God has taught me volumes in my mothering. So much more than how to get a baby to sleep at night or what to do with a croupy cough or how to teach brothers to get along.
Mother’s Day is a month away and with it the buzz about all that our moms do for us and teach us.
But so often, we are the students.
God has taught me so many lessons through my children and I’m continually struck by the parallels between the parent-child relationship and God’s relationship with us.
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In fact, there have been many times that even as my mouth moved in words of instruction or correction to one of my children, God spoke those same words into my own heart right back at me. I’m pretty sure that in those moments, I’m the student with a lesson to learn.
One of the earliest memories I have of this is sitting at McDonald’s with my first-born, then only about 18 months old.
I was a full-time working mom and I cherished time with him. On my days off, we’d explore the city’s parks, watch planes arrive and take off at the airport, hit Disney in the late afternoon and – one of our favorites – head to McDonald’s for the ball pit.
Every child of the 90’s remembers the ball pits. But then, every mom of the 90’s has a story about the ball pits — the kinds of stories that eventually caused them to disappear from restaurant playgrounds.
But this was the height of ball pits and they offered a fun playground for the price of a Happy Meal. And so this particular afternoon, I let Ben play in the ball pit to his heart’s content and then bought him a Happy Meal. I sat him in a high chair right next to me and set out his plain cheeseburger, small fry and chocolate milk.
A few minutes into the meal as we sat at the table, I reached over and asked for one of Ben’s French fries.
“Can Mommy have a fry?” I asked. I wasn’t that hungry but his fries looked pretty good.
“No,” he responded.
I was a little surprised by his defiance and I asked a second time. But he again refused, adamant that he did not want to share his fries.
I couldn’t believe it! The irony struck plainly. Didn’t he know that I could buy a whole tray of fries if I really wanted to?
If he shared every fry he had, I could buy him another order and another and another. While he stubbornly held onto his fries, refusing to give even one away, he had no idea that his mom could easily replace that fry and give him more than he could ever eat.
His little 18-month-old mind could only fathom the limited resources on the placemat in front of him at that moment. He had no idea that I could easily buy more fries than he could eat in a year’s time if I wanted.
And in an instant, God seared a truth into my heart.
I saw myself as the toddler, hovering over my money and my things. I wondered how many times I had refused to give or to share, scared that I was giving away my precious limited resources. In my finite mind – and in my selfish heart — I had not stopped to really grasp God’s infinite resources.
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. . . God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have abundance for very good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 – 8
God asks us – commands us — to give and I am that toddler who worries that giving will cost me so much. I can only see what is right in front of me, what sits in my checking account right now, what my pantry holds right now.
The widow who gave her last two coins must have understood the reality beyond what she could see: that God would not let her go hungry.
And my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Oh, what a picture God showed me that day of His faithfulness if I will open my hand to give and to share. God used an ordinary day and an ordinary lunch to teach His eternal truth.
I cannot give beyond God’s endless resources.
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