Wise and Innocent Kids

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F3F331AD-465E-4E5E-8A4B-B210C148BE1AReading my Bible this morning, I came to Romans 16:19 (last half), “but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” This resonated with me regarding raising our kids. I have noticed just how saturated my kids are with God. The other day I was showing Georgia how to talk into the big fan to sound like a robot. What did she decide to say? Something about God, Jesus Lord is King. William loves singing (really, both kids do) and he almost always chooses Jesus songs (though Twinkle Twinkle is also a favorite). Georgia enjoys reading her bible by herself and will often play church and tell sermons to her stuffed animals. When we see crosses on the side of the road where someone has died, William points out the cross and says that’s where Jesus died (then Georgia chimes in that Jesus came back to life). If we hear an ambulance, the kids remind me to say a prayer for the hurt people. 

As far as I can tell, this isn’t normal. And to be honest, I wondered if my kids are going to be labeled “weird”. Yet, this verse reminded me that it may not be normal according to the world, but this is how my children should be (and myself as well). 

I looked up the meanings of a couple key words in this verse. ‘Wise’ means to have a taste for, skilled in, akin to’. ‘Innocent’ means to be pure, unmixed, simple’. 

In training up my kids, I am called to saturate them with God so that they are so full of God that there is no room for any evil (evil meaning anything not of God), that they want God, that they are skilled in following God, that their hearts are pure (blameless) before God. 

So I will choose to continue to surround them with everything Jesus to the point where we may be weird according to the world, but we are normal according to who Jesus was and is. I choose to make Jesus such a normal topic for us that it’s like talking about our best friend. I choose to pour God’s truth into their minds and hearts so that as they get older and are exposed to more of the world, that they will not be swayed in their faith and that in fact they will be the ones changing the world for Him. I choose to teach my kids that having a personal relationship with Jesus is better than having the best friend they could ever imagine here on earth. 

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Eternal Vision

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When I had one child, I worked part-time while my husband or a family member stayed with my baby. When I had a second child, I stopped working altogether. My last day of work would have been the day my second was born, but considering my water had broken that morning and the doc later said I was in labor, I felt it best to call in ‘sick’ that day. I have since never returned to a job.

And I have never had a regular break from being a stay-at-home mom to 2 kids. For almost 3 years. I’ve gone out. My husband and I have had dates, even over night getaways. The kids are in nursery at church. But there has never been a period of time without the kids for multiple days in a row. Until now.

Enter VBS-Vacation Bible School. Out of the plethora of churches in our area with a summer VBS, only one took children as young as 2. Needless to say, that is where I signed the kiddos up for. Three hours each morning (minus drive time) for five days. In a row. I planned to paint the kids room and finish the floating TV console I had built and had to stain and hang. Not to mention clean the house to get ready for my husband’s family to come in to town. All this ‘free’ time to myself, oh how I loved the idea of it!

I have ended up loving it a little too much. Probably a lot too much.

There’s this corner down the road a bit where two homeless people we have befriended stand. We quite often pack a food bag and go out of our way to drive by, stop and talk, and give them food and maybe a few dollars. Wonderful people, living in tents, fighting to survive each day. One is terminally ill and the other just found out she has a severe form of skin cancer (I’ve seen the black spot, it doesn’t look good). The kids and I love to see our friends and to bless them. It’s really a blessing to us as well.

And yet as I found myself driving the kids to and from VBS, I found myself wanting to find another route to take so I didn’t have to pass by that corner. Why? Because I would feel awful not stopping to say hi if I saw one of our friends. I just didn’t have time to stop, I had important things to do. After all, it isn’t every day I get all this time to get things done, kid free! Rooms to paint (simply because I didn’t like the color), TV consoles to build and stain (simply because I wanted a different ‘look’ for our living room), a house to clean (to impress people, they are family after all). I didn’t have time, even 10 minutes, to stop and chat with people who didn’t have many friends, much food, or any money.

That evening over dinner my husband asked me how my day was. I told him, and I quote “I had my head up my butt all day, wanting to get the bedroom painted. In my own little world. Selfish, that’s me.” Harsh, yet true.

Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Y’all, that day my heart was on earthly treasures. Treasures that don’t even matter one iota. Is it inherently wrong to paint a room to simply change the color? Probably not, but when it comes at the expense of storing up a heavenly, or eternal, treasure, such as feeding the hungry, aiding the poor or the building up of one another, then yes, it most definitely is wrong. 

Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”

How often do we live our lives with our head up our butts? Engrossed in our own little world, our own family, our own home, our own day to day routines, jobs and tasks that in the end, when it comes to eternity, mean nothing? All the while forgetting that God’s greatest command was to love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls and to love others as ourselves. Nowhere in there does it say to actually love ourselves; that comes naturally. Yet it is so easy to be focused on taking care of myself (thus the ‘self help’ book revolution) that we forget in doing so, we are storing up only earthly treasures and nothing that will withstand God’s judgement.

I recently read the back of a book given to us (don’t ask me the title or author, the book has since becomes ‘hidden’ in our house) and it told the story of a couple who worked hard (a good thing), retired early (successful) and spent their days on the beaches of Florida, collecting sea shells and enjoying the sunshine (God created both those things). They eventually die, get to heaven and God asks them what they’ve done with their life. They show Him handfuls of sea shells. Kind of seems ridiculous, but it begs the question, what will we have to show God when he questions us? What handfuls of treasures will we show Him? Because the only ones that matter….are the treasures we don’t even have. If we have lived our lives with eternal vision, we have stored all of our treasures up in heaven and they are there waiting for us.

My kids have one more day of VBS. Their bedroom is painted, the TV console will be finished tomorrow and while the house isn’t as clean as my family would like to see it, I can blame that on the leaking toilet that flooded our master suite that I had to deal with one day. More importantly, I have made it a point to take my head out of my butt and drive by that special corner with a bag of food, a few dollars, and a smile on my face, realizing that the smile on our friends’ face is worth far more than any number of projects I could get done during all my kid-free time.

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Note: In no way am I intending to imply that we get to heaven by our works, or by what we do. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” We get to heaven by handing over our lives to Jesus and simply receiving the salvation he has to offer. However, through that submission to Jesus we enter into a relationship with him that changes us, transforms us, synchronizes our heart with his. And when our heart is lined up with his, we willingly become his hands and feet out of our love for him, showing our love for him by loving others.