Thursday, September 29, 2011

August Gifts

Yes, it is the end of September, and I am just now blogging about August.  Some experiences you just don’t want to forget without sharing….

Weston turned two on August 12th, and in preparation for his birthday, I took Savannah one day to buy him a birthday present.  Now she’s been earning her own money for a little while now—small amounts for a few basic chores like feeding the dog—when she remembers or I remember to remind her=)  Anyway, she had about $3.00 in coins saved up, so we headed to the dollar store.

You should have seen her.  She was so giddy with excitement; she couldn’t help but smile the entire ride in the car, her little legs kicking back and forth in her seat.
            “Savannah, what do you want to get Weston for his birthday?”
            “I’m going to buy him a bike, Mommy, so he can go for walks with me on my bike.”  My heart ached and thrilled just a bit at the same time.  Her heart was so big.  Her intentions so pure.
            “Well, honey, I don’t think you have enough money to buy him a big bike, but you might have enough to get him a toy bike.”  I watched as her demeanor fell just a bit, but she soon recovered.
            “Yeah!  Ok, mommy, we will get him a toy!”  Big smiles again.

Pulling into the Dollar General, she skipped inside and carefully began perusing the toy aisle.  Picking up this toy and that, carefully selecting which toy would be the best fit, not just for Weston, but for her budget, she finally decided on a small battery-powered hand drill.  Both my kids love to help out Daddy with his jobs around the house=)

Choice made, we headed to the cashier, and I watched as my daughter literally poured every last dime she had earned over the past months onto the counter, and we began to count.  That drill cost all she had down to the last dime, and she didn’t even flinch.  She just hopped up and down with the excitement of presenting her brother with her very own gift and didn’t bat an eye at the cost to herself.  My heart strings began to tug.  Oh to be a child again with naivety of the world, of all it costs.  No wonder Christ treasured the heart of a child—it is unencumbered to sacrifice for Him—heck, Savannah didn’t even know what she was sacrificing!

And then as we turn to leave the store, purchase in hand, my little girl runs over to the ice cream bin, and with wide-eyed wonder gazes at the choices.  Still with that silly grin, in all innocence she asks, “Can I buy an ice cream for Daddy and Weston and me?”

What was I to do at that point?  Tell her “no”?  My heart overflowed with a sense of compassion and goodness, pride and humbleness all at the same time.  It was tangible favor.  I was pleased with her good heart.  She had just freely sacrificed all she had, and now she wanted to give more (and let’s be honest, get a little in return as well).  How could I deny her that???  
         "Well honey, you spent all your money, but because you did it for your brother, I will buy these ice creams for you to share."  And so I bought the ice creams.  One for Daddy, one for Weston, and one for her.  Money well spent.

As I recall this in my mind, I can’t help but think about the verse: Matthew 7:11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"  Don’t you know my experience with Savannah is exactly how God looks on us, His very own children?  When we get so caught up in the cost of giving all of ourselves—financially, physically, etc.—we miss out on the outpouring joy and goodness of the Father when we ask to give more (and maybe get a little in return too.)  I mean if we all gave like my little girl—open heart, joy-filled, naïve to the cost or maybe just not so concerned, sacrificing it all for another—I honestly believe God could not deny us anything when our heart is in line with His desire for us to serve others.  We would always benefit vicariously if not directly from these sacrifices.  It makes me want to just give abandoned more often.  To throw money, time, and talents at anyone God brings across my path. (The emphasis here being God and not people, places, and things of my own seeking.)

I want to experience the good favor of our God smiling down into the lives of others through me.  I want to skip giddy to the store and spend all I have for the blessing of someone else.
Not to earn my Heavenly Daddy’s good favor and smile upon my life, but to receive it unexpectedly in a pouring out of His great loving heart and effortless goodness.
After all, He’s a parent too.  How can He help it?

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

We Weep

September always finds me in the one month of the year where my children are only one year apart, and I always reflect, and I always cry.  In just one short month, I have a four year old and a two year old in this house, and I weep.

I'm a mother.  I've accepted this is what we do.
We weep for the time past.
We weep for the importance of each moment of the present.
We weep tears of joy and apprehension for what is to come.

A friend of mine today mentioned that being a stay-at-home mom is one of the hardest jobs because you literally parent yourself just as much if not more than your children.  What you see in the mirror is reflected back in their actions and is imprinting on their hearts.  And I weep, because "Oh dear Lord and Father in heaven, what I see is a mess!" most days.

I weep because I know my children will inevitably inherit and battle my same weaknesses and inadequacies in some format.  I weep because even though I desperately seek the Lord and beg Him to change me, I know I will never be perfect, and I will pass down these imperfections to my two little ones.  I weep because they will struggle just as I.

And then I weep because I fall on my face and beg God for forgiveness and change and understanding and a passion to do better, to seek Him, to find Him, to know Him.  Because only in this unwavering pursuit will I be able to find the path my children need to take.  Only if I focus on Him and in essence forget about them, will they see Christ in this life.  In this home.

I weep because in my own confession God already pours out His sweet warmth of grace and comfort and assurance that He has called me as His own, and He will call the hearts of my children as well.  I weep for blessed peace this undeserved grace brings.  The tears flow softer.  The ache lessens, but the weeping is as necessary as breathing.

My God collects all my tears in a bottle.  I'm jealous.  How I wish I could do the same for my own children. To let them know that each of their hurts were so precious to me that not one tear goes forgotten or unnoticed.  I weep because I am grateful for a God who can and who does and who will continue to do so.

Now tears of thanks, I weep because--Praise God!--He reminds me that my children will not just inherit my weaknesses, but they will learn and develop in the light of my strengths--God's strengths really.  His gifts of talents, character qualities, abilities, and passions to me will be the areas my children will learn to thrive in as well.  If they are wise.  A wise person always seeks to emulate all that is right and change all that is wrong.

I weep in prayer for that kind of wisdom for my children.  I weep in gratitude that my God hears and has already answered such prayers.  He is already doing a new work!  In me, and in my children.  I weep for joy knowing the strengths God has given Joey and I will only be added to the strengths He will give our children.  If they will learn to live in the light of our Lord, they will learn to see and recognize both our strengths and theirs.  In learning that all their strengths are all because of God and all their inadequacies because of their own sin, they will be greatly blessed, and they will greatly bless others.

I weep inwardly again knowing that I must lead them in such a way that they see these things, that they learn them, that their hearts are turned toward the things of God.  Grace wipes away tears.  I can do nothing.  God must do everything through me for them.  I must seek my God and love Him no matter what.

As mothers we weep.  For all these reasons and more.
We weep for the time past.
We weep for the importance of each moment of the present.

We weep tears of joy and apprehension for what is to come.

We weep, and God collects every tear, so not one is meaningless.

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