Hidden Treasure

My dad texted me a photo this week of a little piece of paper he found in one of his boxes. In a jumbled mix of classic kid printing-style uppercase and lowercase letters, though remarkably neat, I had written:

“ThE LORD iS MY HELPER.”

The note underneath said “Hebrews 13:6, by Stephy, Age 4 1/2”.

It’s not a distinct childhood memory for me so it was amazing to see that little piece of paper still intact so many years later. A memory verse from Sunday School, I’m sure. This morning I turned to the reference in my Bible to see the words in print.

So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. 
What can mere mortals do to me?”

A small note next to the last line directed me to Psalm 118:6-7. Not even five years old, writing ancient truths on something ripped from a notepad printed for children, with a picture of two little girls playing tennis in the bottom corner. At the time I couldn’t comprehend the treasure these words held, but they are words that have continually point me to the true Source of Life through every valley, on every mountain, regardless of my circumstances.

The seeds of truth planted in childhood have pressed their roots deep into the soil of my heart and I can see the fruit of the faithfulness of God’s people as I now encourage my own children to commit Scripture to memory. I know I’m giving them one of the greatest gifts that was ever given to me – the opportunity to fill their hearts with this very same life-giving truth. God is the ultimate Gardener. He not only prepares the soil but plants the seeds, takes care of the weeding and pruning, and brings forth gentle, breathtaking growth in willing hearts.

I may not see what God is doing. I may not know how He is working. But I recall the words of Isaiah 55:8-11 and the walls of my heart are fortified against the daily battering ram of fear and discouragement.

“ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’
declares the Lord.

‘As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ ”

Don’t give up hope – it’s not the end. The Lord is our helper, we will not be afraid.

Beautiful words.

The Time Machine: To Myself – Read this when the kids are grown

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

I wrote this to wrap up 3 Weeks of Thanks one year when I had no kids in school. I love these memories!

***

The sun is bouncing into the living room right now, warming the floor and inviting me to nap right there beside the toy box   All.  after.  noon.

Alas, it is not to be.

But it sure is beautiful.

I want to remember this moment forever.  I will probably forget it when the next cloudy day comes along, because you really don’t remember exactly how glorious the sun feels until it’s right there on your face or your feet or whatever happens to be in reach.

I’ve got an inquisitive 4 year old asking me questions from the table behind me, while munching on the bread we made this morning in the bread maker.  She is an expert ingredient-adder, and always has to taste the flour (I don’t know why, I always tell her it tastes gross by itself).

“How’s the bread?” I ask.

“Good.  Do we have any more pears?” comes the reply.

“Nope,” I answer.

And she is on her way to look for a cowboy hat and a half-crocheted yellow scarf that doubles as a rope she uses to lasso anyone and everything.  Today she is Jessie the Yodelling Cowgirl from Toy Story 2.

The other two are napping for the moment.  A quick morning playtime in the backyard in the crisp fall air and warm sunshine, and that about does them in well for nap time.

Then, all at once, little voices echo from down the hall.

Everyone is awake.

These are the moments I will probably forget, because you can’t really remember everything after all, can you?

How I wish I could freeze time and hold this in perfect detail in my heart, and save it for when they grow up and go away and do the wonderful things (and the awful things) that adult children do.  For when I actually have to let go for real.

I know there will be grace then too, as there is grace now.

sunflower

3 Weeks of Thanks is nearly at an end for another year.  This weekend, we gather with loved ones over food prepared by hands full of love, and in this way return our love to the One who loved us first.

Generations gather.  Moms who once were where I am now will watch their own sons and daughters do what they once did, around this Thanksgiving table.  And we carry on in this way, each year getting a bit older and maybe even a bit wiser.

We give thanks – together.

What an absolutely beautiful tradition.

3WT Week #3

We love because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 (NIV)

The Time Machine: 3 Weeks of Thanks

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

Five years ago I started to make Thanksgiving a bit more of a season in our home with something I call “3 Weeks of Thanks”. This was originally posted in September 2015.  Enjoy!

***

wildflower bouquet

We grew these in our backyard in the summer of 2015

This is my third year attempting to make Thanksgiving into something of a season in our home.  I call it 3 Weeks of Thanks.

Christmas gets a nice long season with fun festivities.  Easter gets at least a week.

But Thanksgiving?  Usually it’s like, “oh by the way we’re having Thanksgiving dinner in three days from now – what do you want to bring?”

“YIPES!  Cook the potatoes!  Did we get a big enough turkey? Should I mash that can-shaped cranberry sauce or leave it in the shape of the can?  I think we need more stuffing.”

Fun and yummy!  BUT…  it’s more than all that.  Reading the news lately makes me realize that my kids are experiencing a life that most people do not.  The things that are so normal for them are completely out of reach for many kids their age.  My heart aches to think that they will become entitled and take these things for granted.

And yet, I know they probably will.  It’s human nature.  They will look back at my ideas like 3 Weeks of Thanks and think, “boy, my mom was the cheesiest woman on the planet.  Remember when we used to write all those things we were thankful for on those construction paper leaves and tape them to the wall for the Thanksgiving Tree?  No one actually has a thanksgiving tree.  What a ridiculous thing that isn’t a real thing.”

But you know what?  I don’t care.  I want them to understand that everything we have is not because we are awesome and can do it all by ourselves.  I want them to know that God is real.  He is present.  He is WITH us.  He is worthy of our worship.  He is the source of Life.

And when they begin to realize that life is not fair, bad things happen, and even that people do bad things, I want them to know everything is not random and pointless.

Hard to imagine that a construction paper tree is going to make a difference when that time comes.  But God shows up in very ordinary things.  And He uses very ordinary people.
3WT Week#1:

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me.  Don’t stop them!  For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Matthew 19:14 (NLT)