I don't have a military background, but I often run my house a bit like a drill sergeant. I value order and cleanliness. That means it would typically be unacceptable to write with permanent marker on any area of any space in my home. So when my 17 year-old daughter, Jessica, came to me to ask if she could write on the back of her door in marker, I didn't hesitate to snap out a, No way! I was imagining a door of graffiti with peace signs, unicorns and song excerpts which aren't necessarily bad things, but we were talking permanent marker here. Rather than protest, she instead quietly offered she wanted to write on the back of her door so that every time she closed it (which is often) she'd be reminded of verses she needs to cling to. How can any mom say no to that? I think I may have even handed her the markers.
Most of the door displayed her favorite verses. And yes, there were song excerpts. Not lyrics from from Katy Perry or Eminem- rather from Matthew West and Switchfoot. Both songs are about living a life with purpose. On another area of the door she writes a word twelve times -something she realizes she struggles with- patience. And at the top she has drawn a butterfly, her favorite, as it symbolizes the beauty of rebirth.
Jessica should know a bit about rebirth and how God makes beautiful things from ashes. She has lived through some tough stuff . Things no child should endure. Statistically speaking, she should be in a much different place than where she stands now. I could conceitedly claim my drill sergeant methods behind the young woman she has become, but I cannot rightfully take credit. Instead, my heart is filled with thankfulness for a gracious God who never fails us. Gratitude for a God who listens and longs for our prayers in the quiet of the night as we worry how our kids will turn out despite our parenting. Jess wasn't raised the way her sisters are being raised. She was an innocent witness to parents in a disintegrating and dysfunctional marriage and inevitable divorce. A child living in the dark and left behind often fails to identify her worthiness and place in this life. Statistically speaking, she could be standing on another ground -a sandy one. One filled with quicksand. But our God is far above statistics and in His tender mercy, His grip is firm and unfailing. He's a redeemer. A deliverer. A healer.
My husband recently picked up a beautiful, new door. It's a 6 panel, solid-oak door he had in mind to replace the cheap one from Jessica's room. But the other day as I sat on the edge of my daughter's bed chatting with her, I glimpsed the old door and said a silent prayer of gratitude. Then I thought that the newer, nicer door could sit in the garage --indefinitely.
*Update - as of today, Jessica has since changed rooms and the door has traveled with her. No longer as a door-rather a work of art, and a daily reminder. She adds to it frequently. See new photo.*