Let me introduce you to the family’s most faithful school lunch bag…
who, after 9 years of faithful service to 4 Martin children going through high school, is finally going to retire this week. This handsome bag (somehow those two words don’t seem to go together– if you know what I mean 😉 ) has dutifully held many-a – high school lunches since 2003– for our oldest son, Roger … then on to our daughter, Carrye , our daughter – Rachel, and last, but not least, our youngest son, Ben– who incidentally is graduating in a week !!
This morning I packed the last high school lunch for the last Martin child! (Insert true confession here: For the last 5 years my husband has really been the primary lunch maker for the kids . Truth be told, he makes the most creative, healthy, hot lunches and throws it all together in a matter of minutes. You also need to know he uses recycled sour cream containers –a very nice word for: empty sour cream containers we’ve washed a hundred times– and various odd jars to hold this yummy food and my kids don’t even bat an eyelash that they don’t have containers with “Ziploc” on them. Okay … I digress.) After doing the math, I realized we have had a school routine for about 21 years (and please note: the bag pictured has NOT been used all those years) !! I almost gasped when I did the math on that one !!! Yikes ! How on earth could that have happened so fast !? It doesn’t seem like I’m even old enough to say I’ve done anything for 21 years straight !!
It’s funny how something as simple as looking at a very used school lunch bag can stir up such emotions. Must have been a hormonal moment but I found myself taking a picture of the bag — yes! a picture … of the bag ! … and thinking of the memories this little blue bag held and the kids of our’s who have “held” this bag.
How could it be that a messed up mom and dad could be graced with four children who are far beyond us in so many ways! Did I realize this day would come when we started making those first lunches back in 1991? Could I have ever imagined what these kids of our’s would look like, sing like, act like, talk like? … what they would be passionate about?… who they would love and possibly marry? … where they would live? … would they live long? (something I now don’t ever take for granted since my trip to Ethiopia)…will they love God with all their hearts?
How would I have known that this precious gift of children would open my heart to so much joy and yet break my heart all at the same time! For as long as I can remember I wanted to have children and God was so gracious to me and Roger to give us these 4 amazing kids but, just as they were given to us … they have to be let go … let go to become adults and have dreams of their own … let go to let God write their own story that He has already prepared for them way in advance. The opening and the breaking … opening because the moment they were born, love flooded into my heart and opened it three sizes bigger with just one look…breaking because I can’t bring myself to actually “cut” the cord … it has to be broken off bit by bit as they grow into maturity.
The opening was like the most amazing moment of my life… the breaking– the most painful.
Yet isn’t birth painful? But all of us moms go through this pain we call “birth” because we know that “birth pains” bring forth “life” and even though this LIFE may also bring forth “life pain” , we gladly go through it all because this little LIFE is worth it to us … precious… joy beyond our wildest imaginations…a decision we never regretted. They call this bitter – sweet … and I call it — being a mom.
And about the breaking… can’t this be like the miraculous breaking of bread that Jesus did? Can’t this breaking possibly produce 5,000 times as much life in this world and in the world to come? Can’t the breaking be a part of another birth ? … a birth to mature adults who love God and love people and change the world they live in? And as they break off from the main loaf, won’t they still have the good flavor of the loaf they came from? Won’t they pinch off the “mold” we let set in and then rise with pureness of heart? Won’t the Holy Spirit rise like steam from this new life and be the aroma of Jesus to those around them?
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)