In one startling moment, I was seized with a tormenting fear I had never before experienced. My soul cried out with a core wrenching plea of despair to God. “Please Lord; touch the hearts of my new friend’s with your understanding, compassion, and mercy!”
Overcome with the thought that my slip-up was either too small or too big for God to intervene and rescue me, I neglected Paul’s reminder, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).
Instead I succumbed to wallowing in my self made mud puddle of dread. Had I completely destroyed my daughter’s two new friendships in addition to mine with their mothers?
Teri, a single parent committed to her personal convictions of religious discipline, had never allowed her daughter Jennie to mingle with anyone outside of their church affiliation.
Although Teri was drawn to me for reasons she couldn’t explain, she did voice her concern that I observed the Sabbath on Sundays instead of Saturdays and confessed that she did not understand my affirmation of having a personal relationship with the Lord.
Emily on the other hand, also a single parent, had shared with me that while she too was a Christian, was not comfortable professing her faith publicly. She did not want people to think she was a religious fanatic.
Eager to cultivate a meaningful rapport with my new friends and share a living God with them, I invited their children to a day at the water park with Kimi and me.
Hesitantly, Terri and Emily consented, each with their own stipulations. “It’s Friday, so please have Jennie home before sundown.” Teri reminded me. “And make sure Seth doesn’t feel left out as the only boy.” Emily implored.
“Your children are in good hands.” I gingerly reassured them. “We’ll meet you back at Coleman Park at 5:00 p.m. sharp!”
As we approached the park upon returning home, my faux pas began swirling around inside my head at warp speed when Jennie spoke up, “Please don’t tell my mom what happened or I may never be able to see any of you again.”
“As much as I’d like NOT to Jennie, it’s the right thing to do. It would sound even worse if your parents didn’t hear it from me.”
Slothfully dragging ourselves out of the car, all four of us reluctantly made our way over to Emily and Teri.
We were greeted with smiles of Hi and Hello, until both mothers realized that their children were abnormally quiet. Looking at Jennie, Teri inquired first, “What’s wrong?” and then Emily looking at me, quizzically repeated Teri’s question.
Heavy-hearted, I apprehensively began my explanation.
“To begin with, since we don’t have video games in our home, Game Boy and Play Station are completely foreign to me. When I noticed that Seth hadn’t said much during the ride down the hill, I asked him how he liked his new Play Station. When he didn’t answer me, I gave him a little nudge in his ribs and said, Oh come on Seth, you must have something to say, I would think most 10 year old boys have one and really enjoy it.
“When he didn’t answer back, I looked into the review mirror and met Kimi’s eyes glaring at mine from the backseat. Bewildered, I asked what’s wrong; MOM, you got Play Station and Game Boy mixed up, it’s Play STATION!”
No one said a word and the silence left me wanting to vaporize into thin air when Jennie began crying, “It really was an honest mistake Mom.” Seth who was now also crying, added, “She really is sorry.”
After a long dreaded pause, Teri and Emily broke out into unanticipated laughter and the kid’s tears also began turning into laughter. Teri spoke first, “I can see how easily that could have happened.” Smiling, Emily lightheartedly joined in, “Yea and my son doesn’t seem to have any affects of long term trauma, so just don’t let it happen again.”
Releasing my tears of relief, we ended that day in a group hug and still continue to be good friends.
Leisurely walking back to my car, I silently thanked God not only for the unexpected and loving way He intervened into my crisis, but especially for His forgiveness of my ignoble skepticism.
As I unlocked the car, I looked at my daughter and slowly exhaled a lengthy, stress relieving “PHEW!”
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