Our family just had the most amazing 5-day weekend. We have all been looking forward to it – a break from work and school, time with family, good food to eat, a chance to sleep in. (And sleep in we did – our new average wake-up time is 7:30! I haven’t used an alarm clock in nearly a week.) However, both kids told me multiple times today that they do not want to go back to school tomorrow, so I anticipate Monday morning will be rough.
I was excited for the weekend for the time to relax and recharge, but I was also anticipating that I’d have a ton of amazing God moments to write about. As I wrote last week, (But I’m too BUSY to find GOD!) when I have time with my family it has been “easy” to see God at work all around us. Since I said that, I think God decided I needed more of a challenge – because all of a sudden Sunday night is here and I still have no clue what to write about.
Now, don’t get me wrong. God was all over the place this weekend. It was Thanksgiving and the first Sunday of Advent, and there was lots of love, many hugs, time to be thankful, time for prayer, joy with family. But I wanted more! I wanted some big incredible story so I could prove just how much God was there with us this weekend.
But it’s Sunday night; I was planning that I would need to filter through all of my ideas for the best one to write on, but I’ve got nothing. I decide to go “fishing.” As my 6-year-old, Judson, is getting ready for bed, I tell him that I’m working on my writing for the week and need some help. Think of all the wonderful things we did this weekend, I say. Tell me, where did you see God’s love??
He mumbles something about having fun with his cousin. “Is that the right answer, Mommy?” This isn’t a trick question, Jud! How did you see God’s love when you were playing with your cousin?
I continue to prod, waiting for some wonderfully insightful words of faith from my young son; because usually he delivers. But nothing. He finally says, “Sorry Mom – I don’t know.” And then he runs off. I’m left standing alone in the basement with tears in my eyes. I felt like a complete failure as a parent. One of my main goals is to teach my kids how to find and show others the love of God. Yet after a 5-day Thanksgiving weekend, my son can’t give me one good example of God at work.
I struggled with this; because I think the lesson really is for me. Of course I didn’t fail. Did I miss some opportunities this weekend to talk about God’s love with my family? Yes. Did I take advantage of my extra time to seek new ways to show God’s love to others? Unfortunately, no. Does God love me less? No. Do I believe that my son’s faith journey is doomed because he “failed” the “test” I gave him tonight? Definitely no!
It was unfair of me to put him on the spot like that. Judson continually shows love and he offers thankfulness in the moment – he more often than not sets the example for me!
I don’t need that big incredible story to know God’s presence, and certainly not to prove God’s presence. The real trick is to see God at work in the little things. (Like enjoying the time you were given to have fun with your cousins – which maybe wasn’t such a bad response from my son after all.)
We are called to live in love, and show God’s love in big ways AND small ways. And if I aim to find God’s love in small ways, who knows what big God moments might be right around the corner, waiting to appear.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:7-9