The Nap Mat

Mary Fairchild, who works in the LCS Admissions office, walked into my office a few weeks ago and handed me my older son’s nap mat from his kindergarten school year.  You can imagine my shock since my son is currently a senior in high school and I haven’t seen this nap mat in 13 years.  Mary explained that my husband had given her the nap mat for her grandson to use when he was in her office, but she no longer needed it and wanted to know if I wanted it back.  As I held the nap mat, I noticed where I had written Brock’s name so many years ago, and all of the emotions that I felt back then immediately came rushing back. 

I remember the anxiety and fear that I felt as I prepared to send my first child to kindergarten.  It felt like I was standing at the bottom of a huge mountain, holding all the supplies needed for the climb (all neatly labeled…including each individual crayon). Would he make friends?  Would he miss me?  Would he do well academically?  Would his teacher treat him well?  It’s funny, because as I navigate college visits, SAT scores, and graduation requirements, I find that I feel exactly the same way that I felt when I was preparing to send my son to his first day of kindergarten.  Once again, I find that I am standing at the bottom of a mountain, the supplies needed are different, but I am trying to prepare as best I can.  I feel sad that time has passed by so quickly, excited for the new journey that he will embark on, and terrified all at the same time.  I am facing the unknown and have no idea what I am doing and if either of us will survive.  The mountain, once again looks huge.

I can look back now throughout my son’s 13 years at Lakeland Christian and see how we struggled through many highs and lows.  There were years with friend struggles, years that I prayed that he would have a group to sit with at lunch, years that I was in tears trying to help him with math homework, and years of praying for playing time in basketball games.  In contrast, there were years where friends were plenty, years where I saw spiritual growth, years where he stepped up as a leader, and years where he excelled academically.  And through it all, God was faithful.

There are others who have stood at the bottom of a mountain, looking up at the task before them.  I am reminded of Moses who God asked to go to Egypt and ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites be set free.  Moses asked God, “Who am I?”  God responds by saying, “I will be with you.”  Moses asks “What will I say when they ask who has sent me?”  God responds with, “I AM WHO I AM-Yahweh the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has sent me to you.”  Moses worries that they won’t believe him or listen to him, and God, in His kindness, gives him a miraculous sign when he turns his staff into a snake and then back into a staff.  This would show that Moses was coming with God’s power.  Moses says, “I am not very good with words, what if I get tongue-tied?”  God answers, “Who makes a person’s mouth and controls everything they can and can’t do?”  Finally, Moses asks God to send someone else, and God tells Moses that his brother Aaron will go with him. 

I can’t help but think of others who have stood at the bottom of that mountain and had what felt like an impossible task before them.  I think of how Noah must have felt when he was told to build an ark for the flood that was coming.  I am reminded of Jonah, who was told to tell the people of Nineveh about God…he had to get swallowed by a whale and thrown up on the shore before he obeyed, but he got there.  I think of Mary who was told that she would carry the son of God.  I can’t imagine all of the uncertainty, doubt and fear that each of these people felt as they climbed their mountain. 

So, what about you?  What mountain are you standing at the bottom of preparing to tackle?  Maybe it’s a difficult health diagnosis, maybe it’s a child who is struggling, maybe it’s a marriage that feels like it’s hopeless, maybe it’s just the next phase of life, but it feels terrifying.  Whatever it is, remember that you don’t need to conquer the mountain in one day.  Remember that God is faithful, and He will be with you each step of the way.  Look forward to the day that you can look down on that mountain from the peak and see that although the hike wasn’t without struggle, God was using it to shape you, sanctify you, and change you into His likeness.