On June 13, my identity as an Elementary School mom officially ended when my youngest son finished his last day of 5th grade. During a special breakfast honoring all the “graduates” parents lined the walls of the cafeteria as the kids ate and we all watched a DVD of pictures from their elementary years. Tears welled up in my eyes as a photo of my son in Kindergarten showed on the screen. His sweet round face and his smile revealing a missing tooth made my heart ache.
After the party, parents lingered to clean up and share a few moments reflecting on how quickly the years had flown. The activities that have been woven into the fabric of our lives are now cherished memories: chaperoning field trips, attending special performances, receiving construction paper projects, displaying clay creations, teaching art lessons, leading reading groups, helping at math stations, and chatting with the crossing guards and other parents on the way to school are all part of our family history now. They are no longer a present reality.
All of this nostalgia could lead me down a dangerous path of negative thinking. I could spend so much time thinking about all of the things that will never happen again that I could miss out on embracing this new season my family is entering. I have two boys on the brink of entering high school and middle school. So, while it’s true that my kids are older and I won’t be as “hands on” with their schooling, the truth is that I have not lost relevance in their worlds. I am still very much needed and wanted.
True vs. truth: it’s a concept that I’ve been thinking about for the last few days as I’ve been working through a new Bible Study book this summer called No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. She uses the story of Adam and Eve to drive home some powerful observations about what happens when we fixate on isolated things that are “true” but fail to see the larger context of Truth (with a capital “T”). In case you need a refresher, here’s the story from Genesis 3:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Minter points out that while the serpent did deceive Eve, nothing he said was false in that immediate moment: they did gain knowledge of good and evil and they did not die immediately (although their disobedience did ultimately bring death into the world). She quotes Michael Wells of Abiding Life Ministries who says, “Satan will tell us what’s true, but he never tells us the truth.”
I’ve been thinking about that quote all week. How often do I fixate on what is “true” in the moment, but fail to see the bigger Truth?
There are many times when I let what is true in the moment deceive me and prevent me from seeing the bigger picture. I can lose perspective when a friend unintentionally hurts me, or when the scale doesn’t show the weight I expect to see. It might be an unanticipated expense that threatens my confidence in God’s provision. It could be something big like the news I learned this week: a close friend from high school has been put on hospice care and will soon be going home to Heaven. It’s true that I am deeply saddened, but the greater Truth is that she has eternal life in Christ and gets to meet Him face to face very soon. The opportunities to focus on the little “t” and the big “T” are endless.
Armed with my new knowledge of discerning the difference between what is “true” and what is “Truth,” I pray that I will not be so easily deceived. I don’t want to get so wrapped up in the small things that I fail to recognize the big picture. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Now that’s Truth with a capital “T” that I can believe, no matter what.
Click on the links below to hear two of my favorite songs that show the difference between what is “true” and what is “Truth.”
“Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray
“Never Been Unloved” by Michael W. Smith