We had a great weekend traveling last spring, traveling from Michigan to N. Kentucky to meet up with some fellow missionary friends from Niger and to visit the Creation Science Museum... even had this photo taken as a memento of the little bit of time our two families were able to share.
So, this photo brings back some great memories...
But the best thing about this photo?
Look at the expression on Anna's face... somehow, she was the only one who understood that we weren't just supposed to look up at the dinosaur, but that we were supposed to look afraid, since he was about to EAT us!
* GIGGLE *
However, that brings me to something that has been weighing on my heart the past few weeks. Even as an infant, Anna was always happiest when she had her whole family all together, right there close to her... She adored car rides because everyone was in close enough proximity that we could actually touch... So when she started school, she really struggled with the separation side of things. She'd made tremendous progress in three years of school at Ecole Alliance, here in Niamey. And then she had an amazing 4th grade year last year while we were in the States.
She is really nervous about starting back into the French program here again. She works hard at school, as she struggles with some issues related to dyslexia, so as you can imagine, working in a second language requires diligent effort. For the first time, she's the big sister at school - she doesn't have an older sibling there for comfort and encouragement when she runs into something hard. She's also afraid she won't even remember how to understand the French.
We think she can do it... and we want to give her the opportunity to prove to herself, that, just as Christopher Robin said to Pooh Bear in one of favorite kid movies, she is "braver than [she] believes, stronger than [she] seems, and smarter than [she] thinks."
A friend reminded me yesterday that when we pray for our kids, we like to pray that God spares them from all pain. But that is not how God often works, perhaps because we grow so much through the "fellowship of His suffering." Remembering that, we'd ask you to join with us in praying, not that Anna (or any of our children, for that matter) has a pain free school year, but rather that she has another awesome school year, continuing to walk with her Lord, grow, learn and increase in confidence that she is a capable gal with so much to offer those around her - because of the One Who resides in her heart. Pray, also, that in those moments when she feels all alone and scared, she remembers that she can be braver than she believes, stronger than she seems and smarter than she thinks...
...because she has the presence and the power of Jesus working in her.
So, I'm excited... and nervous... to see what God is going to do in the life of our sweet, beautiful, warm, loving clown of a little girl.