A Bristle in Time
(This one's about my kids as well, so if it doesn't suit your fancy today, you three dear readers- please scroll to the next blog. I will not be offended. This is where the learning is lately...)
We got into our super nice hotel- like the nicest we have EVER had- and my twelve-year-old remembered that she forgot her toothbrush.
I let her use mine that first evening and that should put me in the running for a Peace Prize somewhere because this involved retainer scrubbing as well.
Thank you for the one who feels my pain right now.
I sent her to the front desk because surely this swanky hotel would have a toothbrush and possibly golden floss for the taking.
I didn't see the toothbrush she was handed but a day later she mentioned that it was hurting her.
I honestly didn't think another thing about it. Maybe it was a just a new toothbrush with hard bristles?
For months we have all looked forward to this very week, this very conference, this exact time to see our oldest in his new natural habitat.
I concocted hotel-made meal plans with the instant pot and even caught a peek of one of our girls making a list of "Conference outfits," in church on her sermon notebook.
This is our family's version of "Camp."
It's intense, and Spirit-filled and long, but it's what we have done and enjoyed long before my son joined the ranks in college there, so now he's just the whipped cream on top of our yearly adventure.
The millisecond I saw him I began to formulate all the time we would have together.
That was my first mistake.
He couldn't sit with us because of choir and couldn't meet with us because of a practice for this and for that.
The week began to slip by and my smile turned into a frown when I would see him.
My husband even left a session early to grab Chick Fil A so we could have fifteen more minutes with him out on a pass watching him scarf a sandwich down in our hotel room.
I began finding myself sore at him, even ignoring him so as not to get my hopes up only to find someone else needed him again.
This was my second mistake
This staff and that sought me out to tell me how that he had blessed them or encouraged them in the TIME he has been there.
I just wanted a piece of that TIME myself!
I was becoming embarrassed at how my flesh was rising up in the midst of this whole mess.
The next morning while running late I headed into the bathroom to brush my teeth.
It was then that I got a glimpse of the horridness that was my daughter's free toothbrush.
The whole head looked like it had spent the night under a brick.
It was coarse and wiry and the cheapest toothbrush known to man.
Cavemen would've scorned it.
No wonder she found it painful!
It was ugly and uncomfortable, but I was glad it WAS getting the job done.
The Holy Spirit said, "It sure is. Don't bristle at what I am teaching you. It's getting the job done."
I packed this away and wondered to myself exactly what this meant as I headed into another session.
I didn't need to wait long.
The Lord met me in an illustration a Pastor used.
He told us about a group of Missionaries loading a boat to take them far from home and family and friends. For many of them, this would be the last time they saw their loved ones.
As they boarded the ship one from the crowd on the shore called to them, "You'll die over there!"
Their response, "We died before we left home."
It hit me hard.
In all of my packing and planning I had forgotten to die before I left home.
I knew the Lord was asking me to become dead once again to this one that has never really been mine.
I had a night to allow the Spirit to drive His peace deep into my heart and mind before waking and texting my son.
It felt wonderful to tell him that I was having a hard time with my living sacrifice and would choose to let him go once again.
He graciously understood.
His arm on my shoulder felt particularly wonderful that morning in the service even though I knew it would be too long before I enjoyed it again.
It was okay. It was enough.
Before we left for the conference, when we were all making our lists, I had such a desire, a strong compelling, to make sure my oldest had a college zip-up.
I can't adequately explain just how strongly I was compelled to make sure He had this silly jacket.
College clothing is always expensive but it was important to me and so I made it happen, and it afforded me such a smile when he wore it all afternoon.
We carved out a half hour, this son of mine and I, to sit in the van and just talk until it began to get dark outside and we couldn't see if there were tears anymore or not.
So many things have been a real shock to me as we navigate parenting, and this the most of all- how your children turn into your absolute closest friends.
I told him in a cold, messy van that He was the Lord's property and that He was using Him.
This amazing reminder came to my mind and I found myself telling him that I am learning anew like Hannah that my job is to take my son to the Lord and then take my hands off.
And then I found these words coming out of my mouth,
"And Hannah only saw her son once a year to..."
I found a lump in my throat.
"..bring him a new coat."
We kind of looked at each other and just smiled.
Does it ever catch you in your throat how patient a teacher the Lord is?
How He is working behind the scenes while we are just attempting to be a Mom?
This fella of mine is my heart in another body.
He and I are cut from the very same cloth.
I'll enjoy the texts, the calls, the laughs and the fact that my husband knows that the last hug always leads us to Chicago deep dish pizza for the long drive home.
Yes, I'll enjoy that very very much.
While I type and the hoodlums sleep.
I may even share my tooth bush tonight when we get home.