the reassurance of His promises...

well, at LONG last, the story of leaving my first born at college.... 

sometimes i just have to stop and consider the work of the Lord in millie choosing a Christian college. PONDER THAT FOR A MOMENT IN YOUR HEART PEOPLE!!! i have no doubts that God is God over every inch of creation and that He can reach anyone ANYwhere (even at university of florida, but some would say differently. ha.) but how kind of Him to move upon millie's heart (as well as ours) that her first choice in colleges was also adam and my first choice. she earned a nice scholarship, so while it was a REACH ( i ask for prayers over my job search or checks in the mail so i don't have to search too hard)  it was not out of reach. all praise is due Him for those miracles in and of themselves! but then He had more in store for us...

i have been SO impressed with how the school uses every opportunity to infuse its message with God's message... for example, in its outreach to the students the welcome week theme was romans 12 (on each welcome week tshirt worn by the upperclassmen helping the freshmen move in and transition.) but at the same time how its Christian message is so filled with grace and acceptance for ALL kids at ALL places of their faith (or non-faith walk) that it was attractive to millie. not condemning. or overwhelming. or legalistic. and to me it was comforting to know that she would be in a place where professors (and even the dean and board of directors) would be praying for her. concerned with her journey of faith as much as they were about her grades. a place where drugs and alcohol use is not tolerated... not because it is legalistic but because the school is concerned with the WELL BEING and SUCCESS of the students and there is supporting research to show that students who use drugs and alcohol DO NOT do as well in school. and do not have the successful outcomes that they, their parents, and the school would desire for them.

their constant message has been we want THE BEST for you. we want you to succeed. to believe that you were created for a purpose and we will help you find that purpose and be the person you were created to be. maximize your talents and desires and dreams (which God has given you) is their constant message. we will love you and nurture and challenge you because we (the school) sees you as a unique and worthy individual created by a God who has a plan and purpose for this world. 

so as we took her up i was mostly EXCITED for this next step of her life to begin. we had met her roommate this summer. and she had met some other freshman on facebook and when we met them in person they were all so nice. and i loved their parents! over and over i was so reassured that God had planned this from the beginning of time and that He loved her even more than i did. He designed the PERFECT college for her. and it was one that i have not even considered or thought about a year ago. 

and here we were on our way up to take her there! 

of course first we had to get there... 

which wasn't easy. we left on thursday. our move in time was friday at 4:00 pm. we were seconds behind two different car wrecks on the way up. both times we stopped for almost an hour to wait for ambulances and service vehicles to clean up  the road. and our car was acting strangely. adam stopped a couple of times to add oil. check water levels, do boy stuff to the engine. 

i jokingly texted my friends that satan didn't want us to get to belmont. SO WE WERE GOING TO GET THERE COME HELL OR HIGH WATER. note to self: stop mocking satan. because right at we pulled off the interstate in franklin (where our friends live and let us stay in their guest house) our car straight up STOPPED MOVING. it wouldn't go anywhere.  

adam was able to crank it again and coax it a few more yards into a shell station. we called our friends. the dad headed over in their suburban to pick us up. once he saw where we were he laughed. and pointed over some trees right next to us and told us there was a chevy dealership 100 yards away. after rehooking the uhaul to his car (and PRAISE GOD we had packed everything into a uhaul and only had a couple of things in the back of our car) we went to their house to eat dinner.

after dinner he and adam came back to our car were able to coax our car to move just a little bit more to roll downhill into the chevy dealership and leave keys and a note.

meanwhile back at our friends' house, we packed their daughters college items in their suburban. attached our uhaul to their younger daughter's truck and we were ready to go the next day.  

and another miracle... only 4 people could fit into that truck. and we only had 4 people. rosalea had come down with some stomach flu the day before and we had left her in town with my dad for the weekend. how much more could God use ALL things for our good that to use a stomach flu to make it clear that He knew all about our trip to nashville?  

i just kept thinking about all the things that had happened...

  • the stomach flu looked bad BUT it was for our ease in being able to transport everyone at once.
  • the car trouble looked bad BUT it kept us moving a bit slower and we missed being in two accidents by minutes.
  • the car breaking down looked bad BUT we were in nashville already and so close to a dealership that we could coast into it.
  • we hadn't loved our 4 pm moving time (the last scheduled time of the day) BUT it turned out good since adam had time in the morning to talk to the car dealership service guys AND we had lunch with 3 other belmont families.

move in went smoothly. the welcome week upperclassmen move EVERYTHING into your room for you! we had a couple of days to be in and out and get anything else she needed. she had a couple of nights to figure out what she needed. there was a family BBQ. informational meetings, etc... and then on sunday there was a matriculation ceremony.

matriculation (as i learned) actually means "to be added to a group, usually used for entering a college or university." so they have a little ceremony for this. the new freshman class all sits together. the parents in another area. almost a parallel to graduation. 

it was a beautiful ceremony. full of welcome and cheer. prayers for the students. prayers for their parents. the president of the university telling them that they were there because God had purposed them to be there. that they had each been prayed over from the beginning of the application process and not one of them was there by mistake. and the best part was the selection they chose to read over the students from the new testament... 

from ephesians 3

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! Amen.

it was a prayer that i have prayed over millie dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times. i could almost say it from memory along with the speaker.  

but more than a prayer this time, it was an answer to my prayers. it was a clear reassurance from God that i had rooted and established her in love... and that it was His power that would do the rest. He had already done immeasurably more than i ever asked or imagined in attracting her to this university. and His work was not done...

any tears that i shed at that ceremony were not tears of sadness for a season ending in my life... there were tears of gratitude to the Great Gardener who was beginning a new season in her life. and telling me that He would water the ground with all the tears that i had shed over the past few years and that she who sewed in tears with reap harvests of joy. every tear was a thank you to our Great God.  

whenever i think about how good He was to me that weekend i cannot decide whether i am the village idiot with such small faith that He has to keep reassuring me OVER and OVER and OVER that He is loving. that He is in this for my good. for her good. OR if i am His favorite so He just keeps lavishing His love on me. either way, i will take it.  

but just in case you thought it was all TOO good to be true... after the matriculation ceremony we went to lunch. millie and i were alone at the table at panara while adam and maxx waited on our food. i asked her was there anything that had surprised her about her first couple of days on campus. "it's a lot more Christian than i thought it was going to be. but i can deal." 

Psalm 119:124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.
Hebrews 5:2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. (referring to an earthly high priest. how much GREATER is our heavenly High Priest able to deal gently with us!)
2 Corinthians 13:3 He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.

oh yes, my dearest child. there will be a dealing to be had. but i think the One who holds all the cards (not to mention ALL heaven and earth and every molecule contained in every place, person, and thing) will be the one who is doing the dealing... 

someone sent me this prayer on the day we dropped her off... 

a sending prayer for college freshmen...

i especially loved the last two lines...

Replace her fear with a love that moves within her beyond her ability to understand.
May Your grace surprise them kindly.

may Your dealing with her surprise her kindly... 

thank you for all being prayer warriors with me in this. i have NO doubts that it is the prayers of so many that has opened up my eyes to all of these miracles that surrounded this entire process, the peaceful summer, and easy transition. may her eyes be opened as well to His grace, His beauty, and His love...