Many years ago, while Danny and I were still going to school in Atlanta, we went to visit his aunt in San Francisco and spent some time in Lake Tahoe. Danny told me many stories of his childhood with the fondest of memories encapsulated within his time there and within the confines of their property which was built on the lake. Knowing Danny as I did even then, I immediately understood why his heart seemed to be rooted in the soil of this majestic place. We haven't been back since.
This past school year while many of Daniel's friends visited more than a few boarding schools as they sought out the one that was best for them, Daniel only visited one...this one. He came home after almost a week on the snow before his state finals for alpine skiing and was extremely excited with the training he received and the experience he shared. I received more than I expected form their desire to have Daniel attend their school. I knew it was an impressive academic environment as well, which was priority number one for me. While our lives at that time were being lived out one day at a time with very little ability to plan, their encouragement for us to take the next step and apply was my first step toward trusting God for Daniel's future, regardless of our own uncertainties.
I really didn't know if it would be possible for him to be there, although I knew it was his heart's desire to be and so we both tucked it away as our only option out of any other that moved us both, but like most desires of our heart, categorized even the thought as an exercise in hope and faith.
Daniel had confidence in what this school could and would offer him and I knew his connection to one of the greatest desires of his heart was out of my hands and firmly placed into the hands of God.
When the formal acceptance letter came with what they could offer to him as a scholarship, I was excited but intimidated. I knew we couldn't yet afford to agree to the difference, but like my son, I couldn't not ask and hope for more. Again, knowing that God has this child's (and every child's) life ordained, I had all the courage I needed to be thankful for the offer but to also be bloody honest about our limitations.
Behind closed doors, Danny would fret knowing how hard Daniel worked at becoming the best that he could possibly be as a downhill ski racer with the opportunities that surrounded him and this was a child that deserved a chance to pursue his dream but we wouldn't be wise agreeing to it.
Daniel has always minimized everything that stands in his way with a plan of action and to everyone that knows him, he will do whatever he can to overcome every obstacle that represents restriction. While I am wired in much the same way, I realized Daniel is in greater touch with reality than even me, as he, at his young age, has in many ways earned his badge of being honored. He has sacrificed his parents for a greater call, a few of them actually, and has even watched us be stripped in ways that (I often acquiesce in my mind) represent failure even though nothing in our language or lifestyle of poise and purpose reflects apathy or surrender. Since there was nothing to lose and as far as I am concerned, everything for him to gain, we were gracious and thankful but had to risk perception and potentially miss out and ask for more. Round two proved to be worth laying my hopes and my heart down for.
Our financial limitations created concern but our faith was hopeful knowing if it was God's will, then He would make it happen. Not every obstacle in life is necessarily easy to overcome but every objection is able to be understood as an exercise in faith and ultimately trusting in God to be our Provider enables us to experience miracles. Fortunately, there wasn't just an inability to refuse the school's second offer, but there was a position in my head that matched my heart which were perfectly aligned with every aspect of what I know to be true about God's calling and purpose for our lives: our destination will be determined by our ability to let go. That reality superseded all. The added and enhanced provision came to me through nothing but my heart being connected to God's...as uncertain as our future can seem at times, what I knew from Day 1 of our journey with Dylan and Olivia was being secured by a loving God who saw Daniel's sacrifice and knew his pain and was now securing his feet on the mountaintop of his dreams.
Is it any surprise that my husband's heart's desires are being lived out in many ways through his son? Does not every parent who wants the best for their children feel an element of satisfaction in their soul when their own limitations take flight? And does not God have ways of speaking to us and reminding us of His love when we pause to assess the pain and plan He allows for a greater good? And is it any wonder that the child who has been so emotionally connected to our pain is now planted and developing his own roots in the soil God has planted him (and the same as my husband had his own expanded within many years ago) as we wait for our own roots to begin to be replanted in ways and places for purposes with a lasting value that can only be accomplished by letting go and trusting Him?
Driving up to Donner Pass Summit with the incredible presence of the powerful landscape was an experience that fortified my faith and served as a gnawing reminder of what this day meant, this season of life has meant and how it has helped me stay the course through so many difficulties and challenges. God suddenly and overwhelmingly connected my heart with my emotions and I will NEVER forget what that felt like or what it meant to me. My special and soul-tossed son was about to embark on his own journey that will lead him beyond his dreams and to his purpose and my husband and I are the privileged ones chosen by God to guide him there.
I have been here before during others calls upon my life and while the outcome has been a journey to be walked out in faith and has had countless twists and turns with what has often felt like relentless insecurity and overwhelming uncertainty, the endless impartations of God's amazing grace and mercy has refreshed my soul in ways I wouldn't trade for anything. I honestly believe and therefore move in ways of anticipation and reassurance from God's word that what adversity has taken, faith will restore...and because of desiring to trust God to lead, I expect I will experience every interesection with this trepidation that connects with my faith to restore what I initially have lost many, many ways and times over.
Applying a standard for my children to follow their heart is something that I am purposed to do, in the same way that I am purposed to be Danny's wife and support his calling that was birthed out of his adversity. Daniel is the next anointed one then another and another and another and so on until each has arrived at the own destination. Why would that be easy? What is at stake has eternal consequence and impact as well as a legacy attached to it that leads the generations to follow.
When criticism comes, and it has and it does and it will, remember who you are serving. If it is God, then His viewpoint and provisions are the ones to be considered, no one else's. When He makes your heart align with your head, especially when what is at stake tears at your soul, you do not have to question whether or not you are making the right choice, you will know that you are. That is the side trip and the main path of spiritual growth. There are many of them in a life well lived. Sadly, many fear the pain of growth so much and they risk nothing out of their fear. While I understand why, I would encourage you to trust in God more than in yourself. In so doing, you will grow in your service, you will find satisfaction and peace in your challenges and you will lean in and on your God, who wants nothing more than to be your rock and your fortress. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
I walked away from Daniel today processing my expectations of him and all I asked of him was this (and I wrote it to him in a text): to make prayer a priority. I told him he can do it anywhere and that is doesn't have to be planned or restrictive. I told him that God loves him and favors him. The truth is that God loves all of us and favors us all, but too few of us are willing to lay down what matters most to us and trust Him with our precious possessions so that we can experience His power that is made manifest in our weakness. The bible says that "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2Corinthians 12:9. I used to think I couldn't live without certain securities and what I have learned through many difficulties is that I can't live without the One who loves us through those difficulties so that we increase our capacity to experience more and become more so that He is all the more interested in the lives of those He calls us to lead. My son is just one of those. If I embrace His will for Daniel, how much more can I embrace His will for me...and for you and for the others He leads me to?
May none of us that understand purpose ever miss out on our very reason for living. May we always be able to respond to our hearts, understanding that their desires are wired within much like a primal need. Where we end up is directly proportional to what and how much of ourselves and what we hold dear, what we risk, and realizing that as we do the greatest accomplishment is not measured by what we can purchase but in what we invest.
"The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best." ~Hamilton Wright Mabie