Summer is over. Well, technically, it's not, but the school calendar would beg to differ. Today, I sent four of my babies out of the nest for another year of learning (the first time I typed that, I accidentally spelled it 'lerning'...good thing they're not homeschooled...). My eldest, Luke, made the leap from the small pond of elementary school, into the bigger pond of middle school. Wow, was there ever a lot of anxiety over that! Panic, tears, frustration...and that was just Mom! :) Seriously, he was SO ready and SO excited. And he had a great first day, only forgetting his lunch bag in his locker at the end of the day. He's excited about joining a Robotics team that uses Legos to make an entry for a competition. He wanted to leave a little early to walk to the bus stop this morning so he could 'meet some of the other kids there'. I'm a proud mama.
My biggest girl is now a 4th grader, but wasn't nearly as excited about this new year. You see, she's got a teacher that she's a little intimidated by. Luke's former 4th grade teacher. She's a great teacher. However, when Luke had her, I was in the deepest part of the pit, and I was not the mom I wanted or needed to be. Luke was having difficulty with a few things, and she didn't go easy on him (which I am glad for). In Luke's words, she was 'strict'. In Annaliese's words, "She's mean!". This girl has been so worried all weekend about this, so last night we had a little talk.
A: "Mom, what if she only thinks of me like I'm Luke's sister and thinks that she needs to be strict with me?"
Me: "Well, if she's a good teacher, she won't think of you as 'Luke's sister', and she'll treat you like any other student. She'll get to know you and help you with any areas you might struggle with."
A: "So I'm not Luke's sister anymore?" (a little too excitedly) :)
Me: "No...you're still his sister, but first you're Annaliese."
I started thinking about something after this conversation. How often do we feel self-conscious about ourselves based on what we think others will think about us? Or what we think they'll think about the people we associate with (or are related to!)? To me, the bigger question should be "What does God think about me?" I may try my hardest to have it all together, to try to be someone I'm not. But God doesn't care if my house is a mess or if I can't seem to stay on top of the laundry. He doesn't care if I make perfect gourmet meals for my family or wear a size 6. He looks at me and says "You're still Amanda, with all your ripped seams and tattered edges. But first, you're My daughter."
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