by the Night Writer
As with Job, that which I have feared came upon me.
Today was the day that had long been foretold and expected; my oldest daughter’s last day in our church. I had originally had a vision of this day coming about 11 years ago, and 18 months ago we had had a preview of this as the Mall Diva and Son@Night prepared to begin his pastoral internship (see the link for details) at a church in Savage, MN, but today was the real thing. S@N was officially ordained last weekend in a ceremony in his home church in Alexandria and they are leaving on Tuesday for their new ministry in Iowa. Today was the day our church finally laid our hands on them to impart our blessing in sending them on their way, hopefully lacking in nothing.
Despite the ample warning I was having trouble this week preparing for the inevitable. It began at last week’s ordination service as I met a group from the Iowa congregation that had come to Alex for the ceremony. Given the way I feel about my daughters, I started to say to the leader of the group, “We are giving you our best” but my throat got too tight. Perhaps it’s better for them to come to this revelation for themselves. A couple of times at work this week I was nearly overcome as I thought about today, but fortunately no one came into my office at those times and my phone didn’t ring. My wife and I have always tried to have the perspective that our parenting is a stewardship of what God has given us, knowing that we’d have to pass them on at some point. It’s a worthy objective, but when you start to get close to that time the mix gets lean on theory and long on reality and sometimes your thoughts close in on yourself.
This morning I was thinking about all of this and asking for strength for the service when I felt God say to me, “Your problem is you are looking at this in terms of what you are losing, when you should be looking at it as what you are giving.”
Of course. Ah, of course.
I’ve experienced the spiritual phenomenon — so contrary to the “natural” way of the world — of giving time and money and seeing these multiplied back to me so often in so many ways that there’s almost never a second thought now when an opportunity to do one or the other arises. But Matthew 6:21 also tells us that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Time and money are one thing, but perhaps now we were getting down to the treasure closest to the heart and hardest to part with. But truly, I could no more withhold this than any of the other, nor expect any less to come back to me in return. In truth, I had given this long ago when we had set our feet on this path, putting in motion the desire of our heart to see God glorified and his plan come to pass; a path that also included my daughter making her own choices and embracing her destiny. And all of this in the realization of how much we had already received even before we had given a thing.