Jesus is My Rock

by Kendra Wallace

We stood in the archways during the outdoor service during the summer and Reverend Howe explained the yellow piece of card stock that had been included with our church service. As always, I get choked up with the idea of the start of the school year and the significant marker that our children are in fact a year older and getting wiser. I thought it was a genius idea and began to plan in my head the different "trinket" ideas we would use to create this ceremony with Mandarin.

It was the night before the start of school and with the move, us still being displaced and figuring it all out, there was no significant symbol to transfer to our daughter as a promise of our support to her and the faith that she carries with her. She attended a Christian preschool in California and has definitely caught faith and is not shy about gathering hands and encouraging strangers and friends to pray over a meal. At the school, they sang a son, "Jesus is my rock" and as young kids do both she and our middle daughter love to collect them and of course Abby Gadabby has her pet rock. Given the timeline and what was going to work, a rock seemed the perfect piece.
So, we went on field trip in our backyard and talked about the big day and sat and played around with the rocks that surround the lights and statues in Grami and Papa's backyard and found one that fit perfectly into her palm. I quickly pocketed it and we headed inside. In our boxes somewhere, we have more art supplies than Target, but we were not at home so my resources were in the kitchen drawer at grandma's house. I found a red and black sharpie and quickly put a heart in the middle of one side. I then wrote the first letter of each member of our family's name surrounding the heart and on the other side of the rock, was Mandarin's name ( in JK you tend to loose or drop things or put them in great places and this hopefully ensured a safe return).
That night before bed, I pulled Mandarin onto my lap as we sat on the floor and told her I had something for her. She opened her hands and I put the rock there. "Oh cool mom, a rock." She was told, "Like Jesus is your rock, so is your family and this symbolizes our love for you and a belief in all the incredible things you will learn and do at school. And if you have a tough day or just want to know how much you are loved, hold this rock and you will remember."

She quickly got up and zipped it into the front pocket of her back pack. The next morning we all walked to school together and watched as our baby walked up the stairs to JK, entered her classroom, hung everything in her cubby and ran off to play.

At the end of the day I went to pick her up and I didn't make it in time to catch them right as the kids walked out so they were standing in line waiting for the carpool line to present their respective parent. As I walked towards her, I saw she had her hands closed together in front of her. She saw me and came running and I got those awesome hugs and kisses. "Mandarin, what are you holding?" She looked up and opened her hand, "my rock." I couldn't believe it. "I thought you had forgotten me and I wanted to make sure."

That Sunday, I told Reverend Howe the story and then told Mandarin I was going to share it with the church. She went to her bag and took out the rock and handed it to me. Her dad had just left the country for two weeks so it was the 4 of us four of us - or me juggling 3 kids under 5, new schools, a house renovation, being back at mom and dad's, etc. She said, "Here mom, you can have it for a little bit, I think you need it more than me right now. Remember, Jesus is your rock."

The rock is now safely returned to Mandarin's backpack and I peek in to see if she still keeps it there...and she does. Sometimes I see her holding it and I know she shared it with her teacher. It was such a simple suggestion, but like Rev. Howe said, Jesus is caught and the love of family and faith are incredibly powerful. Thank you Holy Comforter for making this suggestion and placing us as partners in this journey.