Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
Our younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, had spent Saturday night with us and most of Sunday. A leisurely Sunday morning awakening was woven with pancakes and bacon, lots of table talk, watching her pastor on the computer, and then lot’s of play, swinging on the swing set, and finally an afternoon fire in the fireplace while watching the winter Olympics from Vancouver.
All with our littlest girl—wonderful!
Late in the afternoon we switched from the Olympics for a while to watch a DVD of animated Bible stories, and in particular one where God called Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. As the Ark of Covenant (the “Holy Box” full of God-stuff) was carried into the Jordan River, God parted the waters so Joshua and all of God’s children could pass safely through.
As that scene unfolded before us on the television screen, I was moved to remark that “God is really something, isn’t He.” To which Ellie Kate quietly and matter-of-factly added “Gran, God is so nice.”
Remind me to call her Daddy or to write him a note and thank him for the example of a Father—him—that she can draw from and extrapolate into a Heavenly Father (she has never met) whom she feels and believes is “so nice.” Ellie Kate’s older sister, Hannah, feels the same way—another note of “thanks” to write to her Daddy. I’m hoping that my relationship with them also affirms that loving, nurturing relationship they have with their Daddy that paints a picture for them of how much their Heavenly Father loves them.
Sadly, that’s not always the case in many children’s lives within our communities, nation and world. As a matter of fact it’s probably a fifty-fifty toss-up what kind of example children anywhere will have to draw from for an image of their Heavenly Father. And they’ll get older, and much needed support and love may become more distant, and they’ll have little to turn to and to rely on to get them through the days, months and years of their life.
What was the message you got when you were a child?
If it seemed to come from a Father and Mother who gave you an image of a Heavenly God like the one Ellie Kate’s and Hannah’s have given them—of a God who is “so nice”—a Heavenly Father who loved and created you—then good, you have a good foundation to work from. Yet too many of us walk around still wounded from the example of a father who was much less than what he should have been, or a mother who forgot—if she ever knew at all—how precious that child was she carried for nine months. Too many of us remember only expectations rather than encouragement, demands rather than mutual accomplishments. Too many of us remember no one being there at all—physically or emotionally. Too many of us never really remember a sense of sacrificial caring or concern for us.
If that was the case for you—if childhood was something less than what God planned for it to be, less than you deserved in the eyes of the One Who created you—well, I’m sorry, but what are you going to do? Not a lot today, unfortunately. Can’t undo it, can’t start again.
But stop for a moment and look around. There’s still so much of you and your life ahead of you. There are so many others who count on you and who are looking for you to be the parent, mentor, and encourager you never had. So why not make their lives better. Because unless you recognize, admit, break, get-over, forgive and move past the destructive cycle from childhood that seldom painted the image of a Heavenly Father who loved and cared for you—it will be repeated in the lives of those around you—especially those who are most vulnerable around you.
Over and over by our words, our demeanor, our response to adversity, our choices between time with them or someone else, through our frowns or our smiles—we convey to our children and others around us our perception of their value, and how much or little they mean to us. And in those moments we give those around us a sense—they will hold onto for good or not—of what their Heavenly Father might be like.
Like it or not—they will become what you are, what you showed them, told them, and demonstrated to them by the allocation of your time to them, the tenor of your tone when talking with them, the softness and encouragement of your expression when looking at them, and the protective tenderness of your touch when securing their innocence and hope for the future. And through you Dad, and through you Mom—they will catch a glimpse of what their Heavenly Father is like.
Will it be the correct image?
“Gran, God is so nice.”
Yes He is sweetie, and I need to write your Daddy, and Mommy, a thank you note.
In His Name—Scott