Here we go into the fall season. I love every season - except winter here is a little too long. All this rain reminds me of Jos, Nigeria. August is part of their rainy season.
OK, fall or school starting, it all begins - parent/teacher nights, beginning of year parent class parties, start of fall rec leagues and all that good stuff. Of course a new church series and tent weekend. Is it really mid-September already? It's a rainy Friday night and I'm just happy to be home with my family. Today, my son had his picture day at school. First dress day for a coat and tie - the whole works. He is a 6th grader now. And at his school - an all boys private school - this is a big deal -new rules, new building. Big guy stuff. The other night he was so upset because he had his hair "cut" for the picture and plus it was pretty close to the "not below the collar of your shirt" rule. Big upset until all his classmates assured him his hair was still "cool". My daughter started 6th grade too (they are only 10 mos. apart). Who is my daughter? Long legs and long blonde hair flying by me. Where has the time gone? All I can think about lately is children and trying so hard not to miss my kids' moments.
I pray every day for my children as I'm sure every parent reading this does. What I pray for them is to know God loves them and for them to know that Jesus Christ is their Savior. If I know they kind of know this, I will be able to feel I have done my job as a parent. Because, if they know that, then they will be able to face their problems easier and to know that He is always there for them.
What I learned in Nigeria at Faith Alive this summer is that they want this for their children. For most of the two and half weeks there this summer, the focus was mainly about children. They have started a new discipleship program for children. They have had one for young adults, but they hadn't done one for children yet. They want their children to "get it" as soon as possible. If they can save their children - for them to know what is possible for them instead of a life of knowing what they don't have and a life of only desperation, then they think maybe that will save their country too.
Leaders there walk around saying "Be confident in Jesus Christ. Do you know your name?Do you know the name God gives you?" There is no talk of self esteem or self confidence. It is - do you believe what He said? It's all about Him.
This so hit home for me in a personal way. I've had a problem in this area all of my life. I never had even thought about life as they talk about it, until I started coming to the Church of the Nativity about four years ago. All of my life I kind of let a lot of people reflect their negative view of me and what unfortunately became a negative view of myself a lot of time - not all the time. But I know I'm starting down that road again - the wrong road when the voice is saying "you can't do that, you are not smart enough or basically not enough. Or, one person can't make a difference or that feeling that your life is set somehow. Take the easier road. Take the easier road? There is no easier road. As they say at Faith Alive - without Jesus Christ you are in crisis. You are just going the wrong way. I've spent much of my life going the wrong way. And so one thing about age is it can allow wisdom. Doesn't have to, but it can lead to some wisdom ! :-) Patterns aren't patterns until there is a pattern! We all have a story. Until we know our past and where we've been, I don't think we can know where we're going or supposed to be going.
I'm feeling happy, content and safe at home with my family. I had a great morning with great friends who encourage me and show me God's love. I'm thinking I kind of know my name. As I told the Faith Alive staff ( I had to stand in front of them and lead a prayer devotion meeting) - this would have been an absolute terror for me in the past. There was a room full of people, paying full attention, waiting to hear what I - the returning American lady - had to say. And now, in front of these loving people I wasn't afraid. I told them I don't know what my given name actually means, but my mom prayed to St.Therese for intercession when she was pregnant. She decided to "order me". She prayed - "may she have blonde hair and green eyes like her father - but most of all may she be kind". She named after St. Therese as she is the saint of "little ways" She is called the "little flower". I've decided it's kind of a good name. I'd like to live up to the kind "little ways" part. "Little Flower" give me your childlike faith to see the face of God in the people and experiences of my life and to love God with full confidence. My mom honored me with this name and her prayer. I didn't like it growing up - too Catholic school girl proper. And yes, my mom chose the "other" spelling of the name. I still get "is that with an h or without?". And she would not allow for Teri. I know this is not really about our literal names. Do you know your name? My mom has been telling me this St. Therese story all my life. It just didn't click until recently. Nice mom story. But then this church - then Nigeria and then today there it was on my friend's kitchen table - the St. Therese prayer card. So anyway, here's the novena prayer. I would like to offer it tonight to all our children here, at Anawim Home and at Faith Alive.
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands.............
St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day.