For two years our youngest small person attended a sweet and small neighborhood preschool. It was a change from what we chose for our older two but it was good for us. This preschool was at the kind of church where the director is also the 4 year old teacher and the weeder of plant beds and the manner of the pumpkin patch. It’s the kind of church I grew up in and when I first visited it felt like coming home.
I have not shared this story with many people and so it is even scarier to publish than my story about that dumb college boy who declared me less than a 10 on the appearance scale. Last August found us really evaluating where our money was going. After weeks of praying and gnashing of teeth and trying to be intentional a day arrived where preschool was on the chopping block. I will not ever forget the afternoon when I walked down the tea olive scented portico, tears streaming down my face, to tell that preschool director-slash-teacher-slash-plant maintainer-slash-pumpkin patch manner that we would not return for the school year. Every cement clad step echoed a deeper stab in my heart. I choked and blubbered my way through one of the hardest and most humbling goodbyes I’ve ever had to make.
Well. Maybe you can guess. The next day that sweet heart called me and she ministered grace to me and we talked through all of our worries and we figured out a way for my niblet to be part of that school. It is one of the most humbling gifts I’ve ever been given.
One of the things that teacher slash everything else loves is caramel cake and when the end of the year loomed sweet and heavy over us I decided that I would make her one. I’ve never made a caramel cake. I was determined. I set about all of the complicated steps because I really wanted to give her something she loved. With thirty minutes left in the morning, I had a mess of layers and dripping icing and tilting cake. I called it, scrambling through town and eventually buying her a huge fern.
I felt so confident that this thing I was doing would be good. Instead it was a mess and a disappointment and I gave her that fern with all kinds of apologies in my heart.
Paul insists that hope does not disappoint. That we can confidently expect good. That when we hope we will not be shamed by the outcome. So why does my heart sometimes feel like that tottering mess of caramel dripped cake?
Maybe it’s the not the what but the where. Where do I place my hope? I’m feeling more and more sure that we are misplacing hope. It’s meant to be settled squarely on the Lord and His promise keeping ways. So. I want to go there.
Let’s debunk all of the broken cisterns we hope will fill us up. Meet me here tomorrow? We’ll dig in.