It’s the evening before school starts. I’m getting supper ready, pulling something from the fridge, when little Molly appears in the kitchen. True to form, she hasn’t said much about going to school yet; she thinks a lot but doesn’t express her feelings as much.
She’s also a homebody who isn’t fond of change. She knows her BFF from last year is not in her class this year, so she has much to ponder.
I look up from the fridge as she comes toward me, face sad, eyes downcast.
“I don’t want to go to school,” she says, and the downpour begins. She cries and cries and cries. She doesn’t cry often, but when she does, it comes from the depths. I wrap my arms around her and hold her close.
“I know. I’m sorry. Mommy knows. It’s gonna be OK.”
All I want to do is take away her pain, make her feel better. But words are not needed right now; comfort is.
We move to the green chair—the place we always retreat when Mama-Molly time is desperately needed. She burrows into my arms and sobs. She looks up, face tearstained and glasses foggy.
What’s a mom to do? I could lecture her about how she had to go to school so she just needs to buck up. But I know how she feels. I’m not a fan of change either. In college, it took me a good three weeks to adjust to my new routine—every semester!
“Some people are like me and you, we take longer to get used to things,” I tell her. “But you know what? You will get used to it. You will. You always do.”
Fifteen minutes and a few prayers later, the tears dry up, the smile comes back and my little Molly bounces off to do something in her room, while I go back to the kitchen to continue supper.
Later, I wonder if this is how God feels when I’m facing something hard (or frustrating or exhausting) and think I can’t take it anymore. I collapse in the green chair and cry, or sit at the kitchen island with my head in my hands, or wander aimlessly around the backyard.
Wherever I am, my heavenly Father is right there with me. He knows how much I hurt, and He hurts with me. How could he not? He created me. He knows what I’m feeling because He gave me the capacity to feel those feelings.
And yet, He knows what I’m facing is necessary. For whatever reason, it’s happening because it’s needed. Maybe for me, maybe for someone else; maybe now, maybe later. I don’t know, and maybe I’ll never know.
But He does. That’s comforting, but so is His presence. His Word. His promise that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Even when I am sad.
• • • • • •
For the last several years, we’ve pretty much followed the routine I just described every time Molly has gone back to school after any kind of extended break. The green chair was eventually replaced by her room and a call for me to “come up here for you-know-what,” but it was basically the same story over and over.
Until this year.
When she went back to school after Christmas break, there were no tears. No sadness. No time in the chair or on her bed, quietly repeating the same reassuring truths we’ve gone over time and again.
It happened so quietly I almost missed it.
My little girl is growing up, and while my heart might resist that at times (it is change, after all), it’s also a joy to watch this process unfold in her life.
Plus, the green chair will always be there, just in case we ever need it.