Happy Tuesday! We enjoyed a wonderful holiday weekend and were blessed to spend lots of family time together. As the kids headed back to school today, I headed downtown for jury duty. I cannot tell you how much I've been dreading this. I know it's my civic duty, and I've heard all the videos by now about how it's a privilege. I know those things with my head, but my heart wants to be a million miles from here.
Get a grip, Gayla! You have nothing to complain about!!
I do find it very interesting that this experience is so different from other times when I've been waiting to hear my name. Don't judge, but in my old days I did a few beauty pageants. Yes, I know, I hear you gasping! I know what you're saying...well actually I know that many of you are saying different things. Some of you are saying, "I'm not surprised at all. I saw Toddlers and Tiaras, and she's got that same accent. I've seen those bows in Sarah's hair. I knew it all along. Well, bless her heart." (It is a well known, but little verbalized fact that this phrase is the classic judgemental phrase in the south. "Well, bless your heart" actually means "You're an idiot!")
Some of you might be saying, "I'm completely shocked. She seemed so above all that." I am shallower than I'd like to admit. Besides, I only did pageants that would provide scholarships and required talent. And I've made very very sure that no photos exist of my former beauty queen life. NONE!
Anyway, when you are in a pageant, you long to hear your name called. Jury duty...not so much. So far, so good. Of course, I don't doubt that I will, at some point (assuming I don't get picked), wonder why I wasn't good enough. I mean, honestly, wouldn't everyone want me on their panel? I'm a likable person!! Again, I'm complex. As we say in the south, well bless my heart!
The actual reason for my post is to remind myself that I'm called to pray for my kids' schools. Perhaps jury duty will remind me to pray harder. God forbid my children or their friends end up here. God forbid I ever see one of their teachers in a court. And God forbid my children ever go to law school...insert lawyer joke here.
I've learned a lesson this past week: Be careful what you pray for! I stand by my theory that praying helps me see God at work. I've been praying for some very specific things at my children's schools. While I have definitely seen God at work, I have also become keenly aware that the enemy is constantly on the prowl. We have specifically chosen to put our children in the public school system, and we are very aware that they are exposed to things that Christian schools and home schools don't offer. We also must completely remember that our children are in process...they are not perfect! We have normal children, and they make mistakes. This past week was a rough one because one of the boys made a mistake. I was so tempted to give up on this prayer experiment. I was tempted to lash out at God and say, "How dare You let my own child mess up when I've been so verbal about praying for my kids and their schools?" Over the week I've been reminded that my children are no different than others, that the enemy will attack them, and that they must learn to make decisions for themselves. God wants to redeem their own mistakes and give them their own stories. My job is to continue to provide discipline and boundaries, teach them about Jesus, include them in our family's ministry, and pray for them. I so wish parenting were easier, that living for Christ was easier. It's just not. Tough times, especially tough parenting times, make me long for heaven.
So this week, I'm praying for protection from the enemy for all three schools. Most importantly, I'm asking God to give me a renewed understanding of my role as prayer warrior.
Please, Lord, don't let the enemy fool me into thinking that my kids, my family can't make a difference. Use us to encourage believing teachers and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who don't know You. I'd ask You to protect my kids from the enemy, but also give them such a sense of Your presence that they have extreme courage to live for You in a very difficult environment. Raise up at least one Christian teacher this week to be a role model for Justin, Caleb, and Sarah. And don't let them or me get away with anything less than what You've called us to be. Thank You for Your constant presence! Without it, honestly I'd give up. Because of it, we can be real and vulnerable and honest witnesses even when we are so imperfect!