Just when I thought life was slowing down, God brought about a new opportunity. Ariel auditioned last week to be in one of our local high school plays. I was very proud of her. She had to learn a song and dance for her audition in front of a crowd of her peers and adults. I don't think at that age I would have been brave enough to try out.
To make a long story short, she made it! The week before Thanksgiving she's going to be in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
When her audition was over, we spent an hour eating Subway, and waiting. It's amazing how long an hour can seem. She was very nervous, and so was I. I felt like I might have well been up there performing for all the butterflies I had in my stomach on her behalf.
Before we made it back to the school to find out if she would be chosen, we prayed together. I prayed that if this was God's will for her, she would get the part and have the time of her life. I mean really, what elementary school student wouldn't love to be in the same arena with high schoolers? On the other hand, if this wasn't something she should be doing, please protect her heart and mind. I've seen what rejection can do to a person, and I wasn't wishing that on my daughter.
It was with great excitement, Ariel found out she gets to be in the children's choir. I very quickly wiped my tears away as I was so pleased for her, but didn't want to embarrass her too much.
It was an awesome weekend. I'm so pleased that Ariel gets this opportunity at such a young age.
When I first heard of the play I was torn in whether or not I wanted to allow her to try out. I knew it was a huge commitment, and honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to make it. I could think of all these reasons why it would be a bad idea, but frankly, they were all very selfish. I was concerned with how it was going to take away from my time and my things that I wanted to be doing.
Sometimes it seems like we're too busy, and I was convincing myself that this would take away from "family" time. In the end I decided it was just a big cop out. This was such a great opportunity and I didn't want Ariel to have to pass it up because I was feeling lazy. I've heard it said before, try to say "yes" to your children as much as possible and to save the "no" for when it's really important. We rarely sign up for extracurricular activities and this seemed to be a worthy cause. It could have been any play, but it wasn't. It was Joseph, a story from the Bible. How could I say no?
After my first day of running ragged, driving to and from play practice, driving to and from my parent meeting, and having to juggle who brings Gabe to his soccer practice at the same time as play practice, all while throwing in the fact we had one car because our second was in the shop getting its brakes worked on, I was stressed. In fact, I was exhausted by the end of it, and was feeling very selfish with my time. Why did I ever agree to this?
The whole trick is perspective. I went into it with the mindset that I was going to be tired and worn out. I told myself this was too much for me, rather than reminding myself that God had put this opportunity together.
I spent much time in prayer the next day trying to get some help. When I got that small voice of God reminding me to let go and give it to Him. That's always so scary for me. It seems like I have to be the one in control or things will just be chaos. Last night at church someone shared a verse that I believe was God-directed for me.
"The one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate (wo)man." Romans 4:6 (The Message)
God has an answer for everything. I went to bed feeling very down and depressed. Life was overwhelming me. I woke up feeling like a new person. All the things that seemed so big and important were now so small and inconsequential. God put everything right when I went to sleep.
One of the things that caused me to worry was the hour I was stuck with the boys at play practice. The director seemed to imply he would prefer we drop our kids off and then come back to pick them up later. I asked his assistant if that assessment was correct, and he told me it would be fine either way. I could stay if I wanted to. However, I didn't have my boys with me when I asked the question and I was really worried how well they would sit during practice. This play is going to require an hour practice twice a week for one month, and then 4 times a week, sometimes 5 times a week for the next month. Going home in the middle of practice is not an option as it takes us 20 minutes to get to the school. It wouldn't be worth the gas.
I got an epiphany when I woke up. Why did I think I had to be in the room with them practicing? The school is huge; the largest in Topeka. Surely, it would hold me and my two boys, right?
Today I made a bag of tricks to keep the boys entertained. I'm certain this was a God-idea. As soon as the thought was planted, I was almost anticipating the hour I would get to spend with my boys. After all, if we were at home I would be busy doing other things. But now, I have a one hour, God ordained, time with my boys spending quality time. We're going to grab an empty hallway at the school and get comfortable.
I was so excited; I went to the dollar store and filled my bag with different treats.
First, I found a new coloring book for Zech and notebook for Gabe. They both love to color and draw. I even found a Sudoku puzzle book for myself, one of my favorites.
I found a couple "classic" books adapted for children that I can read aloud. Given the time of year the store was selling "Frankenstein" and "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
I've got 500 different Adventures in Odyssey radio shows on my cell phone! When Zech and I went to Colorado Springs we visited Focus on the Family. They have a very exciting children's area that's based on Adventures in Odyssey. I loved this show when I was a kid, and the visit to Colorado Springs renewed my interest. We've been listening to an episode each day, and this hour is the perfect time to listen to more. They teach such valuable lessons.
I got several games and fun things at the dollar store, and found even more things to pack from home. We've got games, silly putty, toy soldiers, and more...
No bag of tricks could be complete without the treats. After school is always the time when kids get hungry; I filled a bag with cookies, cheese and crackers, and fruit snacks.
It's amazing how much life is affected by your perspective. Yesterday I was dreading Ariel being in this play. Today, I couldn't wait for the time to come to grab my goodie bag and head to the car. I was so excited for the time we were going to have together.
When 3 o'clock came around, Zech and I rushed to the school. I picked Gabe up early, but remembered it was Bible study day with Grandma. I was down to one kid for my bag of fun. I waited for Ariel to get out, and was pressed to answer her if she could ride to play practice with her friend. In the blink of an eye, I was free and on my way home. The funny thing, I almost didn't want to be free; I had been so excited about my afternoon. For now, I will just wait. I know I'll have many more opportunities in the next two months to have that special time of bonding with my boys. And at the same time, I'm giving Ariel the chance to fulfill that dream of hers to sing and dance on the stage. Life is beautiful.
When we let God be in control, it's amazing how much better life is, as long as we first get out of His way.