It’s a Mom and Pop Organization

Kathleen Kjolhaug

Theology in the Trenches Religion Columnist

Isee it coming before it ever happens. As if peering through a set of binoculars, I see trouble up ahead and am veering traffic off the road in order to derail plans just in case there is danger lurking.

I innately want to protect. After all, I think I know what’s best for those near and dear to me.

Some people say, “Yup, she’s a fixer.” Yet, I’ve yet to meet a mama whose heart doesn’t desire to make the road a tad smoother for those whom she loves. So, let’s take that label off the table.

Looking back on how my mama did things might be a good place to begin for understanding why I do what I do. Hmmm … let me think. Come to think of it, what I appreciated most about mom and dad was that they, too, loved their children. But, in times of trouble … my recall of how they responded is quite different.

In their wisdom, their lectures were wordless, sending one message. They were confident I would handle what it was I was going through … as well as letting me know that I would be the owner of any of the consequences of my actions. They sent this message by never bailing me out. By never bailing me out, the message sent was that I’d be able to figure it out. Loud and clear was the silent code that if I landed on my rear, I would bounce back. I owned each and every decision I made … consequences and all.

So, where did that leave me in any given moment when in helpless estate? It left me smack dab in the middle of God’s hands because, you see, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Nope … He just doesn’t. That is a promise, and our God does not lie. Not only does He not lie, but He keeps His promises.

So, when my tracks took me off to college, God showed up in ways everlasting. In times of trouble, in times of poor choices, He spoke … to me … within me … and deeply. When I chose to go out into the big world under the heading of Peace Corps Volunteer … God showed up. Yup. He plopped me under the direct leadership of a believer. He then placed me, for my full two years, merely one block away from two School Sisters of Notre Dame. They were not only part of my work, but part of my life as they prayed with me and for me daily. He drew me nigh in moments I didn’t realize that it was He who was drawing.

When I chose to go out with goobers, God showed up. He showed up in visions and dreams which lead me right into the life of the man I have been with for the past thirty-five years.

Where were my mom and pop? They stayed home, lived their lives, and prayed believing that our precious God knows more, loves me more, and would see me through in times of trouble.

He did, too. He taught me that He bought me with a price tag too high to pay back. He taught me that as a sinner, He has forgiven me and doesn’t even remember my sins so far as the east is from the west … so who am I to put them on display for others to see and hear about? They no longer exist … so no wonder my memory bank is short on my shortcomings.

As I let go and allow Him to bring those whom I love through this gift called life … He, too, will no longer remember their shortcomings as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). It’s all for His glory.

As I write, I remember that no matter what a mama’s heart might deem fitting for her child and their wanderings … ultimately, the truth is that Father knows best. Amen.

( Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)