I was so tired when I went to bed last night I put desitin on my toothbrush. I don’t think keeping the baby’s butt cream next to the toothbrush from here out is a good idea. This has been a good tired, the sort where you’ve been to six parties and when it finally ends wee in the night, the need for sleep slams full force on all sides. Coming home to Katy is exhilarating for me.
Jordan and Kevin went to UTurn at Kingsland Baptist Church. They essentially had a group weekend retreat in homes with their best friends while a college student came to be the leader of activity, bible study, service projects, and prayer. Besides drawing closer to God over the weekend, the objectives include no sleep, too much junk food, and hysteria accompanied with laughter. In years past we hosted Uturn at our home for high school boys, and we loved getting to know the teenagers in that way. This year Donny was invited to be a leader for eighth grade boys. These are kids who he used to be their leader of life group (Sunday night bible study) when they were in sixth grade. It is so interesting for me, mom, to stand on the sidelines and see him have his own long term ministry, impacting young men, leading them, listening, and sharing the truths about the love of Christ. Aren’t those the moments as mom when I ought to be walking down the red carpet in an original Valentino gown, glittering with jewels, smiling for the camera ready to receive the lifetime achievement award? Well, I don’t need worldly recognition, really, though I do love to dress up but I shy from being on the other end of the camera. What I really mean to say is the feeling I get when I see him with those kids, and hear one of them stand on stage and explain how Donny really helped him fully comprehend the idea that Jesus walks the whole life journey right at his side and he is never alone, is a feeling that is as satisfying as receiving a life time achievement award.
My first ministry is my family, and that’s God’s design. I remember when I was new to my faith I was wrangling the idea of serving while I had two young children in my care and I wasn’t sure how to fit it into our life. The pastor said one morning, “if you are not able to keep your own grass mowed, why in the world are you here at church mowing the grass?” Light bulbs flickered and I realized that first I must learn to keep my own grass mowed, and then I’ll be useful to help mow the Kingdom lawn. That lesson has served me well to keep my priorities aligned as my Christian walk journeyed our family into a major ministry for orphan care in Uganda.
I saw Kevin and Jordan briefly during the rally on Sunday morning, otherwise this weekend they are in their “Katy Homes away from home”. We all disperse and stay with different friends, and I’ll meet them in the church parking lot at noon to return to San Antonio. If this doesn’t show the blessings of church family I can’t imagine how else to explain it.
Donny caught a ride with three other Baylor students. I searched for him in a sea of students wearing identical tshirts and when I found him he gave me the biggest hug, kissed me, and kept his arm around my shoulder. I share this for all the moms out there with awkward teen boys who at the age of 13-17 can barely acknowledge you are mom in the midst of peers. Hang on, you haven’t been forsaken, they do come back around to confidently displaying affection towards us in front of their friends. The love between Donny and I is a tangible thing and when I have the opportunity grasp it, I cradle it in my arms and just marvel at it, in slight disbelief that we have finally arrived at the ideal relationship.
Parenting is hard and not for the timid. There are no guarantees and we are really not in control. So to arrive at this place where we are mutually respectful, and he is eager for us to coach him, and it is our pleasure, but all the decisions must be his own….well that’s a front row seat. Sometimes the show is terrifying, entertaining, hilarious, and very sad, but ultimately so satisfying.
I thought I had said goodbye to Donny there at the rally because he was heading back to Baylor afterwards, but the girls went to spend the afternoon with their families, so I got a call from him and he said, “mom can I hang out with you?” Absolutely!
I picked him up and he accompanied me to a meeting at Starbuck’s. I met with a high school senior, Katrina Wilson, who intends to give her life to orphan care, and her mom, Melanie, joined us. In October I received an out of the blue, I don’t know who you are email from Katrina explaining how she has a passion for this ministry and feels God has drawn her to Uganda, and could she join us for the summer mission trip? Affirmative. I couldn’t stand in the way of God’s calling, He’s my boss, I too do what he says.
Turns out when we first moved to Katy and I signed Donny up to work in the nursery at church, he was in Melanie’s classroom. And she loved him, so it was a great reunion for us all to meet at Starbuck’s and see how God has arranged for our lives to intertwine. Only God can accomplish such an interesting plan. It is a good day when you get a big “aha” moment that was uniquely provided by God himself.
We had a lively chat about Kirabo Seeds, but what was most fascinating for me is that Donny got to see me work. He got to see how God is using me, his fireball mama that usually makes him wonder what is wrong with me, in the lives of others. He finally grasped that what I do is a ministry, not just another passion in my life that hangs on a long list of interests. And it fired him up for participating in the ministry, and somehow I believe that he may have just dropped the label in his mind of “the work my parents do in Uganda” to be replaced with “an amazing opportunity for me to serve God with my family”. I believe now he can really see it is “the ministry God has given my parents to do”. (I’ve been saying this so often that I must’ve sounded like the girl at the drive through and so he must have been hearing “may I take your order?”)
It made me happy, gloriously happy to see him get ignited by God for the work we are doing in Uganda. As his mom I can’t require him to participate. He’s working for Pine Cove this summer, and it has been questionable if he’s going to join us in Africa when it finishes. But now, after yesterday’s meeting, I believe Donny heard from God about that. And for once as mom, I didn’t try to be God in his life. My goodness it is good to see I can get something right as a mother. I say that with a guilty conscience because Kevin won’t forgive me for a while since I said “I love you honey” in front of his friends, and I had the audacity to ask for a photo of him with them. He shot me down, but Jordan and his buds were eager to allow me the pleasure. The mom life…gotta love it.