A Sixteen Year Old Daughter Teaching Mom Lessons on Vanity and Pride

137

138

A few months ago my oldest daughter, Michaela, expressed her desire to participate in the St. Baldrick’s  fundraiser.  This is an event where the participants raise money for childhood cancer research then have their hair completely shaved off.   My youngest daughter, Cora, and I looked at each other with looks that were mixed with shock, reservation, and uncertainty.   The thoughts and feelings that flooded over me in that moment are embarrassing.  It is amazing who and what God uses to reveal the nasty parts of our human nature.  My first thoughts were “Oh that hair is so beautiful, she has prom, senior pictures, etc…”  Pure selfish prideful thoughts were my initial response.   How nasty and foolish of me.  During her elementary school days it was mom that encouraged her to donate her hair to “Locks of Love” a couple times.  The last time was in fifth grade.    Going to a “Bob” haircut for fast growing hair was apparently reasonable for my  prideful heart.  We later learned that those wigs were charged for and not donated to children with cancer with that organization so I stopped encouraging the drastic haircuts.   In the mean time her thick beautiful locks have grown and grown.

As parents we often don’t realize the impact our conversations and prayers have on our children.   Our lives have been heavily impacted by children with cancer in the area we live.  A year and about four months ago my life long friend since the fourth grade’s son, Collin,  was diagnosed with bone cancer.   He and his family have been in the brutal battle with cancer since the day he was diagnosed.  They have had blow after blow yet continue on taking one day at a time.   They have to continue living life one treatment, test, and surgery at a time.  There is another family with a three year old daughter, Lexi, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer this last year.  I watched Lexi’s mother grow up from the church youth group into a wonderful wife and mother.   Lexi has now completed her treatments and we pray the cancer stays away.  There are many other families impacted by childhood cancer just within our small area.  So as I have talked about and prayed for Collin and Lexi specifically Michaela was listening.

She felt a passion to do this in honor of Collin and Lexi.  Her selfless reason to give her hair made my initial thoughts and emotions that much more embarrassing.  The next thoughts were “It is just hair, she is beautiful with or without hair, SHE DOES NOT HAVE CANCER ANITA!!!”   Dear God please forgive my pride and vanity!!  God there are so many families impacted by childhood cancer and here I am so very very selfish!!!   She is alive and healthy!  Her hair will grow!  Her body is not poisoned by healthy cell devouring cancer.  Her body is not poisoned by the treatments to fight that atrocious disease.  This painfully shy child at age sixteen is willing to have her head shaved in front of her classmates.  This painfully shy child is willing to walk around with no hair for months as it grows back. This child who has no job is giving what she can, her hair, to help someone else.

This humbled momma continues to learn so much and most often through my own children.

The high school she attends does this fundraiser annually.  This year there were 33 students that participated and they raised over $20,000 toward childhood cancer research.  We can learn so much from the ones that are tomorrows future!!

Our children are listening even when we are so far from perfect ourselves we should watch what we do and say.  We are shaping the future of tomorrow.   Sometimes they shape us, in spite of ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Crossing Bridges Foster/Adoption

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Right after our first foster placement came to live with us construction was started to rebuild a bridge on one of our main roads to town.  First the shoulder was repaved on one side so that the bridge could go down to a single lane.  After the shoulder was deemed drivable drivers could  cross on the narrow side as the other half of the bridge was torn down.  A stop light was set up so that two lanes of traffic could safely go down to the one. This at times added at least three minutes to our commute.  Our new family member has been the one to openly voice the most complaints about this inconvenience.  After months one side was finally completed then it was time to open the new side and tear down the old half that remained.   This project has taken seven months.  Both lanes are now new, smooth, and much safer to cross over.

The bridge has been very symbolic to me of the bridges we have been crossing as a family.  As we cross bridge after bridge with this life that has been so wounded it has been hard, narrow,  felt a bit scary, has taken a lot of waiting, has taken patience, and with each cross to the other side there has been relief for all of us.   It is amazing that as the bridge of this road neared completion we were finally starting to really see progress with this young life.  It has started with the mom relationship first.  Now as I give instruction and guidance I am not met with all the resistance.  There is not the scary feeling of walking along and the bridge is just going to completely crumble beneath.  As the foundation was laid for this new bridge structurally there has been a foundation being laid relationally in our home.

The relationship and understanding between the child and I is now trickling out to the rest of our family.  There are more glimmers of hope that this wounded person is starting to heal and gain control of the chaos within.  We are seeing more and more of who the real child is.  There are more and more opportunities to praise, compliment, and encourage. We are getting to see the awesome potential that God placed into this human being long before he was even born.  We have many, many, MANY more bridges to cross.  Winter is coming and the actual bridge might get icy.  With the child there will be slippery times ahead as well.

No matter what the future holds with “forever family” status.  We are now all forever in each other’s hearts.  There is a strong foundation that has been laid.

Family and relationships are tough no matter what.  Being a parent is tough no matter what.  My motto has now become cross each bridge with care and confidence.  God does provide the way to cross and there is blessing on the other side.

The cross Jesus died on for us was the toughest bridge ever to be constructed.  God made a way between us and Him.  The cross is the bridge.  Once we have chosen  to trust Jesus and cross over that bridge there is tremendous blessing and relief on the other side.

There are always bridges in life to cross, but with the foundation of Jesus they are secure and we can move forward with confidence.