“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.”
I knew this day would come. I thought about it ten years ago when we decided to homeschool our oldest. It took ten years to happen but happen it did. The New Year’s paper declared it to the world: gay-lesbian-transsexual-bisexual education is officially in California school systems at last. To some it is a cherished victory, to others it means finally admitting that privately educating their children is now a must. It is also the mother of all discipleship opportunities.
Historically, the church in America has been a champion of education. Schools and universities in early America rose almost as fast as the corn grew. The importance of having a hand in the education of its citizens was not lost on the Church. Somehow I have to wonder where that enthusiasm went. By the time it came for us to look at education opportunities for our own children only three options existed. Fearsomely expensive private education was one–high enough to force most mothers trying to stay home with their children back into the workforce. The public education system was another–a place of undoubted opportunity but also littered with land mines many parents wonder if their kids can navigate around–drug use, sexual experimentation of all sorts, a God-less worldview, etc. And behind door #3? Homeschooling. Homeschooling? A private education for a fraction of the cost–in money. In time, in love, in patience, the cost is high. We believed that a mother at home was ultimately more important than anything so we chose homeschooling. I thank the Lord that we could.
But what about those who can’t? What about parents who are sick or alone? What about the unemployed or the underemployed? What about those in a dysfunctional marriage or with a substance-addicted spouse. Or the homeless? Should a Christian education be only for the wealthy and the healthy? How many kids will stay in the government school system simply because a parent can’t get them out? Why should these children not by discipled? Because that’s what Christian education really is–teaching someone over time to see the world like Christ does and to act within it as He desires. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. But anytime someone helps someone who needs help it is always two things: a ministry and a sacrifice.
So here’s my challenge to Christian leaders–guys with vision who champion causes that further the proclamation of Christ and the reconciliation of souls to Him. What can we do as a church about these parents who need help? What five loaves and two fishes can we offer to the Lord for Him to bless for the feeding of many? Many parents will be looking for options. Can the Church be one?
Great Kid Quote of the Week:
Mom (looking at a project her boys are working on): Are you building a man-cave?
Son: What’s that?
Mom: It’s a place where men go and think manly thoughts.
Son: I have that in my chest.
Every once in a while, about an hour after I go to bed, as I am about to fall asleep, a child’s silhouette appears in my doorway, backlit by the hallway light. That’s when I know my husband and I are about to be confronted with a theological question of great importance. Maybe this is what Paul had in mind when he admonished us to be “ready in season and out of season”–or awake or half-asleep. This time the question was, “Do you think the world end will end before I die?”
I remember wondering that as well. Will I have a chance to grow up, get married, own a laptop? I gave him the Biblically correct answer (no one knows but God Himself–and if someone says they know, run like your hair’s on fire) but then challenged him as well. The question implies a false assumption–that the world will end. Period. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, I think we do a great disservice to kids (and adults) when we speak of heaven in its stereotypically understood way–some ethereal place where, God, angels, and Abraham Lincoln reside, surrounded by clouds. We don’t embrace our full inheritance in Christ when we fail to speak of and celebrate the promise of a new creation–a new heaven and a new earth that God will create. That is definitely good news! Understanding our full riches as Christ’s children gives us joy and makes life’s sacrifices worth everything!
As God says in Isaiah 65, “For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create…”
So, son, your question really is, “Will this dying world end and a new, perfect one be created before I die?” Would that be so bad?
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20
Much of life is a trial and in it, Satan tempts me. This truth settled itself into my heart two weeks ago, as I listened to some amazing preaching at Mount Hermon. How true this is and how great it is to be aware of it. Forewarned is forearmed. Satan waits until the pasta boils over and the kids are fighting to tell me lies. His lies usually sound something like, “You deserve it”, “What’s the use?”, “If only you had a bigger house, a bigger paycheck, a different body, it would all be better.” The harder the trials I am experiencing, the quicker I capitulate. But now I know what’s going on and I know that Jesus can give me the grace to see Satan’s lies before I buy them–hook, line, and sinker. And if the help comes from Jesus that means victory comes down to prayer, to calling on the name of the Lord.
“Calling on the name of the Lord” resonates with me. It evokes and different image in my mind than the image of simply “praying”. It seems to imply a degree of desperation. We call for help. I’ve begun calling on Him when I’m picking up spilled rice five minutes before I have to leave the house, when a child’s surly attitude starts to affect my own, when I feel too tired to make another meal. I know Jesus will help me because He promises to answer all requests made according to the will of God. I know it is His will for me to be patient, hopeful and faithful. So, Jesus, I call upon you for help this week, not only for myself but for my brothers and sisters in Christ who travel this weary road towards rest in Your arms.
Is it rude to say, “My dad is cooler than yours”? I suppose I could say, “My dad’s the best” and it would sound better. Either way, I’m pretty sure my pop is tops. Let me tell you why he is so awesome.
You see, my dad gave me life three times. Yes. He’s triple cool. First of all, he gave me, with mom’s help, my physical life. He always wanted a large family and it feels neat to have been the first child he ever had. Like any first-time parent, I’m sure my arrival was a watershed event for him. But he got more than he anticipated with me. I came with a few problems—some pretty glaring ones.
In the days before ultrasound, parents couldn’t prepare themselves for a child with birth defects. It must have been shocking experience. In my case, I came with a cleft lip and palate—a defect right in the middle of my face—the first thing every parent longs to see of their child’s. At some point, soon afterwards, my parents were approached with the option of relinquishment. They could send me “somewhere” if they wanted to. That’s when dad gave me life a second time. He kept me. I’m so glad. He gave me love and a home and a lot few er issues to deal with.
The last life he gave me was the best of all. In his own relentless search for truth, he introduced me to my Lord Jesus Christ. Through him I found my Eternal Father and salvation. He put me in the path of truth and, by the grace of God, my heart comprehended it.
Dad, you are a life-shaper as surely as Michelangelo carved the David. The stonework of my very self was formed by your decisions. You are my hero and now everyone can see why.