Tag Archives: children

God’s A Weird Parent

When I was very young, my parents sheltered me and exposed me, little by little, to the outside world. They registered me for school, swimming lessons, music lessons. All for the purpose of enriching me and teaching me about the great big world around me.

Eventually, Dad and Mom nervously handed over the car keys to me and watched me drive away to my first real job.

A parent’s goal is to bring children up to a confident state of independence.

Not so with the Lord. His goal for His children is to bring them to a state of humble dependence.

Weird. As children of God, we, in a sense, regress to the level of a small child:

trusting, completely confident in our Father’s ability to navigate the world and to keep us safe. Confident that we will be fed, clothed, protected, loved.

But we begin the life of a Child of God, struggling each day to submit to Someone else’s leadership. Not confident that our Father can and will supply all our needs through Christ Jesus. Wondering about our future. Sometimes very afraid. Sometimes worshipful. Sometimes angry and perplexed about the way things have turned out. Sometimes downright rebellious. Sometimes tearfully repentant.

Little by little we learn, through experience, through prayer, and from meditating on our Father’s words that He can be relied on, that He is intimately acquainted with us and desires our best.

But the things he allows into our lives are often painful, frightening, frustrating. Why God, Why? I thought a parent was supposed to shelter us from all harm.

And I thought we were supposed to grow up and depend only on ourselves.?? This learning to submit and be dependent seems so counter-intuitive, especially in a society where freedom has reached the level of lawlessness.

But the life of the child of God is marked by dependence on God. That is when His power works through us. Not the other way around.

Jesus said that the work of the disciple is to believe that He, the Redeemer, came in the flesh as the perfect God/man.( John 6:20)

Notice Jesus didn’t say that the work of the discipleĀ  is to somehow muster our own human love, faith, trust, strength and then go out and do what we imagine is God’s work.

No,

A true leader
we must learn childlike dependence

again. The work of the disciple is to depend on the Holy Spirit to lead, and allow Him to work through us.

Weird.

But wonderful.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then to God.” James 4:6,7 NIV Bible)

 

 

 

 

 

The Jesus Stocking

When the kids were growing up, I sewed a stocking just for Jesus. The kids asked me, “Mommy, why are you making a stocking for Jesus since He’s up in heaven?”

I told them, “Just ’cause Jesus is in heaven doesn’t mean that we can’t give Him gifts, too.

I cut up little strips of paper and told them to write down what they would do during the next year that would please Jesus. then we slipped them into the stocking and hung on the mantelĀ  next to the family’s stockings

On Christmas morning, we would pull the strips out of Jesus’s stocking and reading what everyone in the family had written. The kids usually said something to the effect of “I’m gonna try to be nicer to my brother and sister.”

Bruce and I usually wrote something about our intention to pray for our neighbors each day, or for patience and perseverance.

A friend told me that she made a crown which her kids decorated and placed it at an empty place-setting on the dining room table for Christmas dinner. I love that tradition. It’s a wonderful way to remind the children that Jesus is always present even though we don’t see Him. And to remind them that Christmas is first about Jesus, and secondarily about parties and presents.

When the children grew older we moved to a house without a fireplace, so we didn’t hang the stockings at Christmastime.

But a few years later we moved again…to a house with a beautiful fireplace. I opened the box where we stored the stockings and pulled them out. Jesus’s stocking was right in there with the rest of them. Surprised to feel a slight bulge at the bottom of the stocking, I reached down inside and pulled out tons of slips of paper. I wish I had told the kids to sign and date the strips. However, it wasn’t too hard to guess which kid had written which, and about how old they were when they wrote their “gifts.”

A lump in my throat threatened to steal my voice as I read some of the strips out loud.

  • “Dear Jesus, thank You for Christmas. I love you.”
  • “Dear Jesus, this year I will try not to yell at my sister.”
  • “Baby Jesus, happy birthday. I will be nice this year.”
  • “Lord Jesus, give me a heart for hurting people this year.”
  • “Jesus, I will not let a day go by without saying something kind to each of my children.”

I don’t recall how successful each of us were at i-vrq7cDL-M performing our gift promises.

But the strips did help us remember that we all are here for the purpose of living for Jesus. and that we should live each day with an attitude of thankfulness. Because when each new day dawns, God is providing us another opportunity to make our gifts to Him come true.

What gift for Jesus will you make become reality this year?

“When they (the wise men) saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11 NIV Bible)