For a while, we did it for them. We buckled their car seats backwards, then forwards, so tightly it ruined our seats, unless you had the hubby who insisted on putting the towel or something under their seat. Once facing forward, they noticed we did it too. Then came the booster seat and we buckled them for a time until they were strong enough to make it click. I definitely ruined my back under the delusional idea that I was Elastigirl buckling their seat belts from the driver’s seat. And once they could apply the right pressure at the right angle, it was never an issue. They buckled up. It made them feel safe. They knew it was for their good. And if they ever were in a wreck, I think they would see the benefits. And they kept seeing us do it.
I’ve prayed since Julia and Brighton were babies that they would have a genuine love for God’s Word and that they would know in their minds and hearts the inexpressible, incomprehensible value of it. It compares to nothing else. What other book is “living and active”? What other book can you read through every year of your life and continue to “find” things that hit you square in the heart? That cause you to sit and stare at the page? We know His words changed the world but on a personal level, just think for a minute, what has it changed about you? What have His words led you to do? We all could write pages and pages on that. If He had stopped at forgiving me of my sins past, present and future, sealing me with the Holy Spirit, offering me a peace I cannot comprehend, the promise of His Presence with me and a future of eternal life with Him, I would have reason to praise Him........forever. But He didn’t stop there. In my youth, His Word gave direction allowing me to go into marriage without a lot of heartache and baggage. In His Word’s amazing ways, He said “yes” to marrying Jeff. His Word told me to follow Jeff’s leadership and if I did, there would be blessing in my obedience to God. His Word was my survival, my lifeline through years of infertility, waiting on His plan for us. Early in our marriage, fellowshipping with Him through His Word filled the gaping hole of having no close friends with which to share life. His Word gave me His confidence, when I had none, as I waited to adopt two amazing kids. I never would be on my fifth year of schooling them at home had it not been for my time in Zechariah that morning five years ago....and the list goes on.
I pray I have many years more to get to know Him through His Word and so my prayer for Julia and Brighton is that they get started personally. Not only through Jeff and me reading it to them and not only through their memorization of it but through their personal desire to know it for themselves. At a young age, I want them to experience the life and the activity of His Word in their lives. I want them to learn the weight it carries when they are struggling or when a friend needs encouragement. I want them to witness the power of His Word when they are in situations they find themselves that are way too big for them to figure their way out of. I want Julia and Brighton to personally discover the healing His Word brings in sticky, hurtful situations. And as this world persistently, unashamedly broadcasts its old ideas in new, flashy, or sometimes, covert ways, I want them to know His Word well enough to sense that something is awry and know exactly why.
A lot to want? Yes. It is. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
Putting on their seat belts became perfunctory. Do I want their Bible reading to become perfunctory? Yes. And no. I don’t want it to be something they check off their list for the day. I don’t want it to be rote and stale and mindless. My hope, my prayer is that His Word is their first thought when they need a safe place to go. Or when they need to make a decision or when they are hurting or when they are needed by a friend. I want His Word to be one of their first thoughts in the morning knowing and trusting that with Him is the wisest way to start their day. When things are shaking and moving, my desire is that their spirits long for Truth and their feet RUN to His Word, His Truth that never moves. That kind of perfunctory. Like breathing.
With seat belts, they went through stages when we did it for them and when we helped them with it until it became just a normal thing to do. Every time. Without fanfare. Because they watched us do it. Because they know it’s safe. Because it’s for their good. And because they have seen and lived the benefits.
By His grace may it be and all glory to God.....
Each of my children have a little notebook. We have a two uses for it: to write down the gifts as they think of them or as I ask them to and to write prayers requests for me to see later. As an invitation, these notebooks stay on the hearth along with a simple one page devotional. Some mornings I open the book up to the right page, set their notebooks out opened up to a blank page on the hearth. They read the Scripture and the short devotional and write any prayer requests in their notebooks for me to read and pray for later. This does NOT happen every morning but I pray as the months and years go by, it will become more consistent for them out of desire and need. And just maybe one day, it will translate to a way of beginning their day, to a way of life.