A New School Year…A New Chance to Show Your Love…and Courage

Ok. I know it’s still July, technically. But it might as well be August. Every mom can sense the oncoming juggernaut of the new school year like the Native American could tell the White-Man’s train was coming when it was miles from view. What happened to school in September? What happened to Gumby and Pokey? Lost forever.

This school year I will be holding ground for the kingdom of God here in my neighborhood.  You will be too. Your little spot of earth, your home, your family, is where God has strategically placed you for the furthering of His kingdom. Every lesson faithfully done, every meal cooked, every load of laundry washed and folded is a valiant stroke against apathy, laziness, disorderliness, and essentially against selfishness. Selfishness makes an ugly home, a home that does not honor God nor serve His purposes–except maybe to show what home should NOT be like. When we do what we ought to as mothers and fathers we are winning for God’s kingdom and above all we are showing our love for God.  Christ Himself said the same thing in His own way, “ but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” (John 14:31) Our work is our chance to show God our love! Paul says in Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Right now I have boxes of next year’s curriculum stacked in the hallway and last year’s Spanish to grade. I still have all the housework to oversee and a drama program to help run. The yard needs constant care and every new movie needs to be vetted. Kids need to be corrected, encouraged, and held to task. It’s a big job I’m doing on a smallish lot in big city. But it’s my spot. The ground God expects me, with His grace, to hold for Him.

And I want to–to show my love for Him.

If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:21

Who’s Kid Are You?

 “Are those awful kids yours?” One time I had someone say to me that my kids were the worst ones they had seen in 70 years of their lives. Seriously. Really. No kidding. The infraction: running around at John’s Incredible Pizza. Granted, they were running in the dining area….more like trotting and I was just a little too tired to scold. Besides with Sponge Bob blaring on the T.V. screens (notice plural) I figured how much of a nuisance could four happy kids be? In my heart, I have to admit that I wouldn’t have tolerated them out of their seats on a regular visit to a restaurant–but today I was out with other moms and, well, their kids were “trotting around” too. Peer pressure. Apparently, an elderly mother-daughter combo had decided to luncheon at John’s Playground of Chaos. On my way to take the kids to play in the game room the eldest woman stopped me and gave me a piece of her mind.

I mumbled a word of apology…and felt thoroughly humiliated. My kids? I was more used to people stopping me and telling me how GOOD they were. I’ve even had complete strangers ask me for parenting advice! Well! As a walked away from them I mumbled less charitable retorts I wasn’t brave enough to say to their faces. Then the Holy Spirit started working on me.

In the end, I returned to the ladies and issued a more sincere apology with the very true confession that it had been against my better judgment to let run about. Their response was much more gracious than before. The elder lady did admit that she noticed how quickly my children obeyed me when I told them to sit down…so I must not be all that bad as a mom. Ouch. But, I thought to myself, at least if she shows up at the Bible study I am leading, I can look her in the eye. Small price to pay.

But what if someone asked whose kid I was? What would my behavior indicate? In 1 Samuel 17, David and Goliath have their epic battle with David showing himself brave, full of faith, and innovative. King Saul asked his men, “Whose son is that?” Saul was more interested in knowing who David’s dad was then in David’s own name initially. I hope that as I live my life, and yes, raise my kids, that I am brave enough, faithful enough, humble enough, and even crazy enough to make someone ask the same question. “Whose kid is that?”  and have their answer be, “Oh, she’s just God’s kid.”

Dare to Be Less Than You Can Be

It’s sounds un-American. It almost sounds sacrilegious. From Disney’s nothing-is-impossible-if you-can-dream-it to the U.S. Army’s classic “Be All That You Can Be”, America’s the place where you can reach your goal if you only work hard enough. It’s what makes us the greatest nation in the world. Right?

But what if being all that we can be isn’t the real goal after all? What if it’s about being what God asks us to be. Mother Teresa came from an educated family and excelled in teaching. Why should she give up using those talents and benefits and commit the rest of her life picking up nearly dead humans from the street and feeding them a few mouthfuls of gruel before they passed away? But God asked her to go, and she did. We all know the rest. Perhaps greatness in God’s kingdom is about fulfilling His desires for us where He has placed us. Not in cultivating our deepest desires and most obvious talents.

Don’t get me wrong, though. God gives us our talents for His glory. But sometimes, and I would propose most often, the development of these talents, for a true Christian, will look, to the unbelieving world, less than optimal. That’s because for the Christian, the use of our talents is about forwarding His work here on earth, not about triumphantly making it to the top of the hill. Isn’t that what Christ did, anyhow? He could have done a lot more than teach 12 men. He could have turned stones to bread as Satan had tempted Him to do. But He didn’t. He did less than He could. Instead He did what God asked Him to do. And make no mistake–someday we will see everything Jesus can do–when the time is right. That goes for us to. The new heaven and the new earth will be an amazing place where human potential can flourish as God truly intended.

That’s why we have dreams of doing more than we could ever accomplish, by the way. Dreams are the the soul remembering that it is immortal. And when that time comes we will be all that we can be!