My oldest daughter started kindergarten two weeks ago. After the first week, I attended a “Back to School Night” event for parents at the school. The teacher was explaining to us the goals for the class and sharing about all the different things the students will learn by the end of the year. I felt very excited for Aliya, for the learning, the opportunities, the friendships; for all the new and enriching experiences that awaited her this coming year in kindergarten; at a new school, with new classmates, and new teachers. But as I thought about our upcoming departure to Japan in January (Lord-willing!), I began to feel a sense of loss. A sense of loss for Aliya – the prematurely ended learning, the missed opportunities, the truncated friendships – all the things she will not be able to experience in the second half of the school year.
In my last post, I shared about my fears. I realize that most of my fears are about my children. I don’t want them to suffer or endure hardship. I don’t want them to struggle in a new culture with a new language. I don’t want them to be isolated or ostracized by other children because they are different. And after attending that back to school night, I felt another fear: the fear of missed opportunities.
As I drove home that night, I remembered a day when our girls were happily playing with their Disney princess dolls as I was trying to get them ready to go out. Daddy was going to take them to Disneyland (“the happiest place on earth”). But our girls began to complain; they wanted to stay at home and play with their dolls. What they didn’t know was that going to Disneyland would be immeasurably more fun and exciting than staying in their room playing with two princess dolls. Because they didn’t fully realize what awaited them, they complained and grumbled.
The Lord consistently reminds me of my relationship with him through my relationship with my children. I am so often like a child, a child who thinks she knows better but really does not. The Lord reminded me that he has wonderful, better things in store for my children (and us), but those things are to come according to his ways and not in ways I think are best. The reality is, they may not be spared difficulties or suffering, but through those circumstances and struggles, he will help them know him better and increase their faith. What greater treasure is there than that?
What am I seeking for my children? Have I elevated earthly goals, my goals for my children (such as academic excellence, refined skills, harnessed talents, outward stature), above the most important goal of glorifying God and enjoying him forever?
The Lord reminded me, as I drove home that night, that we are in the best place (the actual happiest place on earth!) when we are in his good and loving hands. It is not about where we live physically, in California or Japan, but we will be well because of the Lord’s presence. There is tremendous comfort in this truth. I hope you too find comfort in this truth, in whatever circumstances you are facing.
Thanks for reading,
Fundraising update: We are at 85% of our fundraising goals – we are grateful for our supporters! We are hoping to leave for Japan in January 2015.