I want to be in awe of God’s creation like Ella. Butterflies are flying just out of the camera’s view.
Ezra loves to declare these words to me at any given moment of the day. He is quick with his praise and compliments. He is also quick in getting into mischief. He knows he’s done wrong and “does his time” and usually adds, “Mommy, I love you!” or “Mommy, you’re beautiful!”
I wonder if God feels the way I do after I’ve been exasperated by my son’s actions and then hear words of endearment. Does he question my sincerity? Does he wonder if I even understand that I sinned, asked for forgiveness and then acted as if all was normal? Here’s what I do know…no matter what the offense that was committed, my unconditional love for my son will not be diminished. God’s word says that His love for us is unconditional, as well. I’m so thankful for that.
Today we were driving to the church to drop off some lunches for Stevan to store in the church freezer. We were looking out the windows anticipating seeing the cow farm and then the goat farm that we always wave and say, “hi” to along that road. Just before nearing the cow farm, Ella declares to me, “Mommy, I can’t wait to see Jesus again.” To which I non-chalantly (so she wouldn’t be coerced into changing her statement) replied, “Oh really? You can’t wait to see Him again?” “Oh, I guess I haven’t seen him, yet, but I just really can’t wait to see Jesus.” “I know, Baby! I can’t wait to see Him, either!” Then, we arrived at the church, dropped off the stuff, talked to Stevan and came home.
It was after one c’clock when we sat down to eat a very late lunch. The kids were still at the lunch table and I was in the kitchen pouring Ezra some milk when the ground began to shake. It was the weirdest feeling I had ever experienced and it lasted for more than a few seconds. I had to stop pouring the milk. The teapot on my windowsill was rattling and I remember putting my hand on the fridge because the magnets were rattling on it, as well. The trembling stopped and I went outside to see if the guys working on the road down the street had set off explosives or something. But, there wasn’t smoke in the air. Of course, in my mind I was thinking, Did we just have an earthquake? But, I didn’t want to say it out loud so as not to alarm Ella who was wondering what had just happened. She has no idea what an earthquake is. She knows what a tornado is, but not an earthquake. Then I saw the tweets and it was confirmed. I called Stevan who had felt it, too! It was all so bizarre.
But here’s the thing that blew me away…Ella started asking about earthquakes in her five year old way. For once in my life I didn’t have a five year old version of an explanation of how an earthquake occurs (I’m from Indiana, I can explain tornadoes, not earthquakes or hurricanes) so I said something about the ground shaking. You know, enough that she had an answer. Then, she asked if they were bad and scary or if they were all like what we had just felt. I knew a teachable moment was upon me so I jumped into earthquake safety on what we should do if we feel one again and then I threw in the reminders of tornado and fire safety just to cover all of my bases. She kept asking if they could get really bad, though, so I told her that if the ground was shaking hard enough that things would fall over and sometimes buildings could fall…I was trying to be honest, but not go into detail. I knew she was thinking of people getting hurt as I watched her face and it’s many emotions changing. She didn’t seem super scared, though. Ella is usually scared first, then ok later. Instead, she was calm and just concerned for those that could get hurt. So, I told her, “Remember when you told me that you couldn’t wait to see Jesus?” She nodded emphatically and happily. “Well….if an earthquake or a tornado or anything was really bad and we got hurt and died (not something I usually add into the conversation but I felt compelled to do so today) because of it, then we would get to see Jesus.” That was the right answer for Ella. Her face relaxed and she smiled, “That would be a good thing, Mommy.” “Yes,” I added, “it would and that’s why we tell others about Jesus so they can meet Him, too.” She was done with the discussion. She was satisfied with my answers.
I know my five year old doesn’t understand the concept of dying, but am confident that she understands that if she loves Jesus, He promises that she’ll get to be with Him when she dies and goes to Heaven. It makes me wonder if others I come in contact with know this truth. Who have I met since moving here a year ago that has no clue that I have answers to share? Do we focus so much on all that we need to work on before we fully surrender to God and miss opportunities to share Him with others? It’s obvious that I have work to do.
It is my prayer that my little girl is able to share about Jesus to others everywhere she goes. When my son can converse in entire conversations of full sentences, I pray that he will share the gift of God’s love to others, as well. In the meantime, I have work to do.
Thank you for reminding me that others NEED to hear and know about You. Help me to recognize the opportunities in front of me. Thank you for reassurance that, just like Ella, I get to see you someday! Help me and Stevan as we raise our precious children to continue to teach them about You and how to share You with others. In Your name I pray, Amen.
“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him.” Psalm 91:2
My husband is a pastor of a local church here in Shippensburg, PA. He wears many hats during the week and usually has to set aside Thursdays for his largest time of sermon-writing. He prefers to visit our local coffee house for this sermon-writing time, but today just didn’t work out for him to go there. He explains more as to why he couldn’t go in his blog post here. Before you run over there to read it (which you MUST do–it’s short, but worth the read), I want to share that I had encouraged him to still find a way to get to the coffee house so he’d be less distracted with other work, but he just felt like he needed to stay at the office.
Less than an hour later, I learned why Stevan still needed to be at the office. Somebody was going to need him. Being at the coffee house may have made it harder for him to leave. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it ended up working out better than either of us could have planned. Read all about it here!
I love my husband. I am amazed at his ability to juggle his calling to ministry with his calling to his family. Today ministry and family meshed together for Stevan and Ella. I pray that my children have a stronger view of the love of their Heavenly Father because of the sacrifices my husband makes to be their Daddy AND their pastor. After reading this and Stevan’s blog, please continue to pray for our family as the Lord continues to allow us to serve Him together. Also, pray Stevan gets that sermon finished.