Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Taller Now!

I must confess.

No, not about that...I didn't actually get busted involved in that.

I meant I need to confess the other thing--
the-stretching-the-Truth-in-creative-ways thing.

What do I mean?
Here is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g
that I've pulled since 1990 when 2 year old Jonathan asked for another cookie:
"I'm sorry, honey. There aren't anymore cookies in there for you."

No lie involved. 
Yes, there were cookies in there. No, they were not for him.

Here is my confession: 

I told Maylin that 
she needed to be taller before she could go to school.

Back in August when we all got home from China, and the dust settled and the suitcases found their nitches, and everyone else traipsed off to schools, how could I explain that she didn't get to go?
She's the shortest in the family, and she doesn't attend "real school" yet.
She'll be taller next year when she does attend. 
If I said she needed to be older, how do I explain that she'll start school next year
when she is STILL 6... just like she is now?

How do I explain that birth dates don't always coincide
with school calendars and entrance requirements? So, she needs to be taller.

Seemed reasonable to me. 
Seemed reasonable to her.

about 2 months ago, Maylin  began comparing herself with the height of others.
She loved to see that the top of her head reached just under Matt's chin.
She giggled to see where she fell on Beth's frame.
She cackled to be atop Austin and view the world seated on his shoulders.

And then she compared herself with her friend from church, we'll call S.
They had been together on the weekend, and Maylin had obviously done her comparing.

I will forever remember the moment of recognition
as it crossed her face after dinner later that week.
"My taller," head bobbed in the affirmative. "My go school. S. go school."
The light dawned in her eyes that maybe she'd been had,
 and Maylin furrowed her brow slightly and met my eyes.
"S. go school," she accused. "I taller S."

The Moment of true Truth,
my reckoning, 
had arrived.

With Maylin's expanded English vocabulary, I was free to explain why her friend
could go to school, while she had to wait a while.

"Yes," I sympathized. "S. is taller. But when school starts, the teacher takes your age, divides it by your country of origin, subtracts your level of English proficiency, and then asks your Mom what she thinks." Big, encouraging smile from the Mama, "So next year, you'll be taller to go to school!"

True Story.

I've enjoyed that story in my head for the past several weeks, and I even shared it with S's mom on Facebook, but while I was studying God's Word today with a (delightful, young, Asian) friend we read a verse that brought Maylin's love of comparing herself back to mind.

We were discussing God's instructions through the Apostle Paul to the Church in Ephesus regarding the purpose of the Church. Ephesians 4:11-16 can be roughly paraphrased to say that Jesus gave
varied gifts
to different people
in order for them to do God's work individually,
and to also build up the maturity of other believers in their unique ways.
He desires us to  "come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son
that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord,
measuring up to the full stature of Christ."
If we believers become spiritual grown ups, we won't be confused by hearing new or unusual teachings and we'll "hold the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ..."

So the variety pack that we call our local church
has been purposely brought together by God to do His work
help each other grow up
can only happen as we choose unity and maturity with each other
the stuff that confuses new Christ-followers

...which then
gives us the ability to know Truth and Love in the same package.
(For this Mama, that description says FAMILY.)

I truly love the people in my local church. I love to worship with them. I love to pray with them and for them. I love to know when life is smooth for them, and do what I can to be encouraging when life is not smooth. I get jazzed when sharing God's truth with other women. I frequently praise God for specific people in my congregation while we sing together: some of us have enough History together that just being in the same room warms my soul with what God has and is doing in their life. I want to emulate the character of many of them. 

I love being where God has put me--in a church FAMILY.

As much as some of those church people have taught me His Word, have encouraged me to live what I know, have spoken truth into my heart and shepherded my life, my only measuring stick of
 How'm I doin' is

the full stature of Christ. 

 Last year, I might have been up to the belt on Jesus' robe.
This year, maybe I'll hit His armpit (giggle, giggle) 
I do like the thought of my ear right up against His heart, listening.
Hopefully, I'll have the top of my head tucked under His chin in the future.

(This gives me the the visual of a mini-me who is Maylin's height and a Jesus who is Austin's height...and if I compare myself to Him, I don't think I'll grow to be tucked under His chin for a few more decades. Unless, of course, I'm on His lap.)

I want to measure myself against the standard of
"becoming more and more in every way like Christ..."
so I can hold the Truth with a passionate Love.

I look forward to the day I can proudly say,
Look, Jesus! My taller now.

And totally off topic, I think carbohydrates may be my one weakness.