One of the daily struggles in our house is making sure that the girls get their homework done. They have a few different times of day where they have the opportunity to do it with an adult but sometimes they still end up wiggling out of it without us catching them. The other night one of the girls started asking me for help on a project that she had. She had to make a poster of one of the country's hero's and draw a picture of him along with the Dominican flag to present to her teacher later in the week. I already began to foresee that this was not going to be an easy task, and I began helping her look for a picture of the individual that she was told to research and illustrate.
A few nights later and we were still working on the project. We were to the point where she had given up the idea of even TRYING to draw the figure and insisted that I do it for her. I explained to her that I grew up in a house where my parents never did my homework for me, but every time I asked for help, they would always say yes and help me through it. So I told her, "if you just give me your hand, I'll guide you through it. We'll draw him together." I had already drawn an example in her notebook the night before to prepare her, but still she was very resistant. I saw that the struggle was so much deeper. It was one I have seen far too many times with these girls... Their lack of confidence, self-belief... Moments when deep-rooted lies surface that roadblocked their God-given ability to be creative.
So I sat there. I insisted. Gave her words of encouragement. Even tried to lighten the mood by making jokes out of our struggle and her resistance. I told her we could sit there all night and I still wasn't going to do it for her. I just kept telling her that if she took the pencil I would guide her hand in drawing the figure, but then she would tell me, "I can't do it Carina, I can't draw, I don't know how..."
I then spoke with more strength than I had previously, hoping that my words would gain a greater weight in her mind...
"Do you think I'm leaving you do to it all by yourself? My words are true. Listen to me and I promise we'll do it together."
Finally... After 40 minutes of convincing... She finally reached our her hand.
I put the pencil in her palm and she grabbed it, and when I looked at her face I still saw reluctancy written all over it... But in that moment I already knew there was victory.
Once she had the pencil in position I put my hand over hers and we began to draw his face. I thought the struggle was going to be greater, but as we continued along with the task before us a something happened that I truly didn't expect... She began to take the lead. By the end of our time she was the one drawing the figure and I was the one watching it all unfold instead of doing it myself like she had wanted all along. Of course, there were moments of frustration... Moments when I thought she was about to take the poster and throw it out the window... But with encouragement, patience, and the help that I continually offered we finished the poster together.
That's when I realized it is worth it to wait in the difficult moments. That sometimes, maybe not always, but in this specific instance I was able to see the fruit of sticking with a girl who doesn't believe in herself, who is jaded and has a past ridden with lies and pains that continue to resurface in her present. I realized that she couldn't do it on her own, and if I wasn't there I believe she would still be staring at that blank poster board in front of her. But, that's okay, because even God doesn't permit that we would do ANYTHING alone. His heart is to always place us in community, and when do have those moments of solitude, our communion with the Holy Spirit is always accessible and imperative.
I'm realizing that we have to guide these girls into the way of Jesus. We literally have to let them enter into our own truths that we have collected and believed for ourselves over the years and let them see the better way, the greatest way that God offered us when we were lost and unable to see the light that now shines in and through us. Because without it being demonstrated before them, without them really being able to see for themselves the true person of Jesus by the way we live, act, think, and create they will just stay in the cheapened reality that the enemy painted for them, the lies that he continues to wave in front of their hearts and minds so that they might be blind to the goodness that awaits just beyond the darkness...
And that's where our hands come in... to reach out, to push back, and to make room for the flood of light that flows from those who have already received it.