Making mistakes is a part of life. Not just the growing-up part, but the whole thing. I doubt that I will ever reach a stage in life where I am satisfied with all of the decisions I make when it comes to what I say and do.
The key (or more so, a sign of maturity) is to make sure that we learn from them, right? To avoid making the same mistake(s) multiple times.
Most of the major ones, I think we probably all try to end up avoiding recurrences. Eat some of that pepper that can’t be touched with bare skin, lay your hand down on a hot stovetop, ask a lady that isn’t pregnant when she is due to give birth. In other words, mistakes that lead to a great deal of physical pain.
I guess I could stop using the word “mistake” here, too. You could just insert the word “lesson” and be just as accurate. But, it’s all semantics and all in how you approach it.
Never knowing which of the clan I will use as an illustration, this time it’s JP’s turn (at least I think it was JP. . . I will correct this if I am told it was actually Gabe). (Don’t judge me by the way, especially all of you one- or two-kid families. Just don’t.)
A year or two after we moved to the house we live in now, the boys had been out playing and possibly even riding. By the time they had decided to come in, it was dark out and the barn is a good 250 yards from the front door of the house. I don’t think they were nervous about coming in, but they were in no mood to drag their feet in the dark pasture, which led them to run towards the house.
If you’ve ever gone from a room with lights on to one that doesn’t have any on, especially at night, you know that it takes your eyes a bit to adjust. After a few minutes, you can probably manage, but it’s pretty stinking dark at first. Well, young JP left the lighted barn for the house, but hadn’t made that adjustment yet as he sprinted through the pasture. He had forgotten about the fence not too far away from the barn, with only a walk-through gate. Not sure if you’ve guessed it yet, but. . . WHAM. . . he slammed face first into the field wire.
(Quick aside lesson for those that need it. Field wire – or hog wire – is the fencing that is just that – wire squares big enough for a mouse or rabbit to go through, but not a dog or larger animal. Certainly not barbed wire. Just a public service explanation. He was in pain, but we’re not talking carnage.)
By the time he got to the house, a little scratched up and reeeallly ticked off, he was rightfully shaken up for the four or five years old that he was at the time. If you’ve parented long, you find that your first job is to try to get a little one in an injured state distracted from why they are ticked off. It’s easier to assess the true degree of seriousness if there aren’t as many tears, screams, or all-out conniptions going on. While there’s no script for this, it can’t be too far-fetched or they won’t pay attention while at the same time at least getting their mind at least a little distracted.
I’m not sure what led me down this path, but once I heard the recap of how he had gotten into his current predicament, I stopped and talked to him with a very serious face and tone. “Boy,” I told him, “there are three things that you should never do and you just did one of them.” I had his attention, but wasn’t sure what my three things were just yet. I just knew I needed him to calm down. So, I just gave him a conjured list on the spot. Here were my three things that you should never do:
1 – Never eat yellow snow. (We don’t get a ton of snow in West Tennessee, but this one has always been a rule)
2 – Never spit into the wind. (Really, this goes for any liquids, especially those that leave the body. Spit seemed age-appropriate.)
3 – Never run in the dark.
Just to prove that some of the most memorable moments can’t be planned, the kids still have this fabricated list memorized. In fact, just this past summer, I came up on Gabe as he was wiping something off his bare chest standing outside. I asked what it was and he responded, “You told us not to spit in the wind. I just forgot.” But, running in the dark and eating yellow snow have been avoided according to our medical records since that list was declared. Lesson(s) learned, perhaps.
I bring this up because I apparently can be a little stubborn when it comes to learning my lesson sometimes.
As it has been noted (if through nothing else but the existence of this blog), we started our adoption journey, publicly, over two and a half years ago. But, in truth, it started over three years ago. I started to feel God’s urging and asked the question of Him – “what would you have us do, God?”
Sounds like a reasonable question that could be asked by any of us to God. But, His answer obviously changed our course. We had underestimated sleeping until the alarm sounded, walking past the diaper aisle at Wal-Mart, and not having to carry a whole corner of the house anytime we traveled with it’s lightest and youngest inhabitant. All of those things have become not only reminders, but reality as we look back on the last year, the only one of Kane’s existence.
Asking that question of God will undoubtedly lead to one thing – His answer. That’s the danger and the blessing all wrapped in one. Have the lives, the realities, and the routines that Jaclyn and I had come to understand and grow accustomed to changed in the past two years? Ab-so-freakin-lutely. But, has my walk with Christ, my joy in Him, and my reliance on His provision changed as well? Funny how that works.
So, here we are to the topic at hand. Not knowing what God’s specific answer was going to be, but at least already knowing that He would have one, I felt God’s urging again in the past few weeks. No, we aren’t going to make Kane a big brother anytime soon (I mean, c’mon God. . . c’mon). But I felt like He was asking me to do something. So, I asked Him to show me, specifically, what that would be.
So, this coming Thursday, I am speaking in Nashville about the Scotts’ adoption experience. While it’s not a huge event, I do feel that it’s right in line with what God wants me to do. Take our experience, take what God has done for us and through us, and share it with whomever He lays in front of me.
Like most adoptive families, we applied for what felt like hundreds of grants to help offset some of the costs associated with the process. This speaking engagement is at a fundraiser for the one grant that we blindly applied for that we actually received. So, while I will be there to help put a face to what they do, no doubt, I know that God will allow me to use the opportunity to say – look what happens when you follow God. No, it’s not easy. No, it won’t solve all of your problems. And no, it won’t mean that you won’t have some new problems. But, yes, yes, yes – His plan is perfect and He has one for all of us.
So, while I’m again reminded that He will return a prayer of request for duty with marching orders, I’m also continuously encouraged that His will is right where I want to be. Learning both of those lessons makes me want to run in the dark, regardless of what the world says I should be doing. It might hurt, but the rewards outweigh the pain.
So, what is God urging you to do? It won’t be for your glory, but for His. But, what a reward! Pray earnestly that you are listening both for and to His voice and that you have the boldness and the desire to step out and say, “Yes, Lord,” when you do hear it. Maybe it’s an invitation to a foreign country. Maybe it’s an invitation back home. Maybe it’s just to be the child of God He intended, to walk more closely to Him.
Whether it feels like the request is a big one, or a small one. . . His plans are big plans – but you can’t take a walk without step one.
“Pay careful attention then to how you walk – not as unwise people, but as wise – making the most of the time because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”