Ethan sat in a pile on the couch. I could tell his mind was brewing and his heart was stewing.
"What's up E?"
"Oh, I'm just thinking."
"Yeah, about what?"
"I don't want to go back to Haiti."
We visit this conversation a lot with Ethan. Sometimes we have a hard time discerning where he's coming from. Sometimes he can just be indifferent for the sake of being indifferent and then there are times he seems to have a legitimate concern. Always, we need the Spirit aiding us in this role called parenting! Honestly, I wasn't up for the big conversation that needed to happen. Selfishness loomed and I'd much rather continue with the 'important' he was "interrupting". This is the conversation that asks a lot of questions, allows Ethan to speak; drawing out his heart, reminding him who God is and praying with him. I need this kind of care too but unfortunately I can respond quite lazily to him. Not this time, Lord. Help me to hear his heart and speak truth in a loving and gracious way. We need you here. Right now.
I jumped in, "Why not, son?"
"Well. I don't know."
"You probably had more fun in Haiti than anywhere we've ever lived."
"Yeah. But now we're here."
"Ethan, is God's grace here with you like it was in Haiti?"
"Yes. But...", he trailed off in thought.
"Will God's grace lead you no matter where you are? Is He always there for you?"
"Yes. But it's just that I like being here."
"Yeah, why is that?"
"Well...I like smooth roads. You know, I really like smooth roads. I like to rollerblade outside on those smooth roads. And ride my bike. In Haiti you're always trapped in behind big fences."
I nodded my head in agreement.
"And, Mom...I like my family. My uncles. My cousins. I just like America."
"But Ethan, when you were in Haiti and God was so gracious with you there...you didn't really want to come back to America."
"Yeah, I know."
"Ethan, if God's grace is always providing for you here or there, you will be happy in Him. Because everything He's provided is meant to point you to Him not the thing itself."
He's tracking with me now and his heart seems open.
"Truth be told...there are things I really like here too. It's hard to not have some of the amenities that our country offers but all of this is passing away. He provides above and beyond every place he puts us. It's not always what we expect or what we think we need. Sometimes it's not things at all. Sometimes it's Himself. You know what? In everything He provides it's always to point us to Him. You see E, it's really Him that we want. He is the Provider and He's always with us. We want to be where He is."
With a much more settledness we prayed together. Our hearts both needed reminded of this truth and His power to fill us with joy in Him. We easily get our eyes fixed on His gifts; losing sight of Him. Our hearts are happiest when they are satisfied in Him. We're satisfied in Him when we're worshipping Him. We can't worship Him unless we see Him and we don't see Him unless we're reminded often of who He is.