This isn't the first time I've left church crying... and it was never for a good reason. It IS the first time I had left Lifepointe Community Church, our home church, sobbing, so Chris and the boys seemed unnerved.
I couldn't help it, though. I was crying tears of pure joy.
Jake's second hour Sunday school teacher stopped me to talk about the upcoming "move up" Sunday that will take place in a few weeks. She shared with me her love for Jake and you could just see her light up when speaking about him. For the first time in Jake's life, an authority figure (other than his mom,dad and Nana) loved him completely - his ADHD, his boisterous behavior, and his heart. Through it all, she had seen his tender and loving heart. I loved that she was firm with him when needed (and heaven knows, he needs it) but she saw Jake, for Jake. Not as a rambunctious kid who distracted others or one that was a "hand full". She saw who he really was - beyond the quirks, flaws and spunk that Jake displays (ha, don't we all, though?). And she LOVES him and showed that. Even her discipline was in a such a way that never spoke negatively into Jake's heart and spirit. She's done this consistently through the entire time of his 4th grade class. And I have loved her for it.
But today... today, standing outside of church, hearing her words and watching her eyes and face as she spoke highly of Jake... JUST. OVERWHELMED. ME. I was left speechless that this person would pour acceptance, love and encouragement into my boy - in a way no one else had ever taken the time to do with Jake. I was trying hard not to cry in front of her.. and the others walking by and saying "hi" to me. I'm not one who likes to publicly cry (who does, really?!). I made it to the car and then lost it.
Please don't think my Jake is a "bad" kid. He's not. He is adorable but what teachers have typically seen is... he struggles to sit still. He gets carried away easily. He struggles to focus. He likes attention. He has a hard time listening and following instructions. He loves to make people laugh. He enjoys being with people. He values friendship intensely... often times at the cost of all else around him. As harmless as these attributes seem to be, though, they do not make him a good candidate for sitting in a desk hours on end each day, which is a BIG reason why we pulled him from school and homeschooled him when we pulled our eldest. My heart couldn't handle the labels being placed on him at school when I knew his heart.
And now. Someone else knew it too.
To see God's love so abundantly poured over my son's head - when often what's been poured has been negative words - was an amazing gift to me. And an even more amazing gift to JAKE. His response, in return, to this teacher has been so positive, so amazing. It has been a blessing beyond measure.
I am forever grateful for this lovely teacher that slipped on the skin of Jesus and showed my son His love, His grace and saw Jake through God's eyes. I am simply overwhelmed that she saw what we have known - he's smart, kind-hearted, a leader, generous, tender, and positive and joy-filled - and she has spoken into his life the truth of these traits existing in him. He has had another encourage him in God's word and raise the bar in his life (not just good 'ol mom and dad) and Jake has blossomed under this outpouring of love on him, from once a stranger who has now become a life-long friend, supporter and advocate of Jake.
Tears roll down my face as I type this because this is God's love in action, people. That we speak His truth, grace and love into another's life and lift them up to experience the fullness of God's acceptance of coming to Him as we are. Broken. Flawed. Imperfect... yet, through Jesus' sacrifice, still worthy to stand before Him. And immensely loved. Jake doesn't have to behave first before coming to God. Jake doesn't have to get his ADHD, his focus, or him impulsiveness under control before being in His presence. Jake doesn't have to approach the throne of God in perfect condition. Amen that someone else is singing this truth over my son's life. May I be the same to someone else's child as well as to peers.