Above the Crowd

crowdsAfter my son’s graduation ceremony this past weekend we quickly exited the building to meet up with him outside, hug and congratulate him and get some pictures with the family. Thousands of other people left the ceremony with the same intention. The cheering sections of parents and extended family all left one way out the building and the students who graduated all left through another, on the complete opposite side of the building. And to add to the numbers, the next graduation was minutes away and those families were filing in to get seats in the midst of all the chaos. For us who were leaving, there were a few obvious meet up locations – a large statue of a bull, and a flagpole — each stood above the crowd in clear view. It quickly became obvious we parents gave our graduating kids the same connecting point, and two crowds of people collided in one tiny area outside the arena the ceremony took place in.

A half wall separated that area from the street where everything opened up. As I headed to the bull, packed in like a sardine with the stop and go crowd of people, I heard my brother-in-law call out, “Amy, let’s turn around and head toward the opening. If we can get through there we can see the crowd still, call for Russel and he can meet us there.” To which I replied, “Rob, you are going to have to lead me out of here because all I see is butts and backs.” That’s a very real viewpoint for a five foot nothing girl in a crowd. My sister-in-law says it another way, “all you see is elbows and …”…. well, probably best not to put that here. But if you’ve heard the rest of that saying you’re probably having a good chuckle right about now.

So with my hand in Kylie’s, and her’s in my brother-in-laws, we wove in and out through the crowd like a small train. Once through, I saw my gathering family and eventually we all made it out, except…. where was Ethan? We did a count. We were ALL there, without him. Who had he been with, did he hear our instructions, these questions quickly flashed through my mind until a minute or two later, I saw a boy lift himself out of the crowd and onto the half wall closing it in. Not just any boy — but my boy. Looking completely unruffled. He knew if he got himself above the crowd we’d find him and he was staying put. We called out to him en mass and he hopped down and ran over to us.

I was proud of him. He handled a crisis that could have terrified him with calm and ease. He’d been apart from us longer than we thought. He’d looked back inside, looked outside, then just decided to sit and wait and get where we could see him. Good call, Ethan!

It’s in moments like those that I see my kids are growing up. I see their level-headed thinking lead them through the crowds that could lead them off track. Instead of getting lost in them they rise above them. And I know he wasn’t alone in that moment – God was with him, and He saw him through. Was it Ethan, or a little whisper that told him where to go, to stay calm, to rise above the crowd? As a mom whose kids are God’s kids too, I know he is with them and leading them even when I can’t be. I count on it.

It’s that same thought that brings me peace as I prepare to send my oldest out. He is not alone. God is with him. And as God is with him, he is already leading him. A verse that keeps getting passed on to him in many forms now is Proverbs 3:5-6, ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” I have two life verses God’s given me at key times and they’ve stayed with me as steady constants through many storms and battles and moments I’ve wanted to quit and walk away from the path of destiny God has me on. I am thankful to see a verse emerging in this season for him. I know the Holy Spirit will quicken in his mind the awareness that this verse is repeatedly being given to him and quoted to him because it’s God’s word FOR HIM at this stage of life.

There are many things he is reconciling with-in himself — graduating early, what he wants to do with his life, stepping out into the world to make his mark. The only way to do that well is to surrender to and trust God every step of the way.

I’m thankful for the way God leads my kids through life. I love the way he gives them wisdom to rise above what they see around them to get a higher view as he did with Ethan. And I’m forever grateful for the peace it brings my heart to know God’s already steering them in visible ways and with words of guidance they can hold on to.

They are mine for a season. Entrusted to my care. But they are really God’s. And he’s got them in the palm of his hand.

One thankful momma,

Amy O’Donnell

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