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Dear Little Man in the Bible Club

September 9, 2010

Little boy of mine,



I was watching you tonight.

In that Bible club at church.

It was the first time I’ve had the guts to do something such as a Bible club since things fell apart a few years ago and my view of the world and church was shaken, remolded, renewed.

I was proud of myself, Little Man, for deciding to not only let you be a part of this, but for agreeing to teach your tiny preschooler class. It was a huge step for me, and we were going to make it count.

I had it, planted firmly in my mind, how this night would turn out.

I thought back, to when you were a tiny baby, and those times I had imagined you, taller and talking, old enough to participate in the Bible clubs of our churches.

Back then, several years ago, during that era in which innocence reigned, I knew you would be the good kid, the “churched” kid, the one who knew all his verses, wore his pressed uniform, and sat quietly, obediently, listening to the story. I imagined you with your hair neatly combed and swept to the side on a Wednesday night, face clean and Bible in hand. I didn’t question it, because that’s just the way we did things…

…back then.

Tonight we went to Bible club, Little Man. You were so excited. You’ve been asking for days if this was the day.

We barely made it out the door on time. Your brother was crying from a late nap and a hurried supper. I sighed. My heart was rushed.

We walked in the glass doors, a bag of notebooks and colorful papers slung behind my shoulder, and you promptly announced that you had forgotten your Bible. I sighed. I had forgotten. Where was my brain?

We walked up the stairs to the tiny classroom and I caught a glimpse of your milk mustache. I sighed. I hadn’t even wiped your face.

You found a seat with the other little people and we slowly started the first night of your much anticipated Bible class. I fumbled my way through the lesson I had thought I was prepared for, and searched for papers I hadn’t realized I would need. I sighed. I didn’t have it all together.

You were antsy. You wiggled. You got out of your seat. You talked too soon. You were irritated with your brother and made angry faces. I sighed. You weren’t making this easy.

We played games on a colorful square and you weren’t sure how to play. You wanted to do everything right away and didn’t stop to listen for directions. I sighed. You were causing a scene.

Where was that boy I’d imagined? The one who would do everything just right and would look the part?

We went home.

Me? Defeated.

You? Thrilled.

I put you to bed and was cross, frustrated and mourning the loss of my expectations.

I knelt beside your bed and you wrapped your little arms around my neck in the dim light.

Mama?” you whispered, your lips close to my ear. “That was so much fun. Thanks for teaching me that Jesus loves me more than anything tonight.

And then

I cried.



Surrender. Of my ideals, expectations and my ingrained need for perfection.

Love. Of Jesus, of the precious people on this earth, including my own family and even people who have hurt me.

God has me camped out on those two these days.

It is hard. And it is good.



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21 Comments »

  1. Elizabeth in Alaska says:

    Dear Ash, I had such similar expectations: but mine is the son with the un-brushed hair on Sundays, the milk mustache, and the loud, exuberant voice that makes me want to hide. The son that throws tantrums in public. And the one that loves to read out of his bible-story book and say his prayers. :) This mothering thing is so much harder than I ever thought it would be… but maybe, through it, I’ll actually learn to know God’s love.

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 1:31 am

  2. sarge charlie says:

    what a lucky little boy to have a mother like you. i feel sorry for all the other little boys.

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 7:19 am

  3. Bekah says:

    Ashleigh,

    I rarely comment here, though I am a faithful reader. But today I felt impressed that the Lord would say to you this: When your heart is overwhelmed, He is leading you to The Rock that is higher than you are. Cry out to Him, just as David did in Psalm 61, saying, “Hear my cry, O God: Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call unto Thee…” Cry out to the Rock of your salvation. Your sure foundation. He alone is constant. Immovable. Steadfast.

    Praying for you.

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 7:48 am

  4. Jenni says:

    Isn’t it amazing how God ministers to us through little things like this? Your story almost made ME cry. Blessing on your day, dear amiga! :)

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 7:56 am

  5. Jen says:

    I like you.

    SO much.

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 8:56 am

  6. Jessica Bish says:

    had tears in my eyes by the end… reading the story of my heart. A little secret… anyone else who saw you there – thought you had it totally together! We are the ones who are just too hard on ourselves each and every day. The ladies that we see who we think have it together… are also comparing themselves to someone else they think has it together (which might even be you!). Hugs…

    Jess

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 9:36 am

  7. Your Astounding Brother says:

    Yo. You are the most legit person I know. I love how you admit you’ve got issues but continue to love and serve God every day. You inspire me Sis. I love you so much. You are awesome! See you Monday!

    [Reply]

    sara sophia Reply:

    Your brother IS quite astounding.
    I just wanted to confirm.

    You Ash are also VERY LEGIT, yo. And you are the rizzle thizzle (or real thing for those who don’t speak GANGSTA) and most definitely the Awesomest of Sauce.

    I wish I was going to see you Monday.

    –Cordie

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

  8. Carrie says:

    Ashleigh,
    So glad to know someone else’s momma forgets to wipe faces sometimes!

    I forget so often that what is thrilling to the little ones is so.simple. It doesn’t much matter if we think it comes off “just right.”

    You did great.
    Carrie

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

  9. Samantha R says:

    Makes me want to cry too.
    How often we have these expectations of perfection and how often God teaches us that it’s okay to let go of those ideals and just let HIM…
    And how true.
    Jesus loves us more than anything.
    Oh, out of the mouth of babes!

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

  10. Ginger says:

    Ashleigh,
    I know I am just a single gal living at home. Sometimes I can’t realte to the mommy posts and wife posts however I always seem to find somthing in those posts that I can relate too.

    But this evening as I read your post I couldn’t help but feel the tears crawl up my throat.

    I feel that way sometimes when I am teaching and I just feel like I am going no where and then a little girl prays out loud and she sounded just like me when I pray.

    And I realized I am making a difference and from my testimony one of my students may want to give their life to Christ.

    Speechless…

    Thank you for being so real.
    Ginger~

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  11. Tiffany says:

    God is good in every way!! love you!

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

  12. Morgan says:

    :: sniff :: and hugs.

    [Reply]

    September 9th, 2010 at 9:53 pm

  13. Elaina says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have tears in my eyes. Can’t really explain what I mean. I’m all out of words today. Just thank you.

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 12:00 am

  14. åslaug abigail says:

    Oh, I cried when I came to the end too…

    It’s a muddled up day here today,
    but it’s a pretty day, sunshining, mixing up something nice, wrapping up a chapter of life-day =)

    *Praying for you*

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 5:14 am

  15. Katie says:

    And somehow, everything you’d been hoping to do for your son IS REAL. He might be sticky, squirrelly and you might be forgetful – but he knows that his mama wants to teach him about Jesus’ love. THAT is our Lord, taking our fumbling, flawed obedience – and making it into His beautiful work.
    :)

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 8:32 am

  16. Heather says:

    *tears* Oh don’t I know those *sighs* Who knew that disillusionment could be so necessary, so painful but so incredibly SWEET as we lay aside the unreasonable and embrace beautiful growing reality…love this, love you more

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 11:40 am

  17. Heather says:

    *tears* Oh don’t I know those *sighs* Who knew that disillusionment could be so necessary, so painful but so incredibly SWEET as we lay aside the unreasonable and embrace beautiful growing reality…love this

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 11:41 am

  18. Melissa | Madabella made beautiful says:

    my husband told me yesterday, “i’m learning that i don’t have it all together and i can’t expect you to have it all together.” The release is a deep breath of fresh air, to know that even though we are defeated, we have victory in Him….always.

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

  19. Jenny says:

    awwwww…. he is sooooo adorable :) i love this… love how God reached down to touch your heart :)

    [Reply]

    September 10th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

  20. Nicole says:

    Yes, Ma’am! It is hard, but it is good. :) ‘Nuf said.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 4:13 am

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