Yesterday Jonah turned seven. We got to spend it as a family. We visited some dogs and cats at the humane society and we brainstormed at IKEA how to reorganize his ginormous collection of Legos. Then we ended the night watching a classic – Honey, I shrunk the Kids. It was a great day, a special day – wonderfully needed family time. However, today I find myself sad. You see there is something about the transition from six to seven. Seven seems so grown up, so old. He is out of the little boy years and is on his journey into adolescence and then manhood. When I would tell people that I had a kindergartner and a six year old there was a part of me that cherished the feeling that I still had a little one at home. Now with the transition, he is now my little man. Don’t get me wrong I love this age. I am teaching him life-long lessons, he is able to kayak in his own boat, he helps me on projects, we now build Legos together, etc. But he is no longer little.
It is these transitions that are a bit disruptive in my life. They remind me of our circumstances and our situation. It is something that can kind of be pushed to the background especially on a day like yesterday when our little family is perfect, is wonderful, is right. This morning looking at Jonah I am thrust in to the mess that is our existence, into the brokenness that is just below the surface. The wounds are still fresh, still raw.
I know that this brokenness is the door to my Father’s heart but I have to let him enter and that is not easy. In fact if I was honest I have other doors I would love for him to enter through like accomplishment, security, control, strength, and so on. But Jesus prefers to come in through this door of brokenness. He stands at this door and knocks. The knock at this door comes through experiences like this one and that knock is so disruptive. It is inconvenient and wakes us up from our little escapes and distractions. It does this because then we have to decide if we are going to let him in. This is why I am writing today. I am deciding to let him in and I am taking you along on the journey.
There is another disruption that I know is coming. On Friday Jonah and I are going on our first kayak camping trip; just the two of us. We are paddling the Namekagon River in northern Wisconsin. It is a river that we have paddled before. One of the last times that Jonah and I were on this river was a different birthday. He was three and we had just had our second miscarriage. Actually to be transparent and openly honest, Anna was in the midst of miscarrying throughout that trip. She rested in the tent while Jonah, I, and a friend paddled different sections of the river. We debated whether or not we should go. But in the end we knew that the God would have something to offer our broken and bleeding hearts in the wilderness. We knew that it was exactly where we needed to be.
So you could say that we have some unfinished business with this river. It is one of the reasons I chose it. I needed to return. On Friday, we return this trip with a different purpose – initiation. Now that Jonah is seven it brings with it opportunities to expose him to new challenges that speak directly to his warrior spirit. I get to join him in his journey into manhood as his guide. This may come at a surprise to some of you but the journey of manhood starts here, at age six to seven. It is not that this trip won’t include sadness and pain. It will. I could easily avoid this river. I could have picked a different place to go, but Jesus stands at the door of my brokenness and pain and knocks. He is inviting me to go on this journey – to go on this river.
I am choosing to open the door just like I chose to do today. I chose this not because I thought my Father would take away my brokenness, trust me I am still experiencing the pain and sadness after writing these words, but He is faithful to meet me there in my messy place. He is not afraid to engage in it. Not afraid to walk through the door. There is a peace that comes with his presence in the places no one else sees or experiences. It is comforting. I understand that this is not the end. That He is going to take these shattered pieces and create a masterpiece. As you may know, I can’t leave you without asking you some direct questions. Is your Father standing at the door of your brokenness? (Trust me the answer is yes.) Are you going to invite him in?