The Back of the Tapestry
She was going on and on without taking a breath. I was standing here, back against the wall listening to her talk on and on about her son’s scholarship, her husband’s advancement, their new home. After discretely looking at my watch a few times I start to unglue my mouth long enough to say, “well, I planted lettuce last week” but before I could get the first syllable out, she snapped open her handbag, grabbed her I phone, jabbed in some numbers and was gone!
Telling of successes may leave others feeling wilted, especially if things aren’t going too well for them. They look at that word picture of the success and arrange their facial features to say, “Nice.” But inside they may be thinking, ‘I can’t achieve that or see that happen in my life.’
Do we really want to do that to our friends? Each of us has a tapestry which on the front s may look lovely but turn over the canvas and it is another story. There the lines go every which way, the knots clutter and it’s a mess. But it is the mess that touches hearts. It is the story of painfully untangling the mess that gives hope. To show the front without the back is to leave people feeling flattened. To show the back without the front leaves people confused. But together they tell the story of God’s purposes.
True story about our son. ‘Our son graduated from a fabulous school, landed a terrific job, married an adoring wife and is quickly moving up.’ That is the front of the tapestry. My guess is that nothing warm began to pervade your being as you read that. I understand. There was one year I wanted to put my name on ANYBODY’S Christmas letter but mine. That’s how bad life was. But I didn’t see the back of their tapestries, only the front.
May I show you the back of the tapestry. Our son Nathan was born when our family was unquestionably on the on poverty level found in the USA charts. I chose not to work and Neil was having a hard time keeping employment. We had two daughters and the younger was just getting ready to enter kindergarten which meant I could back to work and bring steady finances into the household. But Amy, the older one, started praying DAILY for a year for a bald baby brother with blue eyes and God honored it. I was ashamed to be pregnant and so poor. Some ladies wanted to give me a shower and asked what I needed. How could I say ‘everything?’ We had given away all baby things and all I had was one t-shirt. Baby Nathan was an absolute joy! I stayed home five more years because I didn’t want day care for him.
I heard Pastor Rose Lamb talk about ‘train up a child the way he should go’ in a way I hadn’t heard. She said ‘look for talents in your children and develop them.’ She was great with that and went every extra mile with her own three. So I started watching Nathan. When he was in high school I saw something. He finally became interested in a school subject. He loved his history class which not only showcased the past but how history relates to the global situations now. So I said to Nathan—(declaration #1): “You are going to be an international journalist.”
Now, Nathan didn’t like to write and didn’t have a camera. To my knowledge he had never taken a photo. When he was a sophomore in high school I took him with a team I had formed to travel to Sweden, Cyprus, and Israel. A woman in our group, Judy Wilcox, gave Nate her camera to use, and as she looked at his digital photos she said, ‘Nate, you have a real eye.’ (declaration#2).
Nathan went to the community college and because of his interest in the subject matter he became a favorite. After the two years were over he had a career goal: to be a journalist. And a plan: to attend University of Missouri in Columbia. Problem. His lack of interest in his education from 5th grade until his senior year did not give him much of a chance. Mizzou (as it’s called in Missouri) is the number two, if not number one journalism school in the world and to say that it is competitive is an understatement. So Nate’s confidence was rock bottom. He applied even though chances ofhis acceptance looked slim. And even if he got in, MIzzou was HUGE.
“Mom! There are hundreds of kids in those classes. I’m going to be lost if I get in!”
“Nathan! Shine! You go into those classes and just SHINE! Let the professors see your enthusiasm. Nathan! You are a shining star!” (declaration #3)
Nathan was strongly advised to go into Convergent Journalism rather than general journalism because that was journalism of the future in that every form of communication converges into one piece. The problem was that there were only twelve places and his scores were not sterling. However within a year of being at Mizzou he was such a shining star that he was put into the class as the 13th.
Then, a job. Who in the world gets a job as a journalist? But his recommendations were so SHINING that he was given a position at a prestigious journalism firm before he even graduated. The rest is a flip to the front of the tapestry. YOU’RE GOING TO! YOU HAVE A! YOU SHINE!
Mothers, take a look at your children, not with the critical eye as in, ‘You are going to make me look like a lousy parent with that green hair and piercings all over your body!’ but with the eye of, ‘Lord, let me see this child’s talents that You have put there.’ Start declaring, never mind the messes and setbacks because one day you will FLIP over that over side of the tapestry.
That is my story, mamas. Now let me hear yours!
Cheryl Samelson Skid
Author Taking God’s Word to Heart, Never Out Of His Sight and coming Clear Vision
Founding Director of Women with a Vision, not for profit corporation since 1985
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