Archive for August, 2009

Almost Friends

We stationed ourselves in a cozy corner furnished with a small, round table and companionable chairs with plenty of cushion.

My drink was a steamy, signature hot chocolate from the cappuccino bar of the well-known coffee shop. My college-senior daughter, Sarah, who was home for the weekend, leaned forward, cradling the Iced Passion Tea between her hands. The conversation we shared that day came easily, smattered with comfortable silences.

We wove through such mundane topics as classes, difficult professors and grocery store shopping, but also discussed her new friends and the extreme difficulties that they faced.

Staring sometimes at her drink, sometimes at me, she shared what God was teaching her. She’s going through a refining process. She now lives five hours from her family, her lifelong church and her favorite Starbucks. She is seeing how great and awesome and mighty and all-sufficient God is. Her desire is to be conformed to Christ, and it hurts; but all growth involves pain.

As she continued, another memory surfaced. I thought back to a trip home from church one sunset evening when Sarah was four. She was strapped safely in the front seat, while my infant son was securely fastened in the back car-seat, sleeping. She chatted happily as the setting sun shone on her, a fragile figure sitting next to me. I observed her tousled, blond-streaked curls and looked into her golden-flecked eyes. Her simple beauty took my breath away.

I then thought of the time when I cried out to God because my little, seven-year-old girl could tell a lie better than a con-man.

“Lord, I know that Sarah is one of your children, and I can’t tell when she’s lying. I know that she has the Holy Spirit living inside of her. Please convict her of deceit!”

The next day, we were in the car alone.

“Mommy, I have something to tell you. I’ve been taking candy from the bag that you keep in the hallway and hiding the wrappers in the trash. I just wanted you to know. I’m sorry.”

I had no idea. I thanked her, thanked the Lord, and moved the candy.

Then there was the day that we chucked our home schooling lessons and went to the beach because Sarah was no longer a child. We strolled along, watching the birds, picking up shells. She asked me some difficult questions.

“Mom, did you ever have sex before you were married?”

We kept walking. A seagull flew by and called out. A pelican glided into the water with an abrupt ending. Our eyes were fixed straight ahead.

“Yes, Sissy, I did. And I regret that. It was a sin, like any other sin, and God has forgiven me.”

The only thing I knew how to do was tell the truth—about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy—and my promiscuousness.

Then Sarah entered the combat zone when we seemed to do battle, constantly. Nothing I did was right. Nothing I said was appropriate.

My parents had moved in with us and shortly after, my father lost one leg and then the other due to diabetes. I picked up the ball with them, but I dropped the ball with my little girl…We lived in the same house, but I wasn’t really there. And she needed me.

God was gracious and sent others along to help, guide and encourage her. He carried me during that time, too; and now, we’re healing. And I like it.