One of the duties I enjoy in parenting my children is the having the privilege to share the word of God with them. With Dylan it is soooo easy because he LOVES a good story! He will often come up with a scenario and ask one of us to come up with a story to go along with it…on the fly! So it is no surprise that any Bible story captures his attention (and I am praying his heart too!). Each week we get out his "Cubby" book and learn his lesson for the following AWANA session. It is one of the highlights of both of our weeks! This week's lesson was on The Five Loaves and Two Fishes. I wasn't sure how this one would go over, seeing as he has heard it many times before…but by me utilizing hand gestures and props his attention span was great! I kid myself if I say that those lessons are only for him, because so many times the Lord speaks to me through those simple lessons. This time as I read our passage my mind focused on the interaction between Philip and Jesus. The Scripture says that Jesus tested Philip by asking him "Where are we going to get enough bread for all these people?" Now, there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus was sincerely panicked about where the sustenance would come from; the Bible says He already knew what He was going to do. Today as I read that story again I speculated that Jesus asked Philip that question because He had already looked into Phillips heart and had seen what was going on inside. I imagine Philip experiencing inner turmoil about exactly how they are going to feed all those people. Having been gifted with leadership talents and maybe a desire to provide physically for those under him, his internal struggle would have been quickly recognized by Him who sees the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Philip's answer expressed the condition of his heart. Not even 8 months wages, 200 denari, would be enough to offer each person a bite! In other words, this task seems impossible, this problem insurmountable. Perfect! Now Jesus had Philip exactly where he wanted him…at the corner of hopeless and hungry. Isn't it always in the darkest hour that any amount of light seems brightest? The stage was now set for Jesus to work one of His most beloved miracles: feeding the 5,000 men (plus untold numbers of women and children) with leftovers! Every stay-at-home-mom's favorite!! It was in the truth of this moment that the Lord spoke to my heart. "Jennifer, how are you going to get through this upcoming deployment?" "Where will you get enough 'bread' to sustain you and your family these long months?" Talk about judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart! How many times has the Lord 'heard' me ask myself that question? Well, what could my answer be in light of what I had heard from Philip's lips? I had to come to that same intersection with Peter, the place where I can say without shame or fear, "I don't know. Only You, God. The stage is set. Please, work Your miracle in me."
Thursday, April 8, 2010
There is this point between fully awake, squirming, reaching for all things reachable and zonked, passed out, eyes-slammed-shut sleep where a transient state comes over a baby on his or her way to bed. The last two nights I have found that place with my baby girl, and it is SOOO sweet. Lying in my arms she is looking up at me, square in the eyes, and I am doing the same to her. At times it seems like she is almost looking through me as she teeters on the edge of blessed slumber. I wish I could know what she is thinking. What thoughts go through her young but vibrant mind? Is she noticing the color of my eyes, the shape of my face, or the crookedness of my teeth? Or, during this twilight time, can she see the shape and form of the heavenly beings that I have prayed would come and surround her crib as she sleeps? Does she watch them with delight as they decend with their cheerful faces to be her companion on their nightwatch? Or does her face display the contentment and security she feels down deep inside? Whichever it is, I treasure those moments before her lids fall and she begins her rhythmical breath. To me, it is a confirmation of the mutual love that mother and child have -- a bond known since Eve and Cain.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Tim put together a StrongBonds retreat for his battalion over the weekend and I was blessed to be able to be apart of it. The location was great (Myrtle Beach) but the weather was non-cooperative. Thank goodness Myrtle Beach has alot of other great attractions to see. If you don't know about StrongBonds, it is a program that the Army funds and the Chaplains run with the mission of strengthening families, marriages, and single soldiers (who will one day be having marriages and families of their own). One of the ways the StrongBonds program is carried out is through retreats that are hosted away from Post and usually in nice locations. This particular retreat we focused on the PREP course (relationship enrichment and problem solving) and had 10 couples (plus kids) with us. These retreats are one of the biggest ways I have been enabled to be apart of Tim's ministry. He allows me to teach with him (on the curriculum that I am certified in) and we also --hopefully-- model what a healthy family/marriage looks like. Quite frequently I get good feedback from the wives, and husbands at times, on presenting things from a woman's point of view. As a "Words of Affirmation" person, this goes a long way for me to know that I am on the right track. It was such a blessing for me to be able to do this and for us be there with our kids.