Thursday, May 09, 2013

Playing Our Part

It was five years ago this week that I first wrote about KP. This morning I sat across from her in Starbucks as she completed a talk for the Board of Directors at the group home where we first met 9 years ago.

This clean, healthy, law abiding, college enrolled woman sitting across the table from me--asking advice about her rebellious three year old--was such a far cry from the lost girl I once knew. We laughed and talked as friends, and I got to briefly tell her about the pursuant love I had for her when she was at her worst that still makes no sense to me at all apart from God. This morning in that coffee shop, the Gospel was so incredibly real and it was beautiful.

In a world that seems to be plagued by stories of tragedy, redemption is celebrated far too rarely.  Many people have been used in KP's life (and now the life of her growing son.) It has been a wild ride for such a young woman, but today she is a success story--sober for 34 months, pursuing a college degree and concerned for the welfare and education of her child. KP is committed is breaking the cycle she was born into two decades ago.

I was reminded that love is not an economic decision. Over the years I have invested myself heavily in the group home. Dozens of adolescent girls have come and go from my life and there are really only a handful with whom I keep in touch. Many times it has been gut wrenching and discouraging. If many of these relationships had ever been put through an accounting program, anyone with a brain halfway inclined for numbers would have deemed them a poor investment. Praise God that His economy is so different than ours.

I was also reminded how important it is to just keep showing up in obedience and with love to give--even when it stops making sense. We do not see as God does. We have no way of knowing what He has in mind and how individual stories will turn out. I think it may be why His command is stated simply and without caveats--love your neighbor as yourself--whoever your neighbor happens to be at the moment.

It has apparently not been God's Will for me to have a prominent role in the majority of the stories I've encountered in the last 10 years. In most I have been relegated to an extra, long forgotten in the background. But by His providence, I am blessed to have a recurring role in this one, as a cheerleader for this young life.

And, frankly, it gave me a bit more perspective on my role as Mama. For the last three days I was out of town with a group of women. As is often the case, MUCH of our time was spent discussing motherhood. The undertone through so much of the conversation was guilt and fear. I couldn't help but wonder if we have put too much weight on our role. Make no mistake, I believe shepherding little hearts and souls in an incredibly important job--a lead role. I am counted among the women exhausting myself in an effort to 'do well.' But, there are other characters in the story.

As parents we have the privilege of launching little ones into the world, but God (thankfully) uses so much more than just us...teachers, coaches, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, Sunday School teachers, Young Life leaders, Youth workers, parents of friends...We have a vital part to play, but it is not all on us.

I am reminded to prayerfully seek God's Will for my role with my children--not the one society, peer pressure or my ambition has assigned, but the one He has uniquely equipped me for. In this season with my family it seems to be Truth Teller, Life Coach and Encourager in Chief. There are MANY other roles that I sometimes play...but I cannot do them all and I would go so far as to say it would be dangerously prideful to believe I can. This whole parenting gig is a lifetime trust fall.

Pray hard.
Breathe deep.
Show up.
Love like crazy.
And trust the One who thought these precious people up in the first place.

May we be faithful stewards of what He has entrusted to us--humbly remembering there is an assigned portion and cup--and avoid the prideful temptation to overreach.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 NIV


Love Being A Nonny said...

Oh my word Jen Mom, you have hit the nail on the head. These are great encouraging for moms!

Stephanie said...

Thanks so much for these words! Great encouragement to keep building relationship and to keep loving others!