paths that lead home

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Today I was remembering when my daughter Linds was in kindergarten – as my children (not children anymore) grow and time starts to go by faster and faster, I seem to do a lot more remembering!

One of the skills she had to demonstrate when she was in kindergarten was knowing her home address.  Lindsay had always been a free spirit, independent in a good way, but she wasn’t ever difficult, really.  Not until we asked her to memorize her home address.  We practiced all the time – at the breakfast table, in the car, at dinner, on walks.  We showed her the mailbox and made flashcards… She did well in school, but not when it came to her home address!  Her teacher would call me: “Jennifer, we’re going to be assessing this week – practice Lindsay’s home address please!  Let’s mark this completed on her report card!”  I tried, but Lindsay wasn’t having it.

All year long, she struggled.  All year long, I tried to figure out why we couldn’t get this ONE thing. Every report card came with an “incomplete” in that one box.  As kindergarten drew to a close, her teacher made the final call – this would be the last time, this grade would be on the final report card.  We got ready for school, and got in the car.  “Lindsay, honey, say it after me: 4-2-6-5….” I said it real loud and real slow, as if the problem was her English skills, not her address.  Finally, Lindsay said something that clicked the light bulb in my brain ON: “Mommy, if I need to come home, won’t you just please help me?”  I didn’t have to think long to give her an answer: “Yes, baby, if you need to come home, Mommy will help you.” We stopped practicing her home address and I called her teacher – go ahead and mark that spot “incomplete”, and yes, I’m aware that this is the final report card.  If Lindsay needs to come home, I’m just going to help her.

I understood then why Lindsay hadn’t yet learned her home address: it just wasn’t important to her.  She might not have known those numbers, but she knew someone who did: if she needed to come home, her mommy would help her.  I’m happy to report that she has since learned her home address (pretty shortly after this, I’m sure!), and that this “incomplete” on a kindergarten report card hasn’t hindered her progress in life (these things become less and less important as time goes by!).  I’m mostly happy to report that I was the one who learned a lesson on that day, and it has stuck with me all these years: it’s important to know things for yourself, but it is just as important (if not more important) to know the source of the needed information.

Jesus once told His disciples, “I have much more to say to you, but it is more than you can now bear” (John 16:15).  He knew that they couldn’t handle all He had to say, and He was asking them to trust Him to carry the knowledge for them until they were ready.  It is the same with us today.  We cannot understand all that is happening in our world, all that is happening spiritually – but we can strive to know Jesus intimately and stay as close to His heart as we can.  If we need to get Home, won’t He just help us?  Sure He will!

Lindsay wasn’t being difficult at all – she was trusting me.  As soon as she grew a little more, she was able to handle a little more, and she did come to understand the importance of knowing her address herself – but first, she understood the importance of knowing who had the necessary knowledge and she stayed close.  We can take a lesson: learn as much as we can, try as hard as we can, but when we come to the end of ourselves (and still come up short, as we will come up short), stay close to the One Who has the information we need.  He will help us.

Want to take it one step further?  I have a favorite verse in Isaiah that says,  “the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not” (58:11) and you shall be “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the paths to dwell in” (58:13).  Another translation says the “restorer of the paths that lead home”.  How lovely.  Where there was once lack, God gives increase.  Where there was once weakness, God gives strength.  Where there was once homelessness, God made His children the very ones who restore the paths that lead home again.  That’s us – the restorers of the paths that lead home!

Wherever you are on your journey, there is cause for encouragement.  Maybe you are where my little-kindergarten-Lindsay once was – not sure you could recall your address yourself, but you are trusting the One who can and you are staying close to Him.  Beautiful!  Maybe you have grown past this point: you have the information yourself, and coupled with a close walk with Jesus, you are able to help others who are on the way home as well – restoring the path before them with your example and faithfulness.  Wonderful!

If you need to find your way home, you have a Savior who will help you!  Trust Him and stay close ❤ The ability to do so is a treasure!  Praying you find your way home in confidence and peace – God is so generous and kind to us!

Jennifer 🙂

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