Last night I sat in my family room watching a movie with my three younger daughters. This movie night was instigated at the request of Compassion. My second oldest child and currently the ruler of the sibling roost now that Faith is in her junior year of college and living in the dorms two hours away from home. Compassion chose the movie, a decade old princess story where traditions are abolished and a girl finds her strength and independence within herself. That is where Compassion is right now, finding herself and her role in God’s Kingdom. High School is an exciting time full of dances, groups and activities where kids can still explore the world’s possibilities in a nutshell. It is a time to embrace the past, a time to celebrate the present and a time to daydream about your future! I sat on the loveseat with my arm around Hope, Joy was in front of me, a shadow before the screen, and Compassion sprawled out on the oversize couch. I thought how I wanted to stop time. I wanted to keep them in this time and moment, all to myself. Forget The Bus Stop, forget school. They were mine, and only mine and I didn’t want to have to say good bye in the morning.
The Bus Stop in all its gallantry is a stepping stone for a child. For a parent, The Bus Stop represents a milestone in life, where everything changes and we must slowly let our child out from underneath our protective wings. We train our children up in the way they should go. Over the course of eighteen years we let them make more and more decisions, we let them make more mistakes, and we guide them through it all. We need to release them, slowly in stages, so that they can successfully navigate this great big world once they jump out of the security of our nest.
The walk to The Bus Stop was cold, but the conversation was animated. I admit I was not totally focused on Hope as I was looking around for what God had in store for me today. Hope told me about her unusual dream which involved a George Washington and Albert Einstein and how they morphed into one person on a poster in a teacher’s classroom. I laughed and told her how interesting it is that she is dreaming about leaders. Hope is a leader in her group at school. I have big dreams for Hope. Her dreams are bigger than mine. God’s dreams for Hope, though, are far bigger and more spectacular than I can imagine.
So I must train my children up in the way they should go. It is not an easy task to traverse through with a child. There will be accidents, there will be disappointments, there will be heartbreaks, and there will be pain. But in the end, they will have learned that God was watching over them and Jesus was at their side. They will know that they are loved, truly, deeply and unconditionally. Once they fly the coop, I know that they will be prepared for the world because God’s Kingdom resides in their hearts. And my children know that the cry of their hearts will always be heard. I will always run to that cry, my world will stop, and it will not begin again until my child knows it is well…with her soul.