I hope you’ve had a great week. In Chattanooga, Tennessee some schools have been on fall break since last Thursday. Sam has enjoyed flaunting his extended vacation to his brothers who only had a long weekend. Personally, I think it’s a great concept. I’m all for random vacations! And yes wonder of wonders, I am happy to report that the window above is now clean as a whistle.
But I’ve been thinking this week about our longing to be known. It is something you think a lot about if you voluntarily uproot your happy family to try a new adventure. When you land in a new city the reality of being known by no one is unsettling. You know it’s coming, but it is still hard to gracefully enter into the harshness of anonymity. It’s harder still to watch your children try to navigate it. If I didn’t think it was a vital life skill, I probably would’ve tried to protect my boys from ever having to do it.
By God’s grace, our initial landing was about as soft as it could be. People were welcoming and friendly and wonderful. I saw God’s loving hand in many, many details. But this week I’ve been pondering two snippets in particular of how God provided.
I think we had lived here about a week, when I was walking down our back alley and received some of the best and unexpected news of my life. A neighbor introduced himself to me and explained that he had heard we had just moved in. He explained that he was a teacher and a coach at the boys’ new school, and that he also had three sons roughly our boys’ ages. He told me that he’d be happy to drive them to school — that he was going there anyway. I could not believe my ears! With that sweet unexpected gesture this gentleman added hours to my week!
Silly me, I thought the biggest blessing of it would be my own lack of miles. I didn’t stop to think about how much it would mean for the boys to be known. This man has daily invested in Will and Nate. He’s driven them, but more than that he’s hung out with them. They have joked and laughed and trash-talked sports their way to school each day. This blessing of a man shortened their transition from anonymity to being known. My boys — well all boys — adore this man! How blessed am I that he’s my friendly neighbor!
The second tidbit also involves a teacher from their school. I went in for parent teacher conferences in February. I did not know what to expect. I had been so involved in their previous school that it felt odd to walk in and not even know what their teachers looked like. I sat down with Will’s English teacher and felt a little nervous. Will had told me that this was one of his favorite teachers of all time. I was hoping that this teacher at least knew who Will was.
“Well,” he said, with lots of intention, but also sort of dryly, “I have just been thinking how surprising it is, that in the middle of the year, that we would get a kid this, this… great!” I wanted to cry. He knew my son. In fact, he loved my son.
We all want to be known. We want those that we love to be known. We want to be known by those we love. My mom told me a story about an Alzheimer patient who no longer knew her own daughter. But one day she had a few moments of lucidity. She knew her daughter and called her by name.
“Mom,” said the daughter, choking back tears. “You know my name!”
“Well, of course, I know your name,” said the mother. “I named you!”
Did you know that the Person who knows you best and loves you most not only named you (a secret name only you and God will ever know), but He made you. (Revelation 2:17). You aren’t by chance. You are not a random collection of cells. You were knit together in your mother’s womb with attention to detail. (Psalm 139:13). You were made for a purpose. You are here to do something for God’s glory.
You are known. You are loved. I hope you have a fabulous weekend basking in these truths!