We were walking along the harbor in Beaufort, South Carolina. Well, I was walking, Ava was dancing. The sun was just beginning to set, casting a glow of golden light shimmering across the waters.
I found myself sharing with Ava,”It’s beautiful! Look at the beautiful water God gave us, Ava!”
Yesterday, it was a spontaneous walk to the park near our house. Jake is home on a 10 day leave from the Marines and he just wanted to do all the little things. So, we walked Ava to the park lingering on our way back, by the creek. We have been here a year and half now and have never seen a crawdad at this creek but today one scuttled across the ground near our feet and we stopped and lifted it gently for Ava to see. Talking about all the things one must know about crawdads.
The walks, the talks, the soaking it all in. It took me back to the years my children were little, when the days were long, their energy was abundant and we saw the Lord in every twig, every bird song and every bright star above our heads.
When your children are small it’s more natural to share your knowledge with them. We understand that everything is new to them and if we want them to know something we must tell them!
I remember feeling the weight of being the one to introduce them to The King of Kings. I wanted them to have eyes that recognized his presence and understand how connected He was to us all. He was not this abstract being far above them in the sky but that He was very near and had created the things around us for our pleasure and His glory.
What I didn’t know was that God was setting us up to find Jesus in the nooks and crannies of life. The conversation once begun would continue and become very natural. We didn’t have to wait for Sunday to find Jesus and discuss him. We found him in the rocks in the driveway, the pinecones that fell from the trees and in our stubborn disobedient hearts.
I remember as a young mom carrying guilt for the seasons of life that we didn’t have regular “family devotions”. I felt frustrated over the times we would read a missionary book together (which they loved) and one child would fight with the other or ask how many more pages were left?
I didn’t see at the time that life was not this puzzle that was meant to be put together perfectly. Instead it was a magnificent painting that God added to each day, sometimes filling in or taking away but adding layer upon layer.
As the kids grew older we continued to talk, the walking turned into driving, to soccer and football and play practice. We saw Jesus in the sky and the people we met. We saw those that had him and those who needed him. We talked about truth and lies. We talked about conviction and repentance and what holiness was. We had long talks about how our weaknesses revealed to our hearts the strength of our Great God and how we needed him.
Life was not perfect nor were we, but in those tween and teen years when the tears were plenty and the arguments could be heated I felt the the Spirit gentle my heart.
“I am the author and perfecter of their faith, not you. Show them me! Show them how YOU need me! When you have no answers, show them who you go to.”
Now, two are in their late teens and the other two are in their early twenties. They have experienced the death of their father, along with many other hardships I don’t have all the answers to.
Still, when life feels overwhelming I feel the Father remind me once again to “Lift Up My Eyes.” To watch them see Jesus in the nooks and crannies. To listen to them talk and talk and talk some more, to me, to each other to the people they do life with.
There is a bent to their hearts. It isn’t always easy and sometimes they have to remind each other but their hearts are bent to Jesus. It wasn’t because I orchestrated the perfect bedtime devotions, (although I think those are great.) It wasn’t even that I drew their attention to all the right things at the right time. It was Jesus in the nooks and crannies, day after day, year after year.
It was because God is the keeper of His Word!
“Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. ” Deut.6:6,7
“Run with endurance the race God has set before us...by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Heb.12:1,2
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil.1:6
Trust Him to be the Keeper of His Word beloved and fill the nooks and crannies with Jesus!