Last night and this morning were rough for Ty, our 11 year old. He's a big kiddo. Everything about him is big. His heart and his tears and his desire to please EVERYONE. So he was super stressed about the 5th grade reading benchmark test today. Somewhere he heard if he doesn't pass he won't promote to 6th grade.
That's a lot of pressure.
I have made it pretty clear how I feel about these stupid tests. Our kids need to submit to the authority of their teachers and administrators - they need to do their best - but honestly the testing stuff is OUT OF CONTROL. I chose not to react based on my opinion of the tests. Ty needed me to just help him get through the day.
So God gave us a visual.
Let me back up. A couple of weeks ago I was preparing to speak to a small women’s retreat. I wanted to give them encouragement from God’s Word about being a mama, some practical advice, and then wrap up my talk with a visual of the loaves and fishes story from the gospels. I wanted to show them that even though at the end of the day they may feel that their mommying efforts aren’t enough….they are. If God can take a couple fish and 5 loaves from a little boy and feed thousands…He can take what we have to offer our family…even though it FEELS so inadequate...and make it ENOUGH. So that day I went to Amazon and ordered a little wooden bowl set that came with two fishes and five loaves. It was “Prime” (amazon prime is my BFF) but this time it didn’t come in two days. It actually didn’t arrive until the DAY AFTER my talk. Annoying. So I set the unopened envelope on my desk to get lost in the clutter.
Fast forward. Yesterday I finally opened it up and set it on my desk in my office.
Clearly, God knew I would need it today. For me and for Ty and maybe for you, too.
This morning when I saw Ty’s huge tears I made him repeat after me. “These tests says NOTHING about who I am.” I made him say that three times. He laughed at me. Which was fine - but he said it. I reminded him that no test defines him. I reminded him that even if he DID fail, it would not say anything about WHO HE IS. So I told him I didn’t want him to give stupid tests so much power in his life.
I know, I know. This won’t work for all kids. Not all kids care that much about tests. But all kids care that much about something. All kids give certain things too much power in their lives. All kids let things define them that should NOT define them. Us mamas do that too, don’t we?
So as Ty was repeating after me I remembered the loaves and fishes on my desk. I went and got the tiny bowl and brought it to him. I said “What is this, Ty?” He knows the story. So I launched my inspired sermonette complete with the visual:
“Today, Ty, you’re the boy with the loaves and fishes. I know it looks like there are thousands of people to feed (big stinky test) and you only have a sack lunch for one (reading is your weakest subject). It’s scary and you don’t feel adequate. But God has given you what you need. You’re gonna do your best, bud. You’re going to eat a good breakfast, you got good rest like they suggested, you have worked to improve and to be sure you know the material…now all you have to do is show up and give it all you’ve got. It will be enough. Remember you aren’t alone.”
We talked about how God multiplied the boy’s offering. We talked about how He does that for me and for all His children. The truth is, “all we’ve got” could never be “enough” unless it is offered to God - He completes our efforts. He knows what we need. He will bring it to pass.
There is so much peace in knowing that everything isn’t up to us.
We don’t have to control everything, be perfect, or have everything figured out.
We just need to be faithful, stay focused, and give Him all we’ve got.
You are enough, mama. You are enough, student. You are enough, pastor, father, friend, mentor, son, co-worker, teacher….as a CHILD OF GOD…you are enough.
Because you are completed in Christ and HE is enough. Give yourself to HIM.