Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Lord, Why was I never chosen for anything?

I was never chosen to be milk monitor at school (I hated milk, but desperately wanted a turn at stabbing little pink straws through the foil tops of thirty-odd tiny bottles of milk), I was never chosen to be the one to sharpen the pencils, and I was particularly never among the first to be chosen for netball or hockey or rounders teams. 

At the beginning of this term Elizabeth came home from her year one class to say that she'd put her hand up to be in the running to be Green Class Healthy Living Representative, but that she'd missed out by one vote and so wasn't chosen.  Then the following day she said that she'd volunteered to be Green Class Eco Committee Representative but she'd again missed out by one vote so again she wasn't chosen.

Her (very lovely) teacher asked for a word with me and with great sympathy told me how sad she'd been for Lizzie that she'd tried to get involved but missed out so narrowly each time, and so they'd worked out between them that if either of the reps for the two committees were off sick, then Lizzie could go to the meetings instead.  My poor lovely Lizzie. My heart broke that she'd wanted it so badly but not been successful. She'd been brave enough to put herself forward but other children were more popular. They've got their photos on the wall instead of her.

So far she's never been called upon to go to a meeting in place of the elected reps. I suppose it was a long shot. Maybe next year. I wonder if she'll still have the confidence next year. Please God she will. I don't want it crushed out of her so soon.

It felt a bit as if history was repeating itself.  That feeling of being too late, nearly but not quite, not fast enough, not confident enough, not popular enough. It wasn't nice, seeing my beautiful daughter crestfallen. I wondered if other mums, who hadn't got such a chip on their shoulder - who didn't remember that awful feeling of being left out, convinced of their own inadequacy -  might have been better at comforting their daughters, better at building up. Still, I did my best, and Elizabeth still lives in hope of having the chance to step up and be the stand-in Eco or Healthy Living rep.

Lord, don't let it take forty years for my girls to realise that they have been chosen, that they are chosen, that they are good enough, that you have deliberately selected them because they are themselves. Not first reserve, not first too late, not also ran. And what's more, they're chosen by someone more important that all their classmates combined, for something much more important than milk monitor, or Eco representative. They are chosen by you, to be your special friend.

1 Thessalonians 1:4
'...for we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you...'

How I pray for my girls that it wouldn't take them so long to understand that this makes us important for no other reason than we are who we are. It gives us an important job to do that no-one but us can do!  A special mission, just for my Lizzie and my Katy, and for me!

I am chosen. I am not left on the bench. It doesn't matter how many committees I am not on, or how many teams I was left out of, or how many cliques at the school gates I am not invited to be part of, for that matter.  Because I am chosen by God to be his child.

There's no room for low self esteem if we understand what this means. I wonder at myself, how I can have one moment realising, 'Blimey, I have been chosen! I have!'  and then within days, hours, minutes, seconds! I can start to worry about what other people think, what impression did I make, are people criticising me, or laughing at me, or wondering what I'm doing here. Why do the good things disappear so easily but the bad things hang around and haunt me?  It's a constant battle.

But you have chosen me.  You know me, you know me inside and out.  You know what I'm good at and what I can't do and what scares me and what excites me and what I hope for and what I worry about and you know how nice I can be and how nasty I can be and still you chose me.

1 Thessalonians 1:4
'...for we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you...'

I pray that it doesn't take my little girls forty years to see the wonder in that. Please.


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