Monday afternoon found me in our beat up old van (we affectionately call her Bessie and keep praying her into a few more months of existence) driving our two youngest girls home from their first ballet lesson of the fall. Maggie reflectively asked, “How can God get to everywhere so fast?” I told her that God is already everywhere so He doesn’t really have to “get” to anywhere…He’s already there! Then I added that we have to remember that God is not like us, we can only be at one place at one time but God can be in every single place, even our old van, all at the same time. Mallory, finally piped in with full enthusiasm, “yeah, we are NOT God!” Well said, my little lamb, well said.
Yesterday, I was out for a run listening to a podcast from one of my favorite long-time mentors (not personally but through her books and now blog and podcasts), Sally Clarkson , in which she was speaking about reverencing God appropriately. In a culture that regularly shows disrespect to presidents, pastors and even service men and women, it can be easy to slip into a mindset that forgets that our God is due our honor, respect and awe. We forget that God is so much greater and bigger than us, we forget His authority over our lives, we forget that we are not God. As my little ones discussed, we are quite limited while God is limitless. And yet, how often do we fail to recognize that in His grandeur, He is always among us?
The Lord has me in an encouraging season of making Himself known to me at each twist and turn of my day. The intensity of the last several weeks for us, our oldest recovering from a concussion and our five biological children sick with mono, left me with very little to cling to save God Himself. It was an incredibly hard time for us but as I am coming out of the fog of tending to sick children, I can see countless ways that God used that time to strip away all that is unnecessary in order that I might see what is truly useful, good and right. And in that, He has renewed my strength and passion for motherhood. Hopes, goals and dreams for my family that have somewhat been lost in so many continual seasons of transition (moves, church changes and babies!) have been restored and I’m very grateful for the way He continually refines me and bears with me.
So the Monday afternoon car conversation coupled with the podcast had my mind swirling with thoughts of how I can practically help our children to see God in our everyday as He truly is…mighty, powerful, limitless, worthy of honor and glory. If we fall into the trap of thinking of God in much of the same way we think of man, how much more are our children likely to think of God as much smaller than He truly is? I want my children to not only be able to acknowledge that God is always with us but that He is also “other” than us and very much due our honor, reverence and praise.
My first thought turned to mealtimes. We’ve begun a rotation in which a different child gives thanks for our meals each day to keep arguments at bay (though certainly I’m glad that my children clamber to have a hand raised first to pray…I pray they are always that eager to talk with God!). But when certain little ones pray, I’ve also noticed a tendency to almost shout a “thank you God for this food!!!” Hardly, a prayer of respect and honor or that acknowledges the sacredness of God. And so, yesterday, before lunch, I took the opportunity to talk the children for a bit about why we thank God for the food before us and the way in which we should thank Him. I had the kids imagine they had just entered the king’s palace and were walking into the throne room to thank the king for a good deed He had done for them. Certainly they wouldn’t dash in, scream thank you and run out of the room, would they? They laughed at the picture but I believe in settled in their minds…how much more should we not treat God this way? So we bowed our heads and I asked the kids to be quiet for just a moment (this can be tricky with Maxton though I’ve found that when everyone else gets quiet, he takes the que and joins in). In quieting our mouths and our minds, Maggie was then able to pray the sweetest prayer to God, thanking Him for our food and for our family. And I believe she honored Him.
Of course, this is just one example. Having our children be quiet in the sanctuary each Sunday is a way we teach them that this is a special place and a special day…we are going to act differently here than we would on the playground! When we take nature walks, whether talking about birds or frogs or trees, I try to point them back to the Creator of it all and how His creation teaches us of His character. What I’m finding, most of all, is that pointing my children to the Sacred among us requires that I am continually aware and acknowledging God’s presence in my day, not forgetting that I am so weak and needy of His grace.
“The great power in setting apart small units of time for morning, midday, and evening prayer infuses into the rest of my day’s activities a deep sense of the sacred, of God.” – Peter Scazzero
It simply won’t do to open my Bible in the morning and not allow my thoughts to return to God until mealtime prayer or bedtime reading. I must make the conscious choice to think of Him again and again and again that I myself might bring Him honor and glory as I walk through my busy days. And then, hopefully, I can bring my children into that same awareness…an awareness that glorifies Christ but also brings the gifts of beauty, peace and joy.
“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.”
**I’m someone who loves to know what others are currently reading or listening to for encouragement in the faith, encouragement to draw near to God throughout the day and set our minds on things above. I thought I’d share a few of those things that have been soul food for me as of late:
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
- The Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson
- Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
- Citizens of Heaven: In the World But Not Of – T4G 2018 Matt Chandler
- Killing What’s Killing You – Sermon series from The Bridge Church in Nashville