Our 12 year old daughter is away at camp. She boarded the bus very early in the morning on Wednesday and I barely got a chance to say “have a great time”. I stuffed notes and little gifts in her suitcase, prayers written out for everyday. It is a way for us to be connected, even being states apart. She was half excited and half nervous having never been away from home for so long or being so far away. I felt the same way too. Letting a piece of your heart leave is not easy.
This child was our first redhead, which comes with a unique personality. While the color is rare and can not be duplicated, it makes her stand out. Some girls would like this, but not Anna Kate. She would rather remain in the shadows with her quiet ways and genius mind. Drama doesn’t suit her and it surprised us all when she announced she was trying out for a part in the school play. She got three small roles and shine she did on stage. Every now and again, as her mom, I like to have my kids noticed by others. It feels a bit like sharing a gift that I get to see all the time.
Sending the gift of her off, feels a bit like sharing too. I also know that she will grow during this time. She will hear teachings from God’s word, spend more daily time with Him and have fun. By the way, being a Christian is extremely fun! I don’t understand the mindset of unbelievers that think they have to give up fun if they accept salvation. It is quite the opposite. Freedom and accepting love is incredibly fun! She will experience this at camp and I pray she comes home desiring to continue to grow deep roots of being loved by God.
One thing I’ve noticed about this little redhead is her compassionate heart. You will often find her sitting with the precious special needs kids at school. She gets invited to their birthday parties and loves walking alongside these friends daily. It spills over to how she treats her brothers and sisters too. The younger ones look to her for help and direction. She takes them all under her little wing and spends so much time with them. It isn’t in a bossy way, just sweet and caring. I love this about her. They respond well to being loved like this. We all do.
When I watch her, I see a bit of the “good samaritan” story recorded in the Bible. The book of Luke tells this parable and is believed to be written by none other than Luke himself. He was a doctor and follower of Christ. In chapter 10, Jesus is answering the question asked of him by “an expert of the law”. This man “stood up to test him, saying, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers with a question. “What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?” The expert answers, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25-27). This expert had the head knowledge, but it sounds to me that Jesus was after his heart.
Jesus responds and you think that will be the end of the discussion. “You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live”. (Luke 10:28). However, the man shows his real motive in the very next exchange. “But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). I love this part. Jesus begins to tell a story that hopefully sinks into this experts heart and to all of those listening. He tells of a man going on a trip and being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This traveler gets beaten up, stripped, robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest, a supposed very religious person of that day, literally moves to the other side of the road to pass by. A Levite happens by and does the same thing. “But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denari, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.” (Luke 10:33-35).
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? “The one that showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36-37). I wrote last time about a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus face to face. This Samaritan being spoken of here acts like Jesus in how he treats the hurting, broken man. Do we do the same or are we like the “move to the other side of the road” type? I can say that Anna Kate lives out mercy. It is a heart response, but I not quite sure she recognizes it yet. A prayer I have for her is that she will be secure in how God has uniquely crafted her. Mercy is part of how He has made her.
Anna Kate, may you continue to pour out mercy at home and school. Keep seeing the broken and the ones not always included. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and do what He did. Keep moving to side of the road, where the hurting lay or the cafeteria table that isn’t always popular, and make yourself at home. Keep being you. We can hardly wait for you to get home!!