Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Thunder & "Pretty School"

Spring has arrived. I know this not because of the sunnier days, or the warmer weather, or the budding plants. Rather, the rain has arrived. The snow has turned to rain. And the storms have brought with it thunder and lightning.

I know I've been away from Florida long enough when I see lighting and hear thunder and think about how weird it is, how long it's been since I've seen/heard/felt them. It also brings a peace, an "I'm home" feeling.

Thunderstorms in this Ohio valley are far different from the ones in Florida. For one, storms in Florida last about 20-30 minutes in the spring and summer, leaving you with warm sunshine and thick humidity the rest of the day. Here they last all day. The thunder is also different. The thunder rumbles longer. We are surrounded by mountains. The thunder will roar its sound, and the sound echoes over and over.

We had a thunderstorm as Cooper was going to bed one evening. As I was walking out of Cooper's bedroom, I heard him.

Mom, I'm scared of the thunder.

I turned around, knelt down next to him, grabbed and brushed his hand with mind. "Cooper, the Bible tells us over and over again 'Don't be afraid, for I am with you, Don't be afraid for I and with you, Don't be afraid for I am with you.' Who's always with us?"

He pointed to his belly. (Jesus lives in us, and to Cooper, that means his belly.)

And who is that?


"Right. We don't ever have to be afraid because Jesus and God are always with us. And God is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than anything and anyone, ever. And he will protect us. He has given us our house to protect us from the rain and thunder tonight."

...which when into a quick discussion about why our house protects us from thunderstorms...

I then told Cooper about how some people say the sound of thunder is God playing bowling in heaven, which made him smile.

Then I reiterated: "You don't have to be afraid tonight. Jesus is with you."

Another brush of the hand, a kiss on the forehead, and I headed downstairs. This time with a prayer, "Lord, may he be brave, bold, and courageous because he has You. Help us light his path to You."

. . .

The next afternoon, we had another conversation.

Mom, when I'm seven I'll go to pretty school, right?

"No, bub. You'll go to pre-school in September. That's just a few months from now and you will be four. "

No, I'm talking about pretty school. When will I go to pretty school?

(Thinking: you don't ever need to take pretty are as handsome as they come...) 
"Pretty school isn't a thing. It's called pre-school. You'll go to preschool, then kindergarten, then 1st grade...and I spoke all the grades to 12th grade. Then guess what? You'll graduate and go to college and you'll move away. You'll be on your own!"

Tears came immediately. 

Fear consumed his face.

"But I don't want to be on my own."

Don't worry, that's not until you're 18. It's a long time from now. And if you decide you want to stay home, you can. But remember what we talked about last night? You're never alone. You'll never be alone. 

He leaned into me for a hug. 

And another prayer was uttered. "Lord, may he learn to give his fears to you. May he choose to walk into the unknown when he's 18. May he be confident and trusting in you."

How do you help your children overcome their fears? I'm not sure of the best answer to this question, being only 4 years into the whole parenting gig. However, I'm confident the answer lies in turning him to Jesus every time.

Cooper, I hope and pray that one day you embrace the life you can have with Jesus. A life where you can walk into unknown situations with confidence. A life where you can tackle your fears. A life where you can be bold, brave, and courageous. Jesus can give you all these things. You just have to let Him. I pray than when you're old enough to understand it all, you let Him.  -Mom.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Praying for his future.

Cooper and I have been home for about two days from a trip to Florida. While I will write more about the trip later, there is something I wanted to share.

On this trip Cooper and I had a lot of alone time. We did a lot of special things together. One of those days I took him to the beach. It was "cold" and cloudy, but we made the most of it and had a great time. Driving to the beach that day I prayed for him and his future wife. I prayed that he would take her special places. I prayed that the example I'm giving him of meeting his love language will help him learn how to love his wife.

Then once at the beach, I pondered his future. Who will be the one who captures his heart? I really hope its a girl who loves Jesus. I really hope she builds a life with him the way I built a sand castle with him that day. By listening, working together, and lots of smiling. I really hope she looks at him and smiles with her whole being. I really hope she takes walks with him. I really hope she sits by him. I really hope she can handle his quirks, his personality, his zeal. And so I prayed for her. I prayed God would set her apart, and help form her into the woman that Cooper will need, will love.

When we left the beach, my heart was so full. Cooper really is growing up. There is so little control that I have in all of that. But there's power in handing it all over to God. Letting him have control of Cooper's future. That day on the beach I gave a piece of that future over to Him. Which is maybe why this beach trip holds a special place in my heart. I made this video for Cooper to help remember the special day that it was.