F.R.O.G.

My twins’ second-grade teacher Mrs. M gave them the basis for a lifelong theology last year. In a classroom decorated with frogs—ALL kinds of them, even those amazingly brilliant tree frogs that look like they’ve been dipped in paint—with pet frogs in an aquarium in the corner and a teacher who occasionally wore frog-decorated clothing, my kids learned, over and over, an amazing lesson: F.R.O.G. Fully Rely on God.

That’s a powerful lesson, especially when it’s coupled with a teacher who lives it out—as Mrs. M does, in spite of some pretty heavy issues in both her past and present.

I can’t begin to count the number of surgeries Mrs. M has had. She’s also had cancer. Her mother died last year. She taught much of the 2011-12 school year with her arm in a sling; this year she’s had to use a rolling “thingie” to support one knee while she’s taught. She is often in great pain.

She models F.R.O.G.ing, not with fake smiles or a grin-and-bear-it attitude, but with a full acknowledgement that reliance on anything or anyone OTHER than God is a gamble she is not willing to take. The result is a woman marked by quiet persistence who extends honest grace to herself and to others.

The result is a woman who teaches F.R.O.G.ing not only with her words but with her life.

I’m still learning to F.R.O.G. My twins think they “learned it” last year, but they’ll find it’s a lifelong lesson. It’s so easy for us to put our trust in something or someone other than God. This life “seems” to demand it, and even though we know, deep down, that we’re eventually doomed to be disappointed by others or “stuff,” we hope—and sometimes even pray—that we will not be one of the “unlucky” ones who gets cancer, or whose spouse cheats, or whose children get sick or die. We trust in our jobs, assuming that we will not be the one who loses it and becomes homeless.

F.R.O.G.ing requires that we grip things loosely, with an understanding that all things could go “wrong,” but we are still held fast by a God who is not rocked by any circumstances. We cannot genuinely and completely F.R.O.G. here on earth. (I’ve seen people who try to F.R.O.G. in their own strength. They hold back from deep relationship with other people and live in extreme asceticism, but this isn’t true trust and it certainly doesn’t do others any good.) But a genuine desire to fully trust that is borne out of the understanding that we are not capable–not even of trusting–will be answered. God will gently deepen our trust through one trial after another in which He is proven to be, time and again, a faithful, loving, ever-present God.

This morning I read I Peter 5:7 in the Amplified version. In most other versions, it’s such a quick verse that it’s easy to blip over its meaning, but God used the Amplified version to catch my attention today: “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” I Peter 5:7

In Isaiah 30, God rebukes His people because they are trusting in an alliance with another nation. They have placed their confidence in the false prophets who told them everything would be “okay.” God reminded them that this was a wrong source of trust: “In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength. But you would not,”

Today I am grateful for Mrs. M. She is one who lives out returning and resting and trusting confidence.

And in doing so, she has given a lasting gift to many

Emily and Kelly trying out a homemade face mask they made.

Emily and Kelly trying out a homemade face mask they made.

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