936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
In the early mornings, the pool was like a sea of glass – that is until 50 kids simultaneously jumped in at the direction of their swimming instructors. Some of them held their noses and “cannonballed” into the deep waters, others stood timidly on the sides of the pool shaking in fear.
Fortunately, my daughter didn’t appear to be afraid. Thanks to her grandparents, she had quick access to several pools that helped her defeat the fear of water before it ever began. She’d stopped wearing the colorful floaties a few summers ago. Her confidence was comforting, that is until it came time to take lessons.
“I don’t need lessons, I know how to swim!” she insisted as she doggie-paddled to stay above the water.
But her debate fell flat as my explanation went on auto-pilot, “I know you know how to swim… I know you’re a good swimmer… but there’s still something new to learn. If you want to be a great swimmer, you need lessons.”
Each time she heard my unwavering reply, she’d scrunch her nose and walk away – she knew I was not budging. And while my heart wanted to chase after her to offer further explanation and gently point out her pride, the Holy Spirit nudged me and said, “Careful… watch your words.”
As a child of God myself, He was asking me the same thing: I know you think you know me and my ways… but are you teachable and willing to learn more?
I grew up attending church, church camp and discipleship weekends during the school year. I had posters of Christian artists and favorite verses thumb-tacked to my bedroom walls, I jammed to DC Talk and Newsboys years before Michael Tait switched bands. I wore a red sweatshirt screen printed with “Christian Girl” to school.
Now that I’m in my mid-30s and building my own Christian home, I’m realizing more and more how quickly I fall into the illusion of humility, all the while I am sitting in pride.
I think it happens to a lot of us moms, especially when we’ve spent nearly every Sunday of our lives in a faith-filled congregation and been applauded for our wise outlooks and words of encouragement.
We know the answers to most Bible questions. We can recall many verses at the drop of a hat. Our shelves are filled with wonderful books helping us pray for our spouses, love our neighbors, get along with our families and find the God-given purpose for our lives. But in the midst of the Bible studies and accountability groups, it’s easy to grow comfortable.
If we’re not careful, we can easily fall into Pharisee-like mindsets. We exchange soft hearts ready to repent and learn for know-it-all viewpoints. We find ourselves unwilling to try something new, adopt a different perspective, and surrender to the idea that we have room to grow.
If we’re not intentionally staying open for God to humble us, we’ll fall as quickly into pride as our children insisting they have nothing new to learn and don’t need lessons. Unfortunately it’s much easier to spot in them than ourselves.
Tucked away in the Old Testament is a story about an eight-year-old king who taught a bunch of adults about humility and faithfulness. King Josiah was entrusted with ruling Jerusalem at a young age, and as a first step, he “followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Chronicles 34:2)
Although young, he was wise. And under his leadership, false gods were torn down and covenants and pledges were re-committed. His diligence to follow the true God led to his blessing:
“Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 34:27)
Josiah was spared from experiencing God’s anger; his lasting legacy was the order restored to the temple and His devotion to the Lord. His story challenged me to ask myself: is my legacy headed in the same direction?
In a grace-filled reply, the Lord gently showed me weak areas of my prideful heart, along with a few warning signs:
Just like my daughter’s eventual willingness to get in the pool for swimming lessons, we should be ready as children of God to learn more from our Father. He has spiritual blessings for us, gifts “He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:8)
Lord knows we need them as we raise the next generation.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!