Monday, February 13, 2017

Glistening Eyes - Observations From Night to Shine

Photo image courtesy of Enrique Ramos Lopez via 123rf.com
This is what I have asked of God for you: that you will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love, and that you will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding. For God’s secret plan, now at last made known, is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the mighty, untapped treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
~ Colossians 2:2-3, TLB ~

Did you attend one of the 375 unforgettable Night to Shine prom events this year? If your child is too young for this to be on your radar yet, you should know that the Tim Tebow Foundation is behind these remarkable evenings, treating challenged teenagers and young adults as royalty at multiple locations worldwide all on the same night. It's as if all of Heaven celebrates these fearfully and wonderfully made guests in concert on this incredibly special evening each year.

Visit the Tim Tebow Foundation website
to learn more about Night to Shine

While my hometown had one of these host locations, I was invited to speak at another location 2 hours north of us. The Green Bay Community Church event was one of many that held a concurrent dinner for parent-caregivers at the same time the prom was being held. It was my great privilege to dine with and speak to these awesome, fellow warrior parents.

As I was watching this spectacular night unfold, I couldn't help but notice something remarkable -- Glistening Eyes. Beautifully dressed kids either boldly charged or sophisticatedly sashayed down the red carpet accompanied by joyful escorts. Their twinkling faces and those of crowds cheering them on or dancing alongside in the "ballroom" were quite the sight to behold. It wasn't hard to see how much each "king" or "queen" enjoyed this evening.

At the same time, I saw a different sort of glistening eyes while I addressed the parents. Reminding them, "Don't Walk the Red Carpet Alone©," I saw the pain of many difficult years in their faces. Their eyes moistened as I acknowledged all the years we parents spend isolated, no play dates for our children, marginalized, helping our kids through heartbreaking bullying. Yet, I encouraged them that we were made for community. God made us for evenings like Night to Shine. This is how it was meant to be, and how glorious that our children were finally receiving their due. 

Barb with one of the awesome parent-caregiver attendees
Through the tears, I let these parents know that there is a Prom Date who will never stand us up. He's waiting for you to take His arm and walk the red carpet together. He is there even when you feel alone. Through wobbly knees and butterflies in the stomach, he'll hold you up. He's crazy in love with each of us and our kids. He will escort us to a glorious ending even better than the one that awaits kids at the end of the red carpet on Night to Shine. His name is Jesus, and He's just waiting for you to take His arm.
Tears of pain gave way to tears of pride. It was a treasure for me to listen to many stories parents shared with me afterward. They told of how difficult it was to let their child go and be without them on this night, but were pleasantly surprised at how well they had managed the event. Others gratefully beamed telling of the progress their child had made. Still others exuded contentment as they soaked in the knowledge that raising a remarkable child had a profound influence on their life.

In the end, the glistening wasn't just coming from temporal things like crowns, tiaras, and beautiful gowns. It wasn't even merely coming from smiling faces or tearful eyes. Rather there was a twinkle deep down in parents' souls as God affirmed their infinite worth and that of their precious children.

PRAY: Abba, Father, thank You for such a precious reminder of who we are in You. Going forward, may a night like this change lives and cultural perceptions of what it is to live a life that matters.

3 comments:

  1. My daughter went to her first one and I was so full of joyful tears for her and her friends. God is awesome!

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  2. Beautiful. I need to go to one of these someday! Such a great thing!

    ReplyDelete