An Affirming End to a Challenging Year

 

 

Micah

Since we gave Micah Man permission to have his own Facebook account this past year, I confess I give even greater consideration to the types of things that I post about my eldest son to an on-line audience. I want the things that I write or post about all of my children to be affirming of them in one way or another. Micah has quick and easy access to what I share. Therefore, I must be mindful of him.

A while back, Micah and I made a deal about the things we post. As long as I don’t embarrass him, he won’t embarrass me. We decided to protect each other’s back so to speak. With this promise in mind, I share the following words:

This year has not been a particularly easy one for Micah. He would acknowledge that as well. As an eighth grade student in an 8-12 grade South African high school, who hails from another country and who really does strive to live his life for Jesus Christ, Micah discovered that it was difficult to fit in among his peers. The truth of the matter was that he didn’t; his keen interest in history, his musical tastes, his favorite sports teams, how he chose to spend his free time, his demeanor, his language choices, and world view just didn’t align with the majority of his classmates. Over time, he chose to do the best he could and determined to live out his favorite verses from Romans 12, this past year at school:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12: 1-2 New International Version

It wasn’t easy.

His feelings were hurt many times, as Micah Man is a sensitive kid – like so many of us.

He was frustrated and struggled to understand why things happened as they did.

He worked hard, though. He studied as best as a 14 year old kid could as he tackled nine different subjects.

And throughout the course of the year, we prayed as a family for Micah and for the Lord to reveal His will and purpose in Micah’s life.

As we considered the next year, it became more and more apparent to John and me that we needed to take a longer furlough in 2015. However, with Micah enrolled in a South African high school, taking a longer furlough would not be possible. We prayed with Micah, Jake, and Caleb about it. I began to investigate other schooling options that could support our needs for a flexible schedule. In time, I was led to Alpha Omega Academy, an on-line accredited high school in the United States.

We talked to an adviser from the school. I gleaned ideas, information, and advice from different sources about this homeschooling option for Micah. And in time, we felt a degree of peace and assurance that this was to be Micah’s next step. We enrolled Micah in Alpha Omega Academy and in turn submitted our termination notice to his South African school.

In the meantime, John and I still asked Micah to do his best and finish well at his present school.

And he did.

To our great surprise this week, Micah returned home from the school’s awards assembly with several awards in hand. One of these awards recognized Micah as the school’s Student of the Year. Of all the 8-12 grade students in the school, Micah was awarded this distinction based not only on his academic performance but upon his character. We were amazed!

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One of the school principals shared with us, “Micah stood out to us over the year because he did his best through his challenges!”

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It doesn’t always work out like that in life, does it?

Yet, our God chose, at this particular time, to affirm Micah. The recognition offered is an encouragement to our son to hold fast to his God, to his values, to his personhood, and trust that he can work through the difficulties he faces in life on earth. The trophy he earned has his name on it. He’ll keep it for a short duration of time before returning it to the school. And that’s neat.

Micah Man

Yet, just as Micah’s name is engraved on this Student of the Year trophy, even more importantly, Micah’s name is intimately known and tenderly  engraved on the hands of the living God, his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ…

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…. Isaiah 49:16 a New International Version

And this is the truth we want our son to hold in his heart and mind, wherever he goes in the future. Micah is known by His Savior. Micah is remembered by his Lord. Micah is valued by his God. And whatever is ahead in his life, his God goes with him and has his back.

Congratulations, Micah Man! We are very proud of you and for the young man you are and for the man that you are becoming in Christ!

Your dad, your brothers, and I commend you – you stayed true to yourself and you stayed true to your God as you walked an arduous path – all to the glory and honor of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has your name engraved on his own hands!

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