A couple of months ago we decided that this would be the last year of our YMCA membership. It served us well for several years, and we are ready to move on. However, before doing so in December, we set out to give our children one last opportunity to try anything new they were interested in. Long story short, there were some time conflicts regarding the availability of a martial arts class, and while I was waiting out a solution, God dropped it in my lap.
I've never had an experience quite like that before. I knew there was a scheduling issue, I knew something needed to be figured out, but I just didn't feel compelled to FIGURE IT OUT. I just waited with the feeling that it would just work itself out. It still seems so bizzare to me that God just laid out the answer for me regarding something so small and seemingly insignificant. I mean, God works in BIG things, I've seen that, I've lived that. But God also works in the teeny tiny things that, well honestly, I think I often fail to notice.
So, a dear friend who had heard about this issue that I was not figuring out, randomly won a pair of tickets for 2 weeks free at a local martial arts establishment...and she gave them to me. I was thrilled, but also shocked because it seemed SO CLEAR that this was a God given gift, and like I said, I'm still wrapping my mind around how He cares for me in the details.
I met with the owner, signed up for our 2 weeks free, and explained to the kids that this would be a short term, four class, temporary thing. We were just trying it out. If they loved it and decided to stick with it we would do that AFTER soccer, and at a more affordable establishment.
Kids started Tae Kwon Do. Kids loved Tae Kwon Do.
The teacher/owner is AMAZING, you guys. She is sweet, firm, and so good at what she does. Cricket was all in from the trial day, but Buttercup, per usual, took a bit longer to warm up. Fast forward through a 1 on 1 intro trial and 4 "Tiny Tiger" classes.
They knew tonight would be the last night. They had both expressed disappointment at multiple times leading up to it. They ROCKED their class and Buttercup announced that she's going to "keep doing this forever" as we left. But then we left. And the questions started. And the discussion started. And the tears started.
Like I said, the establishment is great. The teacher is phenomenal. I would LOVE for my kids to be able to continue doing this thing they enjoy at this amazing place. But here's the deal, there's a $499 per child enrollment fee, plus a monthly fee of $199 each.
Let that sink in.
We are a one income family. My husband is a public servant.
Guess what folks, we CAN NOT AFFORD THAT.
I mean, sure, if we skipped some other things that are highly valued by our family, pinched our pennies extra tight, and dug up another source of overtime we COULD possibly squeak by.
And this was a new first. I mean, yes, we've had plenty of, "I don't know what they heck you need and I can't fix it," screaming baby/toddler moments. But this was the first time I could see what they want, what they truly think they need, and even though it is a truly good and harmless thing, I can't provide it. I just can't.
So, tonight I sat with my babies while they cried. And I was so, so thankful for the work God has done in my life and my heart. Because I held them and it felt GOOD to be unable to solve their problem.
For the first time in my life it felt GOOD to show them that I will fail them. I will fall short.
I want them, in my falling short, to be led to His never failing.
I told them I was proud of their effort and enthusiasm.
I want them to know that I saw them working hard and loving it, and that it was beautiful to behold.
I told them that I understood their disappointment. That I, too, was disappointed.
I want them to know that what seems good is not always right.
I told them that their disappointment is okay and even totally reasonable. I told them that even Momma and Daddy can't, as much as we would like to, give them everything they want or need, even when it seems like it would really be best for them.
I want them to know that people will ALWAYS fail them, sooner or later, in some way.
And while they cried, and insisted they would never feel better, I told them that at some point they would feel less sad, not by their own power, but by the power of GOD, and we asked for Him to bring them comfort.
I want them to know that joy, true joy, is never an earthly thing. True joy is found in knowing that we are HIS, and that we are REDEEMED. True joy is knowing one day He will wipe every tear and make all the sad things come untrue.
I could never have imagined how the things God has been teaching me, the circumstances He's been orchestrating, would come to this. To this moment when I'm holding my crying babies and truly enjoying my imperfection and inability. Enjoying the reality that I can't give them what they want BECAUSE it forces them to rely on GOD. And just bearing with them in the sadness of our fallen world.
Cricket fell asleep thinking of ways he could earn the money to pay for it himself. Honestly, I'm not sure what we will do IF this crazy possibility becomes a reality. Because, I'm not sure if working hard for $200 per month of spending money (after the required saving and tithing) and then spending it all on Tae Kwon Do is honoring to God. Could it be? Maybe. I don't know. Right now I feel like it's highly unlikely that we will deem that good stewardship. If you have all of your needs met and God gives you an extra $200, I'm not sure you're cleared to spend that all on your own desires. Snuggs and I will have to do some deep soul searching, discussing, and praying if that becomes a possibility. We would love to foster the work ethic he would need to earn that money, but Jesus' work trumps our work EVERY SINGLE TIME.
We're on to soccer in a couple of weeks, and unless money starts rolling in, by the crazy grace of God, clearly labeled for TKD use, I don't see my children's dreams becoming reality. So, I suppose I'll start praying for their contentment at a martial arts gym that we CAN afford.