We teach children how to measure and how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. - Harold Kushner
Jesus told us we must be like children. There is much to learn from them.
Jesus told us we must be like children. There is much to learn from them.
King James Version (KJV)
8 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
What does faith look like? Do you seek to see His face? Do you desire an image of love of and for the Lord in a powerful way? It looks like a child . . .
by Martha L Shaw © 7-15-2013
Today was the first day of our church VBS and I was eager to participate yet apprehensive about starting the day since the challenges in my life seem large and the solution hasn’t been revealed yet. Will I be able to . . . oh, what about my . . . but I got up, did my morning routine and set off. “I hope I can . . . “
I didn’t see anyone when I got out of the car on this cloudy day. I went about doing the things I needed to do. We all have much to do in the minutes before 100 or so children excited arrived. As I continued along, I saw a sweet little girl who lives far away but comes to visit family around here periodically and she has always touched my heart. As soon as we spied each other, she came rushing close and gave me a big hug. Clouds? What clouds?
The first day of VBS went well, and the bumps along the way were smoothed. Later, one of the slightly older children, an eager “helper” was with some older kids who were also helping. I stood behind the church pew where she sat with the other kids and suddenly she stood up and leaned over the pew and gave me such a loving hug. I’m so glad she’s not “too old” to hug!
As we, the adults leading the VBS met to discuss the morning’s events , we were asked for any Jesus moments anyone wished to share from the children in the classes. One teacher spoke up that she’d been talking about prayer and said “well, shall we pray?” One wee one quickly spoke up saying “I will!” and led the prayer aloud in her classroom.” Wow! Jesus hugged lots of us today!
Another teacher spoke up next. She mentioned a little girl, a cancer patient, in her class. She’s very young, has no hair, and clearly is going through some very scary and rather “grown up” things despite her tender age. She became sad during class at one point and began to cry and ask for her Mama. A student in the class, little boy I believe we were told, got right up and got her a doll to hug. Other children also drew close to this sweet little girl with such big scary challenges, and they were quick to comfort her in their own ways. Wow, Jesus was busy today!
Thinking about my swollen and sore foot and some other challenges in my life which I’m living with, I’m recalling the Jesus moments from this morning and thinking of His love . . . His healing and amazing love.
The other day, at my part-time job, I was in a great deal of pain. My job is very physical and I was working hard at smiling and reflecting Him but the pain threatened to bring tears. I wrestled with this and was washing the floor by the drink station at work. adjacent to this area is the door to the playground. I suddenly realized a small boy of perhaps three years of age was outside, but not playing. Instead, he was watching me mop the floor. He opened the door and peering at the mop, asked “what are doing?” I responded “washing the floor.” Keeping it simple, I wondered what he’d say next. He then asked me why and I explained that someone had an “oops” and spilled something. He came into the restaurant having lost sight of his mama. He suddenly looked scared. I saw her behind me ordering their lunch and pointed to her. I then warned him to walk carefully as the floor might be a little slippery. He stood very still then walked in a rather amusing way. It was like a movie in slow motion. lol I saw the look of fear on his face, and said “do you want to hold my hand?” He looked relieved and took it. He reached his mom, reassured, he turned back to return to the playground. This time he walked right up to me and extended his hand, knowing I’d take hold and walk him safely to the door. He smiled and ran to the colorful slide.
I never did learn the small boy’s name. I did, though, learn much from him. Trust replaces fear with joy. It really is that simple.
Our priest told a great sermon today. God wants to give us the best. We need empty hands and we don’t always leap eagerly to relinquishing our hold on our stuff in order for Him to be able to give us what more and better He has. “It’s simple.” God will help us . . . we can turn to Him with our fears . . . change . . . it is scary sometimes, but oh, when we let Him work through us and fill us with His grace . . . we can. Favorite quote from the sermon? “Even an acorn can find a way to roll down the street.” As I read the following quote, the changes God can help us with . . . the “yes, but what can I do” and the “my small effort . . . will it really matter?” Those thoughts all came together with a resounding Yes I can make a difference!
Let’s do this, shall we? Not just for ourselves. . . let’s do it for the children!
They say imitation is flattery, but I say this realizing that if I enter a room in a joyful mood and there in someone in the room who is really vocal and grumpy, it is more likely that I and others will find our own mood becoming dark and gloomy rather than the other individual catching our joy.
I have also noticed from my years of working in a busy office that on a dark and rainy day it seemed we all wore dark colors . . .
So, having realized this I made a deliberate effort to wear bright colors even though I was drawn to the other choice. I truly do also try to force a smile on my face and be positive as this can change my mood and I hope change the moods of others. This forcing myself to smile and be cheery is difficult, but this quote below inspires me as to whom I should imitate:
Yesterday was a special Sunday for many reasons and it is likely that the blessings and grace which filled my heart and soul from that day will be mentioned many times . . . there were too many to count. Just now I am here after spending some quiet time with Jesus. The topic of discussion before I stopped to listen to Him was “but what if” and “Oh, but if I can’t” and of course “how will I manage if I can no longer” and the other famous “but what if I’m not good enough at” and in the quiet I expected an answer. I was very quiet. So was He. Then something came to mind . . . it is my answer and it is a story of something which happened at church yesterday.
Our much-loved and totally Spirit filled bishop was at our church yesterday. The brand new junior choir consisting of 6 tiny girls, some likely don’t know how to read yet, dressed up extra special and sang a song they’ve been working hard on for weeks. As they stood there smiling and singing their hearts out for Jesus, they sounded like angels! Clearly, not a thought popped into their heads that they might not be “good enough” or that they might get a note “wrong” or might need Miss Kim to prompt them with a forgotten word here and there . . . and any or all of these things may have taken place, but all I saw and heard was 6 little angels singing and reflecting their love for Jesus! It brought tears to my eyes and as I looked down to find a tissue in my purse, I noticed Miss Kim’s little two-year old grandson sitting in a nearby church pew dancing and smiling for Jesus in time to the music. Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect – only He is perfect. He just wants our hearts! The children knew that. I’m learning it too!
Okay, I know I need to explain that one. My Godchild who’s not a child anymore learned words differently than any other child I know. I think, in an entirely unbiased opinion, that she was reading novels in the delivery room and speaking in sentences on the way home from the hospital . . . but anyway, among her first “real” words spoken (as opposed to “did she just say that?” words) was duck and quack. She is my much-loved duckling even if she is not from my own nest.
I didn’t hatch any of my own, but the Lord blessed me by putting her in my heart in the place my own ducklings would otherwise be. That being said, I’m thinking of God’s creatures great and small and what blessings they are.
I wonder if the cows, horses, bunnies, and birds feel a combination of pride, joy, and a little bit of sadness as their “ducklings,” calves, and the like grow up and fly to a distant branch of a distant tree to establish their own personal nest? Like me, do they wonder if they’ll be visited? Remembered? I’m smiling though for my duckling has always made me so proud of her!
I pray that Jesus will watch over all the little ducklings in our lives, and especially those flying off to a distant nest. I also ask that He will give an extra hug to those of us who watched them grow and love them still and will love them always.