Monday, July 27, 2009

Training

I know this will come as a shock to some of you, but I was a bit of a princess when I was younger. I know, shocking isn't it? I'm so glad I'm over that...really, I am.

But I can clearly remember times when I was walking around proud of the good I was doing and thinking that everyone should be so grateful that we (the royal we) were in their presence. About that time my mother would grab me by the ponytail - probably because it was the only thing she could catch as I sauntered past quickly to find the next group of people to oppress with all my goodness. She would get my attention and impart some gems of wisdom that would pop my princess bubble...lovingly.

This morning, God grabbed my ponytail.

I Have Been Trained - Part 2
By Missy @ It's Almost Naptime

So I'm driving the long 30 minute drive to VBS last week and
something makes me think of this whole bible study thing, and how this is not
the season for it, and how someday it will be, but how now - as I told Lisa - my
first priority is my family. And the mountains of laundry that they
accumulate. But some day, some day, I will get to lead my bible
study.

As I am pondering all this, I glance in the rear view mirror at the four
little souls in the four car seats behind me, singing along to their CD.
Then the silent but deafening voice of the Lord whispers to me, You are their
bible study. I think, yes, I am. I know this. I know that
after years of teaching other young women and other people's children, my job
right now is to teach my own little ones. And what a blessing that
is! They have learned so much! I begin to think about all the
Scripture they already know, between Seeds and the
book that we use, not to mention what they learn at Sunday School and VBS
to which I so diligently take them. Those tiny little kids already have so
much scripture hidden in their hearts...I guess I am doing okay at leading this
particular bible study! My heart rejoices at this. My heart even
gets a tiny bit - just a tiny bit - of the P word going. You know the P
word. The one that rhymes with bride.

And then the Lord whispers, that's not what I'm talking about. You
are their bible study. Immediately a flashback: the previous morning, when
Shepherd had left out a screwdriver. A tool, which he has been told
a thousand times is not a toy. A tool that he had retrieved from the
toolbox in the garage that he has been told a thousand times he is not to
touch. A tool that he had left on the couch, and his baby brother
had gotten, and was chewing on when he fell into the couch. The tool that
caused Ingram's lip to bleed. The tool that caused me to panic when I saw
the blood, imagining that the baby had stabbed the inside of his mouth with the
screwdriver. The tool that caused me to completely and utterly lose my
temper, to yell loudly at my child until he sobbed his apology, the tool that
hardened my heart even as I hugged him and lied to him and told him that he was
forgiven.

You are their bible study. My child can say from memory Proverbs 15:1
, A soft answer turns away wrath. He can also recite Psalm 34:13, Keep
your tongue from evil. How many times have I quoted to his sister
Ephesians 4:26, In your anger do not sin. I have taught them to forgive
one another seventy times seventy. Yet I negated every one of those bible
teachings in five minutes one Tuesday morning.

You are their bible study. How much easier would it be to just lead a
group bible study! I could prepare for you a wonderful lesson on
Philippians 2 about putting others above yourself. Then if on the drive
home I refuse to let someone cut into my lane of traffic, you'll never
know. I could research and teach you what the original Greek text
of Ephesians 5 says, then come home and chew out my husband for not
taking out the trash while I was gone, and you'll never know. I could give
you a wonderful exegesis regarding exactly what God meant when he said "Thou
shall not steal." And if the next morning, the teenager at the grocery store
charges me for regular apples rather than the more expensive organic ones and I
don't correct him, you'll never know.

But if I tell my children that I love God and seek to obey him, and then
dishonor their own grandmother with my tongue, they will learn more from my
hypocrisy than from the Word. If in my anger I choose to punish instead of
to discipline, then bible lesson for that day will be on vengeance, not
grace. If I teach them to do all things without complaining and disputing
- Philippians 2:14, another one they can rattle off - yet constantly gripe about
having to clean up their messes, then my lesson for the day is selfishness, not
servanthood.

I am their bible study. I am not saying that the Holy Spirit will not
and does not work on their hearts in spite of my actions. I am well aware
that the double edged sword that is the Word of God is a million times more
powerful than my sin. But, oh, dear Jesus, do my actions sometimes cause
the Holy Spirit to have to work harder? Are there days when the Lord must
work around me, instead of with me?? Oh Lord, forgive me and help
me! Remind me to practice what I teach! For this I have been
trained!! Amen!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing that! Really makes me think about how I go about my days.
Carrie S

Chris said...

ouch!! Thanks for sharing, and thank you, Holy Spirit, for convicting our hearts.

Becca said...

Thanks for that! Good read.

Deedee said...

LOL! I remember your Mom grabbing that ponytail! Thanks for grabbing mine today my friend. ((HUGS)) I needed that right now. - Deedee

terri said...

Thanks for sharing that. I think my ponytail got pulled too. It goes right along with a parenting book that I'm reading, where the quote from today was "Character is caught, not taught." Good, good reminders for me.