to read, she began to cry. Big tears. Breaking my heart tears. She did not want to go to school the next day. You see, Summer Grace is my homegirl. Meaning she is my girl who loves being at home. Home is her safe place. And she prefers her adventures in safety! 😉
So I knew this day at home, in the middle of the week, had really thrown her heart around in her chest. Causing anxiety about having to go back. Having to give up her safe spot.
So I let her cry. I hugged her. I stroked her hair. And then I asked her why?
The reasons poured out.
- She was bullied.
- She felt like a nobody there.
- She was scared of failing a test.
- She was scared of failing Second Grade.
- She was scared of disappointing me with her grades.
WoW. That is so much baggage for a little girl to carry around in her heart. 😦 Where do I start, I thought? every single reason was scary enough on their own.
I knew about the bullying. And I felt like the “nobody” comment stemmed from that issue. So I decided to tackle this one first.
“Never think of yourself as a nobody. God created you. And that alone makes you somebody so special. Look at your human body, how complex it all is. God spent alot of time creating you. He put alot of thought and detail into you. You are no accident and you will never, ever be a nobody. If someone calls you a name or says mean things about you, that DOES NOT make those things true. You are in charge of who you are, no one else can make you into something.”
Pretty good stuff, right? Yep, I won’t take credit for it. Somehow God put those words into my mouth at just the right time.
Now it was time to tackle the school work stress. The six weeks had just ended, so she had just went through Math benchmark testing, reading, and spelling tests the week before. So this was a fresh stress.
When we began talking about this stress, it quickly became clear that her main concern was disappointing me with a bad grade or failing Second Grade. (I am not sure why she is so concerned with failing a grade? Maybe she heard some kids talking about it at school.)
Apparently she had overheard Kamryn (my oldest daughter) and I discussing her math grade. At the half-way point of this last six weeks, it was shown that Kamryn needed to drastically improve her math score. Kamryn and I had discussed ways for her to do this (turning in extra work, asking for tutoring, etc). Apparently Summer Grace overheard this conversation, and to her little ears and her sensitive heart, the worry set in for her.
At this point I just really hugged her. She was crying very hard, telling me all these things. This was a heavy burden for her. Then I said to her:
“I am so sorry I ever made you feel like your grades were that important to me. If you ever make a bad grade or even fail a grade, I will still ALWAYS love you. Nothing will ever take my love away from you. I know you will always do your best in school. And Summer Grace, when you go to heaven, do you really think God is going to ask you about your math grades?
“Exactly! Absolutely NOT! The only thing God is concerned about is your heart. And so that is what is most important to me too!”
Then we talked about how God has a BIG plan for Summer Grace’s life. God’s plan is different for each person. For me, His BIG plan is to be a mommy who stays home. And while that may not seem like much to some, it is BIG for me and my flock of little people that God has entrusted me with. For Summer Grace, His plan might be that too! Or it may be a doctor, a lawyer, a missionary.
And I continued with these words (again, God placed these words on my heart):
“And so when things are going wrong in your life, God sees the whole picture, His whole plan for you. He knows you are having a tough time. And He will use these hard times to build you into that person He needs you to be for your life plan. And whatever His plan is for you, it is BIG because it is His plan. And so always remember, you are a somebody and you are God’s!”
Then we got to reading. We always start with her bible story. My sister from Missouri bought her a beautiful little children’s bible called The Jesus Storybook Bible. And it just so happened this night’s story was on Joseph, the favored son of Jacob who had the rainbow coat and the prophetic dreams that drove his 12 brothers into an evil jealousy. We got to the part of the story where the brothers sold Joseph into slavery (how scared Joseph must have been!) and the story read:
That’s the end of that dreamer! they thought. But they were wrong. God had a magnificent dream for Joseph’s life and even when it looked like everything had gone wrong, God would use everything that was happening to Joseph to do something good.”
I just paused. Speechless.
It was such a God Moment.
Summer Grace even, on her own, saw the connection between what I just read to her and what we had just talked about.
It was an amazing, beautiful, miraculous moment.
It was BIG!
Isn’t it something? God knew I was going to read that particular story that evening, even though I had no idea. And God knew the burdens on Summer Grace’s heart.
It could have been so easy for me to just shrug her crying off, telling her “you have to go to school tomorrow, there is no point in crying about it.” That would have been the easy and fastest route to go. And you better believe it crossed my mind!
But instead, I paused and embraced her moment, walked her through it, talked her through it. We just have to remember to embrace moments. Don’t rush over them, so busy with life. Because you never know what God has coming around your corner. He can orchestrate the most beautiful moments, so perfectly, and so unexpectedly. But first we have to be willing to live in the moment, not rush through it.
Are you worried you won’t know what to say in such moments? Just live your life focused on God everyday, as best as you can with constant prayer and growth in His word, and when those moments arrive, God will put the words into your heart. He will guide you through the moment.
Because He can turn little tears into a big moment. And you don’t want to miss that!
Summer Grace and I, in 2005 at the National Seashore in Corpus Christi, TX