He had some anxiety about starting kindergarten. Not knowing a soul at the school, or how to play tetherball, or which gate to line up at- it’s tough being a kid, ya know? Change is change, regardless of age.
And so the weeks leading up to “the big day” Bry and I would pray over him, pulling him close and talking into his blonde curls.
God, help Tanner be strong and courageous- not on his own, but because You give him strength when he is scared. Help him ask you for your peace when he is nervous. I mean, who of us don’t get nervous in new situations? As he looks for friends, would you please help him shift his perspective to be a friend to someone that may be nervous or sitting by themselves. We are so excited about how you are going to use Tanner to depend on you this year. Thanks for being our strength when we are scared.
On the first day, we got him settled in class and with a hug and “See you at 2, bud” his eyes pooled and The Incredible Ms. Knotts swooped in and distracted him by deeming Tanner her “special helper for the day.” At pick-up, our oldest was all-smiles, and it’s been “is today a school day?” excitement ever since.
We continue to pray with him every morning. Do you need a friend, T? Then be a friend. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and pray for the kid who could use a buddy.
A week after starting kindergarten, I checked my email, and there in black and white letters was a note from Tanner’s teacher:
I read. I cried. Then big ol’ proud mama tears. Snot included.
A parent had emailed Ms. Knotts about her son having a tough time with transition. He didn’t have any friends. Could she think of someone who would perhaps be his buddy?
Ms. Knotts immediately thought of Tanner and his “kind heart.”
Would Tanner be his friend?
Would he? More tears. This is exactly what we had been praying for.
Need a friend? BE a friend.
Isn’t it amazing when we are nervous or anxious about something how all-consuming it can be? Yet, if we shift our perspective from ourselves and turn it outward, if we choose to have fresh eyes to focus on another, suddenly our “need” transforms to “be.”
Every day the offer invites.
Need encouragement? BE encouragement?
Need hope? BE hope?
Need a listening ear? BE a listening ear.
Need grace? BE grace.
Love. You need it? Then BE it.
Need a friend? BE a friend.
Because right now, your fear, the one nagging deep in your gut, just as Tanner felt before starting school, may be a turning point for allowing the Lord to transform your “need” into a willing “be.”
The next day at school, Tanner befriended this boy. He even brought a bracelet to cement their friendship, but his newfound buddy wasn’t so sure. What he did know was Tanner would be there at lunch, sitting next to him and at the playground, playing Star Wars alongside. Not a day has gone by that Tanner doesn’t talk about his new friend and how glad he is they are buddies.
This past weekend we had their entire family over for dinner. As we topped home-made pizzas with smoked mozzarella, basil, and grilled chicken, four kids jumped on the trampoline late into the night. Red wine sips and chocolate chip calzones and a flickering lantern floated among cafe lights as Bryan and I welcomed in strangers and waved goodbye to new friends.
And to think it started with a prayer.
Need a friend? Be a friend? Scared? Ask God to be your strength when you are nervous. We can’t wait to see what He’ll do.
From vulnerable places, I can’t help but wonder the thousands of prayers being braved this moment:
God, I have a need.
And, God in His perfect timing looks at you, and gently whispers, “They have a need. Are you willing to be?”