**although it's what i would have written and wanted for Noah's life and mine, this isn't a cute story about preschool with fun pinterest-y picture ideas of the first day**
[I heard the words this morning… that the cross may just come before the crown on this one. I’d have no idea how much I needed a word from him yesterday to truly get through today. He gave it to me. I received it. And I walked forward.]
Scott, Noah, and I drove our Asian van to the school gate. Noah and I walked out together to his class. We heard sad screams from every direction once we entered the school. These Asian kids are used to being with their folks. Every day. They’re accompanied for nap time and night time. They’re hardly ever alone. Today marks the first day for most that they’d be dropped off with people outside of the family. They go from 9-6 every day. Starting the first day. (Noah only goes 3 times a wk from morning until lunch).
I could feel Noah’s tight grip on my shirt as we entered the building. He was sensing that this wasn’t exactly the school that he had imagined in his head. This particular day was very rainy. Not a hard rain, just a constant. As we approached the classroom, I found many parents standing and sitting around the room with the kids. 30 kids to be exact. There were 3 teachers. The main teacher had a microphone earpiece that had a long chord, attaching to a hand-sized speaker. She used it constantly, begging the parents to please leave the kids so they’d stop crying. She lifted the speaker high in the air to the crowd and up to my face when we talked. It was bizarre.
Some listened, others stubbornly stood by. I think I was just in shock.
I showed Noah his cubby, the bathroom, and many tables that had centerpieces of tubs overflowing with toys. He wasn’t interested. He kept holding my face asking me to please not leave him there. From this point on he was just begging me not to leave him there. He said all he wants to do is stand in the rain. I just decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and that maybe I should try to leave him. So with that, I gave him a hug and walked away. His scream was so loud that everyone stopped and stared. I started asking people to stop looking at us and I held Noah. We headed for the door to avoid any further attention. As the teacher was shoving me out of the door, she told me that it would be best to go home and not return with Noah that day. Once my feet were out of the door, she slammed and locked it. I was astonished. “What in the world? Where do I live? Is this really happening?”
Kids’ hands were clawing the door from the inside as the parents were toppling over each other on the outside of the door, yelling through the circled windows carved into the top of the wooden door.
I walked along that wall, down the hallway next to his classroom, praying with Noah that God would do a miracle and allow Noah to let me go so he could attend school today. About that time, my friend (Yang Zhou) and her son (didi) walk up. Noah was so relieved. Now he had a familiar friend. My friend gets the teacher to open the door so I squeeze by with Noah. All Noah wants is to be beside his friend all of the time. I make a quick decision to say bye to Noah and leave while he’s calm with his little friend. I quickly ran out of the room. Then as I was in line at the front of the school, my friend’s husband comes up to me saying that Noah has stopped crying. It was indeed a miracle.
I went home and waited.
A couple of hours passed and I came back to the school to pick up Noah. I knocked and knocked on that door. Finally the guard came. He said to bang on the door until someone answered. (Don’t tell Scott, but…) I banged hard my iphone frantically on that door until I heard the lock twisting. There were so many cries that I couldn’t even tell if noah’s was in there. She opened the door. I found Noah wandering. The teacher told me that he cried the entire time and didn’t eat lunch. I didn’t even care. I was just glad to see him and assure him that I did just as I said I would. I came back for him.
The whole car ride back Noah explained to me how he cried the entire time. That he even cried my name out of the window but the teacher shut it. That he cried and then so did didi. That they offered him food and he said bu yao (don’t want). And also kicked a girl. I explained to him that everything is okay and that he should treat people well. He assured me that next time he would try not to cry so that it would keep his friend from doing the same.
I’d say the only thing that got me through this day was a reminder. This is not about my comfort or my son’s comfort. It’s about God’s glory. My son is the only little boy in that class with the knowledge of the one true God. As we have taught him to pray to the only Comforter who can help him and meet him exactly where he is, he knows that’s how he helps others. To intercede. My hope is that his little life as the first foreigner at this school will spread God’s glory throughout. That somehow, God would use this 3 year old to make way for the glory of the Lord.
Oh how I want kingdom eyes to wait and expect and see glory spread.
I wore this necklace that shouts “reckless abandon” today. It was purposeful. I received it in the mail yesterday and I knew it was for today. Him reminding me to not let anything get in the way of the object of my devotion, not even the normalcy of what life of a preschooler “should be” or what I think is “fair” for what my life should look like.
God reminds me today that I’m not the author of any life.
Not even my own.
He holds the pen.
He grips tight and impresses on my heart His ways that are higher than mine.
So here I am this afternoon. Gaining.
For what can I lose?
He’s making His name bigger in me as I become looser with each grip of control and bolder with each YES in Jesus.