Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ABC'S & 123'S

My oldest son is pretty busy all day playing with blocks, hockey sticks, his brother, our cell phone, books, the dog, dried pasta, golf clubs and other favorite things. However, right before nap time or bed time, he sometimes likes to watch a movie. I believe he's entered into that wonderful "never grows tired of the same movie" phase. I guess, on a positive note, the present fascination is with an educational type movie - complete with catchy little tunes about numbers that keeps playing over and over in mama's brain...

It's so neat getting to see my sons learn. I love to hear the cute first words, even though "Mama" came after "Daddy", "Ball"and "Chance" (the dog). I love hearing the words being put into little sentences - "Chance chase Bunny? Chance no like Bunny!" :) We love to see them get new concepts and see their understanding growing. We have found ourselves being full time teachers - learning colors while eating a freezie and counting Cheerios at breakfast.

Today, as I was counting the stairs with my son and a load of laundry in tow, I thought about a bible passage from Deuteronomy. It says;

"Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them to your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (NIV 6:5-9)."

As I counted my way up the stairs I wondered if I was doing as good a job teaching my son about God's love and His ways as I was 123's and ABC's. I read a book that told the story of a mother who had raised many children to love God and be passionate followers of Him. One of her friends simply stated that she lived her life before them exactly how she wanted them to live. You know, God makes it so easy. We don't have to have a degree from a Seminary to teach our children how to live for Christ. He just wants us to follow Jesus in the simple everyday things - the "everydayness" of sitting at home, walking along the road, lying down and getting up. When our children watch how we handle the cranky cashier lady, how we treat our sick neighbor, what we give to the poor, how we talk to our spouse, or how we react to another spilled sippy cup of milk...then they learn about God. The next time I'm singing a silly ABC song over and over and over...I'll be reminded that my children learn about God through me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Forget!

As a little girl I quite clearly remember my mother's make-up routine. She would come out each morning and set up her station at our table. The most important part of this set up would be the little round mirror - propped up to get the best view. Then, like an artist, she would begin her masterpiece. Foundation would be dotted on and then rubbed in and spread evenly. Blush would be applied to cheek bones followed by a swipe of eye shadow and eyeliner and completed with mascara. I remember her turning her face right and left in the mirror to catch the good light from the window and make sure everything was even.

One morning, as I watched her dab on little dots of foundation, she told me a story.

It was a few years before she was married and she and her cousin boarded the city bus to get to work early one morning. They had just grabbed their seats and got settled when her cousin's eyes got a little wider as she faced my mom. My mom just looked back and said; "What?!" "I'll tell you when we get off the bus", she replied. Of course my mom implored her to tell all and I'm sure she started checking her teeth for leftover breakfast and made sure her shirt was buttoned up right. But her cousin remained tight lipped, explaining that there was nothing she was able to do about it now.

The bus finally came to a stop and as the girls stepped off the bus my mom's first course of action was to find out what had caused such a reaction. She finally gets an answer. As they had sat down, cousin had looked across at mom only to find that my, usually, meticulous mother had forgotten to rub in her makeup! She still had a nice, glistening dab of Beautiful Beige on her forehead, each cheek, nose and chin. My mom was mortified and quickly ran to the nearest mirror to fix the great faux pas. She wouldn't let that happen again!

For so many of us, it is almost second nature to do a quick check in the mirror before we leave the house. We make sure that there are no mustard stains on our cheek or pizza in our teeth. To make sure that fly away hairs are tamed and our collar is not folded. Of course there are the mornings that we fly out the door without time to do a check and then get caught with baby spit on our shoulder but usually, if we get a gander at a mirror, we'll fix the problem. It would seem absurd for us to spot that bright yellow mustard on our face and just leave it there.

James 1:23-23 says; "Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

As silly as it seems to forget what we look like, it is just as silly to forget the lessons God teaches us through His Word. But how often am I guilty of this very thing. I find a good verse from the Bible about God giving strength to the weary and the very next hour am complaining about how tired I am instead of letting Him strengthen me. I read an awesome book about letting faith conquer fear and I continuously, habitually, let fear get a foothold. I read in the Bible about the importance of loving others and the very same day indulge in juicy gossip.
Thankfully, our Father is full of grace. But that doesn't mean we give up the fight to hang on to the lessons He wants us to learn. James goes on to give us a powerful promise...

"But the man (or woman) who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does (1:25) (NIV)."

So, friends, let's not take those lessons for granted. Let's be true examples to others as we let God's Word really change our lives. As if having our lives changed is not enough, God promises to pour blessings on top of it.

Let's not get caught with mustard on our face! :)