Thursday, May 14, 2015


Years back, when I was a teacher in Australia I remember hiring an incubator with almost-ready-to-hatch eggs in it.  After a day or so of having it in the classroom, the first crack started to appear in one of the eggs and our ‘normal’ classwork temporarily stopped while sixteen little Grade 2 girls and I stood staring through the glass at the miracle unfolding before our eyes.

It was so exciting to see the little chicks poke their egg tooth through the shell, cracking just a bit at a time.  It was hard work for them and the process of getting that shell to crack all the way around and then pushing their bodies out took a huge amount of effort and energy.  Sometimes it would get near the end of one of the eggs cracking open and the little chick inside would seem to be running out of steam; desperately pulling on our heart strings as we watched it struggle.  But as those of you with experience in chicken hatching know, in most cases, you will do more harm than good in assisting a chick to hatch.  Unless you are very experienced and have a complete understanding of what is actually going on inside that shell on a physiological level, your decision to “help” will most likely have a disastrous effect.

I think for the last few months, that same “I-just-want-to-help-you-break-free-of-that-egg-shell” feeling of the chicken-hatching-process, pretty much sums up what I have been experiencing. 

In March, our family stepped out into a new role with the ZOE Transitional Program.  For every one of these young adults in the program, their journey of leaving ZOE and beginning a new stage of their life, has reminded me so much of that overwhelming sense of wanting to “do more" - the same as when I pressed my face up against the side of the incubator and watched helplessly as those determined, strong, precious chicks fought and struggled their way out of their shells and into the world. 

Sure. Many times we get to offer advice, we give counsel, we provide help and transport and care and gently redirect and correct but really… there have also been a lot of times when, honestly, I’ve just wanted to sit their job interview for them, follow them to work and sort out their concerns or give up my spectator’s seat and say, “I’ll take it from here.” 

Let me just crack through that last bit of shell for you and pull you out!

When our daughter was recently in hospital awaiting surgery for a broken arm, her relentless, uncontrollable sobbing weakened me to a blubbering mess.  Every time they had to find a vein, take blood, x-ray, move her, touch this, prod that, pull that… my tears started falling.  By the time they wheeled her away {screaming} to the operating theatre, I was completely beside myself.

Each time, in those first few days, that I stared into her big blue eyes filled with tears, I would’ve done anything to take her pain away and have it myself.

“You’re so brave” I kept telling her, “I just think you’re so brave.”

I love the work ZOE does.  Rescuing children, saving them, giving them a chance at a life they were meant to have. We know that their ‘time’ at ZOE is just so vital and important to their healing and their growth. 
What Dave and I are so privileged to be a part of is really the tail-end of so many years of hard work and love and time invested by the parents at ZOE that prepares each child for the chance to be free, to break out and to see life through new eyes. 
Parts of this transition process are so beautiful.  But parts of this transition process are also awkward and hard.  And while lots of times, we are tempted to say, “You know what, we’ll just do that for you.  We’ll fix that problem.  We’ll sort that out,” we know that victory and growth and ‘life’ is sometimes birthed through the struggle. 

I know that it is through so many of my own challenges that I have grown stronger and more able to stand firm when the next difficulty came my way.

All I could do last night, as we sat around listening to one of the girls as she bravely shared her feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty, was to remind myself that whilst I cannot break the egg shell open for her.  And I cannot take away her pain and her insecurities.  I can stand beside her, cheering her on.  I can let her know that she is precious, valuable, worthy and loved.  And I can keep directing her to the source, where words were written down, even before she was born, by the One who created her and already knew the magnificent plan He had for her life.

A few days ago, as I was brushing my daughter’s hair for her, she said to me, “Mummy.  When I was in the hospital, you said something to me that really helped me.  I just wanted to say thank you”. 
Immediately I paused and looked at her. “Thank you for telling me that I was brave” she said, “I didn’t feel brave but because you said it, it really helped me.”

Her words struck me.

“Because you said it.”

Yep! I’m going to have to keep trying hard to speak life and truth to the people that God places in my circle of influence this week.  


 Special Sunday breakfast buffet at the Transitional Home. 

1 comment:

Christine H said...

Another gem, Andrea. Thanks for sharing your heart ...I'm always encouraged, challenged and blessed by your writing. xx