The first day of school is an exciting time for many, but for others it’s the most dreaded day of the year-and this first day of school will go down on my “least favorite day” list.
The clothes had been laid out strategically. The back pack was organized right down to the pencil that would be used for the day. All things go according to plan-that is, until I make it from dropping of my teenage daughter, to my garage door. The phone sounds and lights up with the text message: “He put me in the other locker room.”
Now, for all you parents with athletes (or who have every competed in a sport), you’ll relate well to this story. This may even bring back some painful moments from your school days when things didn’t go according to your plan.
My daughter had been playing basketball, and for the better part of two years experience a painful tailbone break that never healed properly. She was forced to sit out at the end of her freshman year, and to take some time off during the summer, hoping that the much-needed rest would bring about a full recovery. Unfortunately, the rest didn’t completely diminish the pain, but she decided that before school started, she needed to find a way to start working out to regain her strength and to get back into basketball shape.
Fast forward to the first day of school (which was yesterday-sophomore year). First period, basketball-fully expecting to be issued the varsity backpack with the assigned varsity locker room invitation, she was given the JV backpack and the unwanted JV locker room-the not wanted invitation. Needless to say, she was devastated- and at that moment in neon lights (in the deepest part of her heart) read the words, “REJECTED” “REJECTED” “REJECTED”…
I don’t have to tell you that the first day of school was officially declared the worst day of her life. And, I’d like to say that I handled it with grace, but this mother’s heart broke the moment I read those words highlighted on my phone “He put me in the other locker room.” I spent the better part of the day crying for her broken heart, re-visiting some of my own athletic high school days, and trying to shove down the devilish anger that was starting to seep through my pores! As I struggled with trying to understand the “why”, the “how” and the “what” of the situation, I began to ask God to show her the truth of the event before the enemy could start his lying tactics AND, to give me some words of wisdom to speak at the school day’s end. Of, course what I really wanted (truth be told) was to call the coach and tell him what I thought about him and his horrible choice!
My heart ached for her, and as much as I tried to sort my feeling out, I could not stop going back to this thought, “it’s not fair.” The more I turned that thought over in my mind, the bigger the ache in heart got. And then, I got these unexpected words from the Lord, “teach them to suffer well.” It’s at that moment that I recalled a sermon I was listening to that came out of James 1:12, “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” (The Message) God was reminding me that I have a choice of how I am going to handle the messy things that life throws my way. I can throw the fit of “unfair” or I can stand up and declare to the devil in hell that this is just a minor bump in the road on the way to where I’m going. And, how I choose to walk it out will be the lesson that I teach my kids.
Teach Them to Suffer Well. I don’t know about you but suffering well is not something that comes naturally to me. I have meltdowns well, and not so pretty fits of rage, but I usually don’t come in as an “A” student in suffering! And this particular day, I didn’t want to suffer well and I sure didn’t want my daughter to suffer at all. But, what the devil intends for harm, God will work it for good-HE PROMISES! Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28
What I am learning the older I get is that life has many unexpected, unfortunate and unwanted events that we have no control over. The only thing within our control is our behavior toward what’s been presented to us. When we remember who we are, and whose we are it changes the way we approach the obstacles ahead.
We already know-we are God’s child (John 1:12)
We already know-we are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:31-39)
We already know- we can do all things through him who gives us our strength (Phil. 4:13)
We already know –there will be troubles in this life but HE already overcame them all (John 16:33)
We already know-that perseverance builds character, it builds our faith and increases our hope (Romans 5:3-4; James 1:3)
So…if we already know all of these things-is it safe to say we already know that the solution to our problem is tucked within all the for sure things God promises?
I am choosing to believe that with every problem, even though there will be unwanted pain, it will come with a purpose that will bring about the plan of God.
Teach them to suffer well and you’re teaching them to become more like Jesus!
“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong. Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross, so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.” 1 Peter 2: 23-25 (The Message)