This September I'm working through Jon Acuff's SeptemberJanuary challenge. The idea is to use the momentum of back to school just like a New Year's resolution. I've got six (maybe seven or eight) speaking events between now and Christmas so I'm working on these speeches as my goal every day this month.
This story and application to life came to me this week while I was thinking about the idea of God as our father. Let me know what you think. Do you have other insights about Father God?
When I was about ten years old we went camping. Not fancy camping. Out in the boonies, no bathrooms or electricity camping. My dad would take us fishing weaving our way around high mountain streams. The trout we caught would shimmer in the sunshine. We’d cook the trout over the fire and finish the night with marshmallows.
One time my sister and a friend and I were out playing in the woods just to the side of our campsite. I’m not the most observant person so I didn’t see the large yellow jacket hive until I stepped right on top of it.
The yellow jackets were not impressed.
Imagine if you had your house crushed. You’d probably fight back. The bees certainly did.
I started to yell as the stinging spread. My friend grabbed my little sister and ran for cover. I started to try and head back to the campsite while flailing my arms about and yelling and screaming. As I crashed through the brush I had bees in my shirt, down my pants, stinging - stinging - stinting - crying.
And then my father showed up. He’d heard me screaming and came running. He grabbed me, picked me up and ran toward camp. He held his arms with me in them over the campfire. I was freaked out by the bees and now the fire but I trusted my dad.
Turns out my dad knew bees don’t like smoke and it worked like a charm.
Off the bees went and left me alone. My mom brought out the meat tenderizer and we made a paste for each of the stings. I was covered head to toe. My dad was stung as well. He didn't complain.
You see this is what a father does:
Hears his child’s cry.
Runs toward the pain even at risk of himself.
Knows sometimes being held over a fire is the way to the cure.
I see this same story played out in the Bible. Do you?
It was a grey and cloudy morning. The second day of Cub Scouts Day camp. It was actually quite refreshing after the summer heat of the day before! My seven-year-old son and I had arrived early. As I was chatting with another scout mom, I mentioned how excited I was that Sheppard and I had actually had enough time for a sit-down breakfast of leftover waffles and pancakes from my culinary extravaganza from the Saturday prior.
“Yum!”, said my friend of twin boys. “We had sausage.”
“Well, nuts!” I thought to myself, “That sounds much more substantial than my ‘Bob’s Red Mill multi-grain mix. Like it really even matters, Jennifer.” I scolded my pride.
“Boys! Tell Jennifer what else we had.”
In my mind I imaged a gourmet omelet or hearty nourishing breakfast burrito at this point.
One of her boys looked at me with an enormous, satisfied grin, “Pie! We had banana-crème pie!”
I burst out laughing, “That’s awesome!” (and no, it wasn’t because it had soothed my pride…. Okay… well, maybe a little bit.). “What a fun breakfast!”
They had been cleaning out her Mother-in-Law’s kitchen and pantry. Being from the Depression Era, there was an ample supply of horded food, including some frozen pies that needed to be eaten. She had hoped they would be thawed and baked for after dinner the night before. However, her best laid plans did not “pan” out. The thawing process took longer than expected.
Her boys had so been looking forward to those pies she decided to bake them up for breakfast the next day. Clearly, a delightfully fun memory was also the ‘Pie`ce de Re’sistance” served up that morning.
It is said, “All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.”
Ecclesiastes 8:15 states, “… here is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and drink and be merry, (in other words, ‘Have fun! And this will stand by him in his toils.”
Notice it says, “in his toils?”. Not instead of his toils. But that a “Spoon full of Sugar, or in this case “pie”, helps the medicine go down.
We as parents, meaning well, can tend to take raising our kids right too seriously at times. So much so, we forget to just have fun and enjoy them. Let’s face it! Kids love having fun! And where the fun is, that is where they will be magnetized to.
Now I am not advocating recklessness or irresponsibility by any means, but breaking code in the middle of the “daily-do’s” is mentally and emotionally healthy for all involved. It’s a perspective changer and lifts the ‘heavies”.
As a first born, I can tend to easily be responsibility-oriented to a fault.
I have found that humor or a pause for fun keeps me from spiraling down the whirlpool of the daily grind. It renews my mind and refreshes my purpose. It’s not just the day-to-day that God wants us to live. It’s “Life” He wants us to have!
Kids need this survival tool too! A balance of “ Merry” to see them through the weights of peer, school, and, yes, even parent expectations.
I love writing for Wall of Faith! The ideas are always flowing through my brain. However, to sit down, like now, and write it out, I always tend to make that part a heavier burden in my mind then what it actually is when I just sit down and do it.
So yesterday, I decided to join our son in the making of his creation “Snoopy-mobile!” All I ended up doing was painting two wheels, two rainbow stripes, and two white sides. He did the rest. But, oh, the joy of bonding with him and letting my mind relax as I painted was exactly the second wind I needed to sit down today, clear minded and freeing my fingertips to “trip the light fantastic” across the keyboard!
So I leave you with this simple “pie-for-life” recipe. Mix a cup of Mary with a cup of Martha and stir until well mixed. Crank up the oven and slice up the pie! Bring “Beauty” to the “Beast” of the worldly heavies and help yourself to a generous “Slice of Life!”
Empowering Parents and Young Children
Without a doubt, this is the best idea book I’ve seen for small children. As a Kindergarten teacher, Early Childhood Director, frequent library patron and a parent of a child with special needs, I have read stacks of similar books. This book is hands-down my favorite. It includes beautiful full color photos of activities, a quick reference section for child-development and uses a whole child development approach. Every day-care, preschool, grandparent and parent should have a copy of this book. I highly recommend this book as a professional development resources for teachers of young children and schools should have copies of it in their parent lending libraries as a parent education resource. This book would make a great baby shower gift or a first birthday present. I am thrilled to own a copy and will use it intentionally with my own toddler.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review. Michelle K.
That's The Book: 2nd Peter
The family and I went camping last week. My husband is a master packer. He manages to pack a week's worth of camping gear, several tables, tents, chairs, food and two bikes into the back and top of our LR3 Landrover. This time we each had items tucked in around our feet. Well. Not the driver. But the girls and I had blankets, towels and a friend's birthday present to hold us in place during the 3 hour drive to camp.
My husband is an awesome packer. He's not great at waiting patiently in traffic. We all have areas in our life to grow right? At any rate, several times we passed people driving slower. One little slow Hyundai hybrid we happily left in the dust.
About a half hour away from camp we came around a corner and saw the traffic ahead was stopped. Cars turned off, people standing on the side of the road kind of stopped. My spouse groaned and slowed. Stopped with a grimace and turned to me.
"Why don't you get out and see if you can find out what happened?"
So I untangled myself from my nest and took a stroll up the road. I stopped by a little crowd of people and asked what was going on. I'm not sure why I thought they knew. They were parked up maybe five cars ahead. No cell service. What did they know?
But not to disappoint the drivers on the side of the road told me there was a wreck ahead. It had just happened. No one had cell service so no emergency responders had been summoned yet. Apparently one of the other drivers had turned and headed back to the other side of the mountain to call for help. The nice woman said she thought the best option was to turn around, drive 30 minutes back and grab the alternate highway to go around. Or sit and wait it out.
I walked back to my family. Gave them the news and the proposed plans.
My husband had another idea.
"See that little road right there? A couple of people went up it and haven't come back. The Landrover's GPS looks like it meanders around and pops out just down the road. If we follow them we'll avoid the wreck, save ourselves the back tracking and we'll be at camp soon. Should we try that?
I said "Sure."
This was not wise.
The book of 2 Peter is a last message from the great church leader Peter. He has become convinced his time left on earth is short so he wrote this book as a plea to the other believers.
I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 2 Peter 1:13
Peter's message to the church is to not be sidetracked. He wants them to stay on course. He knows hardship may come and false teachers will try to drag them off the road. But his plea was to stay on task.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1: 5-9
So here my family and I were on the side of the road. We didn't suck it up and wait patiently. We didn't listen to wise counsel and stay to the main roads.
Nope. We saw the other people headed off path and we followed.
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Peter 2:1
For a while the drive was lovely. Wide vistas. Beautiful trees. Nice gravel road following the GPS line on our screen nicely. Around one corner we came upon a view of a herd of horses galloping across a wide field. Gorgeous. We were free!
We soon saw a little Hyundai hybiyd kicking up a cloud of dust. It looked suspiciously like the one we had passed a couple of mountain passes back. He had apparently not waited as long as we had to take the less beaten path. At any rate we started calling him "car guy" and figured if a little four door could make it surely our big tough landcover would be just fine.
For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. they promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 2 Peter 2: 18-19
I recognize this analogy isn't perfect. Taking a side road is not being a slave to depravity - but we weren't patient, we were boastful about the features of our vehicle and we were blindly following a clearly out of element hybrid. Did I mention this wasn't wise?
Pretty soon the little gravel road became a smaller dirt road. We kept going.
The road became a path. Large ruts appeared. Trees had sprouted in the middle of the path. Clearly this road hadn't been used lately.
We kept going.
The road completely disappeared. Our GPS said there was still a path. But our eyes didn't see the way.
We headed down a hill.
The girls by this point were poking me in the side and whispering they were scared. I had started to roll my eyes.
Large noises came from under the car.
Finally we had a pow wow with the car guy and determined we were in fact at a dead end and had to turn around.
We started to back track. The car guy was slowly coming behind. I didn't want to hear on the news in the days to come that some man had disappeared off road in a little Hyundai. So we kept his puff of dust in the rear view window.
And then the road widened out and we were on flatter ground.
The loud noise underneath got louder. I looked in the rear view mirror.
Shredded flat tire.
Middle of no where, no cell service flat tire.
We pulled over.
The spare was covered by our mountain of camping gear. We started to unload all our belongings into the dirt on the side of the road. My youngest wanted to get out. I said no. Snake country. Too much to handle.
My spouse and I do many things well together. We throw a mean party. We do not change tires well together.
I was concerned. My spouse was annoyed.
And then up pulled the little Hyundai. It was sporting some new undercarriage and front bumper damage.
The driver got out and asked if we needed help.
I said yes.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Turns out the car guy is a very nice man named Patrick who works for Boeing as an airplane mechanic.
Praises to Jesus.
Patrick and my husband changed the tire.
I told Patrick he was a hero and had saved our marriage from a rather large roadside fight.
We repacked all the crud in the car. It didn't fit the same way as before. The girls were buried in extra gear. We threw the flat shredded tire on top of the roof and headed back to civilization.
By the time we got back to the main road the original accident was cleared away and no traffic remained. Our detour had taken hours. We hit Les Schwab with only 15 minutes to store closure and the nice team of tire guys stayed open and happily sold us an entire set of new tires. All wheel drive ya know. Have to replace them all. $1200 lesson in patience.
Our bruised spirits finally made it to camp.
Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking I them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3: 15-16
I've heard of several people lately deciding to give up the faith. They say it's too hard to understand. That God's decrees can't be right. Too much judgment. Too difficult to hold the line. They have listened to the voices in society preaching an easy freedom.
Peter's message is a simple one.
Don't believe the lie. Stay the course.
The road with its rules and signs and guardrails is the place to stay. The wandering path leads to destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3: 17-18
Here you go! Helpful as always.
Perfect Gift: Express Your Hopes for a Child’s Future
Are you looking for a way to shower a newborn baby or a recent graduate with words of hope for their future? This beautifully illustrated children’s book is one to read again and again. The inside cover has plenty of space to have friends and family write well wishes at a shower, birthday party or graduation reception. Children will feel both familial love and the love of their creator when this book is read to them. It is the perfect book to snuggle with a child or grandchild to communicate to them how much you love them. This book is written and illustrated from a first world, upper-middle class perspective. I look forward to reading a sequel in the future highlighting the hopes and dreams that mothers from harder situations have for their children.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review. - Michelle K.
That's the Book: 1st Peter
When I was pregnant with my first daughter my mama gave me some great advice about labor and delivery. She said not to get wrapped up in other people’s horror stories and to face my labor remembering everyone is different. She said to try and remember the pain had a purpose and wouldn't last forever. She was right. The perspective helped. Rather than focusing on what was difficult I tried to remind myself the labor was bringing great joy.
Pain is always easier to bear when we know the outcome is a good one. Peter, the author of this little book knew something about enduring pain and then seeing the joy afterwards. He was present during Jesus' ministry and death and was one of the first to see the truth of the empty tomb. So the book of 1st Peter gives the same advice as my mama. Know your suffering is not permanent. Joy comes. It’s for great purpose.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1st Peter 1: 3-9
That was a long verse wasn't it.
I catch myself skipping over large quotes or excepts of Bible in other people's writing. I have to remind myself to slow down and read the words and absorb the truth of what God is saying. I think the devil loves it when we skip the scripture.
My words don't matter.
So go ahead and go back and read (or reread) that section of 1st Peter. It really sums up the whole book. Suffering causes you to grow, it burns out what is false, it makes the most important things clear, and suffering well draws people in.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 9 6-11
We don’t face much persecution here although our family around the world certainly does. And hardships certainly hit everyone. Cancer. Divorce. Financial loss. But what 1 Peter says is that God will carry us through those hardships. That these sufferings strip away what is lesser and reveals what is most important; Eternity. Salvation. Heaven.
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1st Peter 2: 11-12
Have you ever been around someone who was over reacting to a minor inconvenience? It’s awkward and unpleasant. Usually makes me wonder what happened in their past to trigger a harsh response.
But have you ever been around someone with a peace and joy in the middle of difficult situations?
It draws me in.
I want to know where their strength comes from.
Where their resiliency is stored.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... 1st Peter 3: 15b
Do you see what Peter is saying? Your reaction to what hardship shows up has an eternal impact on you and those around you. Your pain is not wasted. It's not pointless. The joy is coming.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1st Peter 4:12-13
And this is the bit of the story Peter is preaching. Heaven is a guarantee. Bring people with you. Suffer well.
I was struggling with the book of 1st Peter. I usually try to read it myself first and reflect, pray, think and write. Nuthin. So I cheated and watched The Bible Project's walk through. Then I started again. Totally helped. May I recommend you watch these?
Sharing Stories Making Memories is a book which offers both a great way to connect with a grandchild and a systematic method for recording thoughts, feelings, and stories from each. While there are many journals which promote documenting a person's history, this book provides a great vehicle for a dialogue between two generations.
For my own future reference, I've personally found it meaningful to record the child's age, the date, and the event which precipitated the entries in the margin of the book. The blank pages allow for even more creative, customized Questions and Answers. Filling out these pages together with my grandchild will soon become yet another treasured tradition. This journal is recommended.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.
What a great perspective. Some days my to do lists from #quirkyfaith and #thescrambleforthekids are burdomsome. Oppressively long. And when ministries change or partners quit it’s hard to keep on. BUT if the job is from God....which is a big if....and an important question... but if you know your task is something God has commissioned you with then it’s in His mercy and it’s a gift and THEREFORE a privilege, joy, honor and life giving to continue. Get the perspective right and the heart follows.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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