Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When Jesus Shows Up for Playtime

A path of faux wood stretches across the entire hallway between the play room and my kitchen, a regular Great Wall of China blocking the Huns from invading.  The only problem is this wall has been erected smack in the midst of our home's main thoroughfare, creating a traffic jam the likes of which construction crews are hated for.

Just today, the hall has been strewn with a dozen plastic dinosaurs, loose leaf paper, a stack of old magazines for cutting, zebra-faced scissors, purple glue sticks, and a zillion tiny scraps of confetti left behind by twins mastering the art of the collage.

No matter what it is, no matter how many raised surfaces I have for them to work on, the twins always choose the floor.  And most of the time? The floor immediately outside the kitchen.  

While I'd like to blame this problem on magnets or other mysterious polarizing forces, I'm savvy enough to realize the twins simply congregate where I'm working.  With three meals put on the gathering table each day, any mom knows that's going to be near the room with the fridge, oven, and microwave.

No matter that there's an entire six foot area rug they could play on in the living room or that there is an upstairs foyer wide open for uninterrupted play.  They unconsciously want to be where I am. 

But as usual, this desire to be close to mommy leads to chaos and discontent.  An argument erupts with Emerson not wanting anyone to step over his creation and with his siblings insisting he hasn't left them any choice but to chance the masterpiece's destruction.

It's inevitable that someone's foot will accidentally tip over someone else's tower, accidentally kick plastic X into plastic Y resulting in teary Z.

Most of the time, I can ignore the drama unfolding a few steps from the sink where I'm washing lunch dishes or scrubbing the stove top.  It sounds harsh to say, but motherhood desensitizes you to all but the truly serious cries for help.

Today, though, Emerson was more adamant than normal that no one else could play with him.  It was important.  I shrugged, chalked it up to getting up earlier than normal or general grumpiness from seasonal allergies we all were feeling ever since the "worms" started falling from the oaks and coating the carport in a powdery yellow.  

He kept insisting it was important, though.  And it was.  
"Come see, mommy," he called.  "The Angry Birds are going to Bethlehem.  I built it.  They're following the star?  See where I built Bethlehem?"

Sure enough, there was a path leading a line of multicolored birds and rotund, lime green pigs straight to the golden star of Bethlehem.  

Who knew molded birds of furrowed brow knew where to find the Savior?

This focus on Christ on the same day that saw the twins awaking to argue before breakfast over how palm trees should be arranged around Jesus' tomb--it's a positive sign of their hearts.  Even with the surrounding drama, it is encouraging to this mother who sees more failure than progress, who is living so close in the midst of raising children that it's hard to get perspective and see how far we've come.

Like many parents, I seriously wrestle with training up my children in the Lord.  It is a burden and sometimes one I I feel I'm failing to carry well.  It sounds crazy to say this since they're only four and six years old, but I often feel like I'm already running out of time to properly teach them to love the Lord with all their hearts, like every single moment is terribly important to cram in as much about the Lord as I possibly can.  

I take very seriously Deuteronomy 6:7 where Moses says, "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

On days such as this when talk of Jesus and Scripture shows up not just at lunchtime prayer but before breakfast, before reading lessons, while walking across the field, while preparing supper...

When Jesus shows up as natural part of playtime, I look at the verse and think, "Yes. This. This is what God meant when He said "when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

The more we intentionally speak the Word, the more our hearts unconsciously dwell on it and, thus, the more we speak it.  It's a cycle.

The teaching, then, is less forced, less intentional; yet, the name of Jesus and the Word of God flows from the lips as easily as one's own name.  Conversations begin to naturally lead from the day to day to the spiritual and back again without a thought--laugh-worthy words about a rat graveyard in one breath and deep words about the meaning of faith in the next.

My prayer is that God will give me lips to answer the hard questions my children ask, eyes of encouragement to see where we've been and where we're headed, and ears to listen with discernment to both my children and the Father.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! "The angry birds are going to Bethlehem." This story is a keeper. Thanks so much for sharing in community. (Are you on Twitter? Would love to share this with the #TellHisStory hashtag on Twitter... Email me!)