Thursday, June 5, 2014

Glimmers of Light

All parents wonder, at times, if their children really GET it.  We teach our children things through our words and actions, we put standards and rules into place, but do they understand why?  Do they learn what we are trying to teach?

We were kids once.  We learned most of what our parents were trying to teach us.  We came to understand many of the rules they had for us.  Sure, some remain a mystery; such as, why MUST I eat my spinach????  But, for the most part, we ended up understanding.  In fact, much of what we teach our children and many of our rules for them are the same our parents had for us.  We pass them down because we have come to understand their importance.  Yet, our parents also wondered if we would ever GET it.

Recently, I have had glimpses of light that my children are getting it.  Things have been connecting with some of my children and it has renewed hope and given me joy.

Just a sliver of light:
I have recently begun discipleship lessons in the mornings with my children in order to help them to become stronger in what they believe and to teach them how to teach others the Bible.  My younger two children do a different set of lessons than my older five and a few weeks ago, we learned about obedience.  The lesson talked about the 10 commandments, one of which is honor thy father and thy mother.  We discussed the difference between obedience and honor.  This really was nothing new to them, but it was a good review of why it's important to obey and honor their parents.  About a week later, someone was preaching in church and we came across the passage in Matthew that quotes the fifth commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother."  The preacher read it and continued reading the next verse.  But, just as it was read, Zane looked up from his Bible at me with his big eyes and smile in recognition.  He remembered the verse and what we had talked about.  It stuck.  He GOT it.

A stream of light:
Recently, I had been talking with Gloria about how Satan attacks.  I told her that it's not always with the "big" things like drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or stealing.  I said that he knows she realizes all of those things are wrong so he may try to attack her in a more subtle way.  I gave her the example of someone getting upset with me for something I did not do.  I could get bitter over the fact that I was unjustly accused of something or I could apologize for unintentionally hurting that person and forgive them for their accusations.  They, in turn, could forgive me or become bitter.  I told Gloria that bitterness and anger is one of Satan's subtle attacks and it destroys people and churches.  Sure enough, a few days later, our preacher was preaching about discouragement and how it is one of Satan's back-door ways of attacking people.  He mentioned how we Christians have strong walls built agains the "big" sins, but Satan will come in the back way that's unprotected and get us with discouragement.  Later, when Gloria was telling her dad about the message (he missed due to late-night farming), she mentioned how Satan will often attack us in a "sudden" way (that was her way of saying "subtle") rather than with something big.  She had remembered our conversation and it was reinforced by the preacher.  She GOT it.

Light at the end of the tunnel:
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were having a conversation with our 14 year old.  We were talking about the importance of schedules, bedtimes, not partying late (yes, Christians party…we call it "fellowshipping"), etc.  She said that sometimes she feels bad that she has to be the one who goes home early or can't attend an event at all, but she was grateful that she has parents who love and care for her enough to set rules.  She knows we are doing what is best.  She GETS it!!!!!!!

Each of these instances where I realized my children are getting it gave me such joy.  It's not going in one ear and out the other.  They don't look at my husband and I as mean ogres.  They are allowing the seeds of truth and godliness take root and it's growing.  The young ones are hiding the truths in their heart.  The teenagers are applying the truths…realizing why we do what we do.

I am thanking God for these glimmers of light and hope in the midst of our child raising years.  We have so many more to go, but He is good to give us little encouragements along the way.

And, you know what?  I just have to say, He has given us some great kids.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Still Strong in My Eyes

This past Friday evening, our church's youngest choir went to sing at a local Veteran's Home.  The choir is appropriately named "Churchbringers" as they, indeed, take church to those who may find it difficult to attend church outside their residence.

One of our pastors is currently the leader of this choir and the children love him.  He adores the children and is a people-person through and through.    He has a son in the military and so was more than willing to sit and listen to the various stories of some of our nations greatest heroes.  

For about 45 minutes, the children sang hymns, spiritual and patriotic songs.  Between songs, Pastor quoted various generals, presidents, and famous patriots in their defense of the Bible and God in our government.  It truly was powerful.  With every general and patriot's name, he had the undivided attention of the audience.  An audience consisting of men and women who served, in one way or another, under names such as MacArthur, Patton, Eisenhower, Kennedy, etc.

As the children sang "Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies" and The National Anthem, I looked around the room.  Tears came to my eyes as these once strong men and women who gave so very much for us sang with all of their hearts.  I pictured these men and women as they must have been in their late teens and early twenties & thirties.  How good looking.  How confident.  Their entire lives before them.  Oh, they must have trembled with fear on the fighting lines, but they were brave.  How many friends and comrades did they see wounded?  How many tears did they shed for the ones who gave their very lives?  

Now…now they sit in wheelchairs. Their bodies are frail.  One woman is blind.  Some of their minds are more absent than present.  Most cannot sit or stand straight as they once did when they proudly wore the uniform of the country they boldly defended. They are told when to get up, when to go to bed, given food they may or may not like - much like the military, but treated more like children than brave soldiers.  Some are forgotten by their families;  most forgotten by their country.  

But they.  They haven't forgotten.  Even the ones who seem to have vacant minds.  They remember years gone by when they stood proud for their flag.  They remembered their childhoods as they each sang "Jesus Loves Me" along with the little ones…the little ones who made them smile and brought a light to their eyes.  Did they remember their own now-grown children when they were that small?  Did they have an ache to go back….back when they had purpose?  Back when their children and others thought they were the greatest, the smartest, the strongest?

A group of feeble, wrinkled bodies.  They don't look like much.  They no longer are able to do much. 

But they are truly the Greatest Generation
I am grateful to them.
They are still strong and good looking in my eyes.

Pastor listens to the stories of heroes

The greatest generation

LIves just beginning


This man saluted our children as they sang patriotic songs

This couple has sons currently serving our country

Meeting a real-life hero

Who's having the most fun?

Ice cream sandwiches afterwards!

The big kid :)