Lessons in Kindergarten class: extending a hand.

My daughter is five, and she’s headed off to Kindergarten next fall.

She’s my girly girl, these days decorating her petite fingernails with every color of the rainbow and bedazzling her soft fingers with sparkly rings.

girls-holding-hands

We were at our 10-week Kindergarten prep class a few days ago, and she was being, well, a kid. The first half hour is free play, where parents awkwardly stand around (and quietly pray their kid isn’t the one to act up or melt down first). It was a long day, and true to her age, she tugged on my shirt, gave me a disgusted look about the snack, and spilled her glass of water across the desks. I silently sighed and remembered: she is five, after all.

The true test comes when the parents separate from the kids. It’s nearly 7 p.m., and a handful of kids struggle. The youthful nerves show up in timid smiles, clinging hugs and damp-cheeked goodbyes.

That’s when I saw a side of her that instantly melted my mama heart. Moments ago she was complaining about the food; now, she was outstretching her arm and extending her hand to the curly-haired girl with tears freely flowing as dad exited the room.

“It’s okay. You can come and sit with me. It’s okay.”

My often hard-to-control, wild-blue-eyed, strong-willed child spoke these words quietly, calmly, confidently. With her loving gesture, she kindly offered her rainbow-and-ring-adorned hand and a small piece of her heart.

At 23 years her elder, I so often forget to extend my hand. My hands feel full, and I could use a few more of them to help with the daily juggling act, to keep all the plates spinning. I forget to look around me to see which eyes are blinking back tears, which smiles are hiding secrets, which souls could really, really use an invitation to “come and sit with me” for a moment.

At the same time, I forget that God extends His hand every moment of every day. We do not have to do life on our own. We are loved just as we are by the Maker of the universe, and further, He perfectly places imperfect people in our lives who are extending their hands, who want to help, who are being Jesus in the flesh. We just need to accept the offer, even when, especially when, our eyes are puffy and our hearts are timid.

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