On Tuesday, the kids grabbed #2 pencils and bubble sheets and we set about coloring in all the right answers. I walked the room and answered questions while a sweet friend rallied the little crazies and hushed them quiet.
It was hours of quiet noise and silent tears and broken pencil points.
And I learned something.
I’m not half bad at this homeschool gig.
These kids of mine might just not fail the CAT test this year.
And I might just have to give myself an end-of-the-year gift for being such an awesome teacher. Maybe a mani-pedi. Or maybe I’ll pay someone to do my hair.
(I’ve been cutting my own hair since June of 2011. True story.)
But I also learned something else and it had nothing to do with vocabulary or comprehension or bubble sheets.
I learned that sometimes when we want Jesus to remove the thorn in our flesh, He simply says, No.
The kids burned off calories and licked popsicles in the backyard, and we lingered at the table, finishing up lunch. She talked a blue streak and I matched her, almost word for word. And there were also moments of no words. Just thoughtful silence. The exchange flowed effortlessly and it was life-giving.
It was a gift the way the conversation worked.
I talked my jumble of emotions into broken thoughts and somehow they all came together in midair. I saw her nod, not in approval, but in recognition that she had heard me.
That she understood my heart.
I kept on talking and she helped me to make sense of my nonsense and she spoke some truth where it was needed. When she gathered her things to go, I had something liken to closure.
Not closure like something was over, but closure in that I would not continue to plead for something.
For over a year, I’ve been praying and asking the Lord to remove a certain thing from my life. I’ve wanted relief, some indication that there was an end date in sight. I’ve been angry and resentful and angry some more. I’ve felt quite unloved.
I’ve begged for mercy, insisting that I could not bear this thing in it’s current state.
But God has repeatedly said no.
He has said His grace is sufficient for me. That the very thing I want Him to remove from my life is the very thing that keeps me on my knees.
And sometimes flat on my face.
And y’all, that’s mercy and grace and immense love, all wrapped up in this one gift~
A thorn in my flesh.
In the morning, I stand at the mirror and I touch my own skin and I feel very much covered in love.
And who would have ever known a thorn could feel so good…