Today is Saturday . . . and I'm remembering 'Saturday week' (my husbands way of saying last Saturday). After dinner we had discovered ants. Now for you non-Texas people let me clarify: I'm not meaning the relatively harmless, hard-working black ant. I'm talking fire ants . . . and I mean well over 100 of them. Some in the dining room, but most in our room (the master).
Needless to say, all adult activity was abandoned, Robert brought in the special mix of fire ant poison he keeps in the garage, and the battle began. I escorted children upstairs and instructed them to put on pajamas, brush teeth and clean the upstairs (which, in their minds, means putting all toys & clothes away and cleaning the sink and counter top in the bathroom). They did the first two in record time. But then they began to play. I ran back up the stairs and reminded them of what they needed to be doing. I added that mom & dad needed their help, gave an update on the fire ant situation downstairs and their opportunity to show mom & dad how very responsible they can be. They expressed their eagerness to do this. To help them grasp the whole idea of it, I told them what specific things needed to be done.
Half an hour later, with Robert still discovering more sects of fire ants to fight, the upstairs was 2X worse than it was to begin with. I was quite angry to say the least. I sat the children down on the futon in the playroom and explained how disappointed I was in them. I went downstairs and returned with a large black trash bag. The children now had to pick up their toys and put them into the bag, with instruction that they would only receive the toys back when they could prove themselves responsible. Katherine & Elizabeth cried, and Joseph was just disappointed. (Of course Samuel, who is just 1, was oblivious to the whole event.)
The large drum-size bag was full. Mind you, these are not just any toys . . . but the favorites. When I returned back upstairs the atmosphere had completely changed. My 5 year old son (Joseph) was leading the girls in a chant and marching parade around the playroom. As they marched they all were saying “The Lord is Special” over and over again. (Picture this, because it is just sweet.) Throughout the chant Joseph would occasionally add more: “The toys are gone but the Lord is special”; “We made a bad choice but the Lord is special” and the one I got the most tickled over - “Mom is angry but the Lord is special”.
Katherine then explained to me that they realized that obeying mom is more important than having toys. She had shared this with the other two while I was downstairs and that they were all sorry (not for losing the toys, she added, but for not cleaning up.) And then they once again began marching with jubilation . . . chanting once again that "The Lord Is Special!"
Well, there we are - - teachable moment extraordinaire! We made a quick huddle and I asked them if they knew that the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). My 5 and 6 year old knew this but weren't sure what it meant. I explained to them that they had just lost all of their favorite toys, and yet they were acting happy and praising the Lord. When I talked about the joy that we have in our hearts just from knowing God and being His and knowing that He loves us, my son beamed. “I know exactly what you're meaning mom.” His eyes were just lit up with love for his Lord.
We talked some more about pleasing the Lord and they soon began another march around the room, this time chanting “Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right!” (Ephesians 6:1) over and over again.
We've since had some great talks about obedience and the joy that is ours . . . that is, the joy of the Lord that He gives us. We've especially enjoyed talking about Paul and Silas and the joy they had in the jail (Acts 16). The joy which has the Lord for its object, and comes from Him, is the cause of renewing spiritual strength, so as to run and not be weary, walk and not faint, in the ways of God. (Gill)
What a blessing parenthood is. And just amazing that God allows us to be stewards over HIS children . . . that we get to lead them to Him and teach them and raise them. And what a responsibility. Sometimes I feel very unqualified. But I've decided my feeling this way is a good thing. It makes me seek Him, and, in turn, our children learn to seek Him too. What's more important than that?
The Lord is Special!!!!