It’s January 20th and we are finally getting a decent snow in Kentucky. Yes, I know it’s an inconvenience and people get all weird about driving and getting out in it. But it is so amazingly beautiful. And quiet. There is something different about the quiet that falls with snow. Snowy days are a great respite from the dreariness of winter. All the plants that are dead and dormant waiting for spring now glisten under a blanket of white.
For those with the list of snow day projects, will you mark something off your list? Or will you gather up in a big chair with hot tea and a book?
This morning in our Sunday school class (or Sunday morning Bible study, whatever you call it) we discussed a passage from Mark 10 when Jesus rebukes his disciples as they attempted to keep the children from Him. There are certainly many layers to this passage to explore, but the one that we camped out on was the fact that children have a point of view on faith and Jesus that we should value and pay attention to. Our children do represent future believers in our churches, future parents passing their faith to another generation, future employees and supervisors who will have a broader sphere of influence outside their home and churches. As parents we have an awesome responsibility to our children, to raise them to know the Lord personally and to carry their personal faith into adulthood. Allow me to take this responsibility a step further.
Not every believer is a parent. An individual who is a Christ follower may be an aunt or uncle, a teacher, a coach, or a friend of the family. These adults can have a HUGE impact in the life of a child. As I listened to the lesson this morning and I considered that many of the adults in the class were parents, I was grossly aware of the individuals who are not. But I know them to be investing in the lives of young people who God has brought into their lives.
I don’t often talk about my single parenting days, but during those eight years, the first eight years of my son’s life, I prayed for God to bring Godly men into his life. The prayer was answered in several ways – my brother who came to ball games and concerts; a friend from college who “happened” to be his Bible bowl coach and fifth grade teacher; a good friend who coached basketball and baseball; and the best of all, my husband and his step father who shows Christ to him every day.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me,” and He drew them into His arms. The children we encounter every day or every week need us to invest in them, take an interest and pray for them. To the parents reading this, be encouraged to stay the course and finish the race of parenting strong. When you are tired ask for prayer. As your children grow and become more independent, this is when the real-life choices come. They need you just as much to guide them through the worldly issues they will encounter, as when they were young and you made all the choices for them.
To the non-parents reading this, find a young person and even if you don’t have a close relationship with them, pray for them. Seek ways to cheer them on to a Godly adulthood.
All the best,
The tall strong father felt his little girl’s grip squeeze just a little tighter. Their steps were shortening the distance. After eight weeks of swimming lessons the determined reward was to get to go off the diving board by herself.
“You ok? Still want to do this?” The father spoke gently.
“Then why are you squeezing my hand?”
“Well, uh, I may be a little scared.”
The father nodded and kept walking. Arriving a few feet from the end of the line. The father knelt down and pulled the pony-tailed girl’s towel from around her shoulders. “You’re going to do great. It’s just like we talked about and practiced. You hold your breath, jump, big splash, then come up swimming toward the ladder.”
The little girl laughed at the big splash part. Her father’s reassuring words were as warm as the summer sunshine, melting her anxiousness. But the butterflies still bounced around her stomach.
“I, I, I, think I’m afraid, daddy.”
Knowing this was all his daughter had talked about during her swimming lessons. Having watched her watch the big kids every week at the pool; she at the shallow end and them laughing and doing all kinds of funny jumps, the father knew his daughter would enjoy.
In her small voice the girl said with rote memory, “Yes, what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
“That’s right. And we’ve talked about how to jump safely. You just got your completion certificate for all your lessons. AND” the father stressed, “You just swam three times the distance you will after jumping. I know you will do fine and if you get in pickle, I’m right here and will jump in. Look up in the chair, it’s Ms. Sara. She will be watching too.”
Ms. Sara waived. The little girl smiled real big and waved back. The site of one of her teachers as the life guard and her father’s reassurance was the last dose of encouragement she needed.
The little girl walked up to the line. Took the two steps up the low dive. Her toes wiggled at the first feel of the rough board. Walking to the edge, with a smile and a wave to her father, she puffed air into her cheeks and jumped. The splash washed over the diving area and in the rings of success the little girl popped to the surface and into a free style stroke. Climbing out of the pool her success dripped off of her and splashed in her words, “I did it! Did you see me daddy? Can I go again?”
With a congratulatory squeeze the father chimed, “Of course you can.”
This scene demonstrates the many times in our children’s lives when we as parents need to remind them of what they know to be true and encourage them to take the next step. Anxiousness is a good emotion when it gives pause to ensure we are going in the right direction. A direction for which we have prepared. A direction that fits with our values, beliefs, and talents. There have been many times that I’ve asked that same question, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Short of death or dismemberment, the worst thing that can happen is a mistake that, no doubt, I will learn more from than allowing anxiety to paralyze my life. As our children grow we continue to be ready to jump in the pool to catch them. I’m wondering, is it sometimes better, knowing they are ready for the next step, for us to stay on the sidelines and cheer them on?
Sitting in my car at a stop light. Waiting for the green light. Watching. Getting ready for the green light. My plan was to turn left and continue to my destination. Without an arrow on green, the left turn must yield and wait for the intersection to be clear.
The whole three minutes made me think about the times in life when we come to decision intersections. To have an opportunity presented isn’t necessarily a green light. Sometimes its best to slow down and check the intersection for clarity.
Just a thought.
My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
As I considered that today is John F. Kennedy’s birthday, I was thinking about this famous quote. It occurred to me that we could replace the word country with other important parts of our lives. Perhaps you could replace the word with God, family, friend, work, neighbor, or church. Choose something outside your self to serve for the betterment of others.
Some may feel this is better suited for Monday morning, but why not go into your weekend knowing how gorgeous you are. Check out this message from our friends Hoops and Yoyo (no, I can’t ever remember which is which, but they do make me smile).