We were living in emotional turmoil. My first husband and I were separated at the time.
I was busy being a mom and teaching sons to sit up straight, not play with their food, write a thank you note, not interrupt when someone was talking, to wait to eat until after the food had been blessed.
I did not need my fifth-grade son balking about getting dressed up to go to church on Sundays.
It was the 80’s. He was comfortable with blue jeans and with balking.
To be honest, I was dealing with headaches and really wanted to recoil from the world. It was a strange time.
It hurt that our son was unhappy at church.
The spiritual support I was receiving at the church was getting me through a hard season of my life. I needed the kindness and scriptural reminders I found there. I especially needed to sit and look at that cross in the sanctuary.
I did not know what to do. At last, I put the problem in God’s hands and went to bed.
What came to me on awakening after a dream was this: We needed to go to the Salvation Army Church.
That morning I told the boys about the prayer and the dream. I laughed, confident that there was no Salvation Army Church. The older one questioned, “Are you sure?”
Well, no, I was not sure of anything. He picked up the phone book.
There was a Salvation Army store, church, and pick-up center on the other side of town.
We all laughed. They went to school. I went to work.
The next move was simple. Later in the day, I dialed the number of the Salvation Army Church and asked what time services started on Sunday, and what was the normal dress for church.
I was assured their congregation wore blue jeans or shorts or dresses. It did not matter. Exactly what my children wanted to hear.
After work, I told the boys they could wear blue jeans to this church. They wanted us to go locate the church right then. No one hesitated about getting in the car.
It touched my heart to hear their excitement about going to a church, a church where they could wear blue jeans.
I smile now as I recall how they trusted my dream more than I did.
Once I realized there really was a Salvation Army Church, I knew it was from God. He had a new plan for my boys and me.
Clearly, God’s plan would be greater than any plan I could ever dream up.
That night, I finally prayed, “All right, Lord. All right. I trust you. I do trust you. At least, I want to trust you. But you are going to have to help me. Help me with every step I take.”
That little prayer was the beginning of something new in my life.
I couldn’t heal the past or fix anything, but I was not without God.
More than that, my capacity for faith grew. I latched onto something big in that little church. I learned that grace is like an ocean, big enough for everyone and still room for others.
I have always been a church girl, so I knew this in my head, but it took all this turmoil, changes, and grief for me to “get” some of what God had in mind into my heart.
All this to say, I know being a parent can be tough, but God has a plan.
Don’t give up on your children, and don’t give up on God.
P.S. May we mothers embrace our big God who wants to comfort and love us. Thank you for any comments and/or Shares.
Photo of white peonies in Durmon front yard in Norfork, Arkansas. May 2018.