I woke up the Sunday before the first day of school with a heart full. My heart was full of worry and anxiety and stress! Would my two kids have good first days on Monday?
My worries and questions were long and many. Would my junior high daughter have friends in any of her classes? Would she like her teachers? Will her teachers be so hard and strict they take the joy out of learning? Will a mean girl target her with harsh words? Will she find friends to sit with at lunch? Will she get lost finding her classes?
Would my 3rd grade son have teachers that understand the complexities of his learning style? Would he find a friend or two in his class? Would he enjoy his day and want to go back or will I pick up a boy who hates school and I have to convince him to return for another 179 days? Will this be his year to break out and really get a handle on reading and writing? Will he have a teacher that is an encourager and boosts his confidence? Will he have fun at recess?
I carried all these thoughts and questions in my heart as I sat down at my computer to do a morning check of email, facebook and news headlines. One caught me and sent a wave of conviction sweeping over me. It wasn’t a new headline but it gave this suburban mom some much needed perspective.
The headline was about the continued slaughter of Christians in Iraq. Christians fleeing for their very lives to seek refuge from the evil that is ISIS.
I know that Iraqi Christian moms are not worried about any of the things I woke up worried about. Sure, she would love to have these simple worries, but her worries are more of the survival type wondering if she and her children will make it through another day.
I know that even if my children come home after the first day of school and have the classic book tale’s “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” that we will cry it out together and then we will hug each other and eat cookies and sit down around our dinner table and pray to Jesus and we will do all of this in the safety of our Christian home that today is safe from being overrun by ISIS.
I hold on to the same Jesus these Iraqi women do despite our very different worries and concerns. I am confident that God walks with both of us through our anxious times. I’m not beginning to think that my worries are even in the same ballpark as hers, but I trust the same Jesus as she does. I stand in awe of her that she would not waver from declaring Jesus as her Savior even in the face of death!
What can I do? I’m a suburban housewife. I want all these Iraqi Christians to be safe and fed and free to worship Jesus. I do not have connections to politicians or authority to lead military campaigns. My heart aches for the pain and hunger and fear that fills their days. We read in the Bible that Christians will be persecuted. We are! I stand with them, but can’t begin to understand the kind of persecution they are suffering through. So I return to the question of : What Can I Do?
What can I do? I can’t help but think those Iraqi Christian moms would look me in the eye and say “teach your children to love Jesus” because only after they love Jesus can they serve Him faithfully. See, these Iraqi Christians get it! They know what it is to live out your faith even at the cost of death. They know how important Jesus is and that nothing, absolutely nothing, should come between you and Jesus Christ!
Tomorrow is the first day of school and I know that I will still turn my head when I drop off my 3rd grader so he won’t see the tear slip down my cheek as I remember it was just yesterday I was dropping him off at Kindergarten. When I turn my head, I will take a moment to think how much he will grow and change and mature over the next 9 months and be just a little bit sad about it. I will do all of this as I keep in my heart these dear Iraqi Christian moms and because of them I also pledge to be bold in my faith. Sometimes I don’t let people know that I love Jesus. I don’t always even know why. Maybe I’m scared of what they will say or perhaps it is what they will not say. Maybe I’m fearful of being looked upon or treated differently. Whatever it is I’m going to strive to be a bold woman of faith like my sisters in Christ that are residing in Iraq.
So while I will walk alongside my daughter as she learns Algebra and Spanish and my son learns place value and how to construct a proper paragraph, I will also teach them about Jesus! I will not leave this to church leaders or Bible Studies. I will do my part as a parent and actively engage my children to be bold in their faith and to love Jesus no matter the cost!
I will actively do Deutronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
This year I am going to let all of my kids’ teachers know that I’m actively praying for them. I predict one of several responses. They will tell me thank you and how much they appreciate it. Secondly they will tell me thank you and awkwardly change the subject. Thirdly, they will say nothing. Finally they may choose to be openly hostile to my child. These are all suburban realities and I’m ready for it. So are my kids! I got their permission to tell their teachers I’m praying for them.
Join me this school year and let’s stand for TRUTH. I want the teachers, PTO and everyone else I encounter in the schools to know I LOVE JESUS. I don’t feel like I’ve been hiding it but I certainly haven’t been promoting the fact either. I don’t need everyone to be a lover of Jesus (although I highly recommend it) but I need people to know I do love Him just as sure as they know I drive around town in a dirty black Honda Odyssey.
I plan to be active in my faith in a new and deeper and more apparent way. It’s a new beginning not just for new subjects and teachers and classes but a new beginning in how we live our faith. Let’s do this together. A group of Christians standing boldly together for Jesus Christ can not fail!