It’s Christmas time!
Yay!!! I love giving.
Ugh…I very strongly dislike shopping.
Yay!!! I love seeing my kids tear open their packages and gasp with delight!
Ugh…There is so much pressure to find and give them exactly the right thing. And I very strongly dislike shopping.
Yay!!! My husband and I enjoy exchanging meaningful-or sometimes silly-treasures to model our mutual love for our kids to whom love has been misrepresented.
Ugh…I don’t know what to give him. Did I mention how much I strongly dislike shopping?
I have prayed more than once. “Lord, help me find the perfect item for each child that will tell them they are loved, that their history of trauma does not define them, that people always come before things. Amen.”
I know some people would say that God is too busy to concern himself with such prayers, but I believe that whatever is important to his children is important to him. Besides, I especially don’t like shopping when I don’t know what I’m looking for. (I secretly blame Porky Pig who taught me on Saturday mornings: “A loaf of bread, a bottle of milk, and come home right away.”)
During my early morning quiet times I will occasionally pull out old journals to discover and review what the Lord has done in me. This particular morning I was reading through my “church journal” and a few notes almost two years old that I had written at the bottom of a page, “The best gift to give my family is a walk with God worth imitating.”
How in the world am I going to do that? I hadn’t considered myself or my life worthy of imitating. I’ve made too many mistakes more than once.
I’m not perfect enough!
Then: BAM. (Imagine me sounding like that television chef everyone used to love.)
I turned just one page in my journal to find the answer that had been sitting there waiting because God already knew about this dilemma.
“All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They
had sought him with all sincerity, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave
them rest on every side.” (2 Chronicles 15:15 – CSB)
Whenever Abba brings a passage of scripture to my awareness I like to read it in several of the many wonderful translations we have in the English language. I find the practice to be a catalyst for deeper understanding and connection with the Word. So, I’ve included a few translations below, highlighting poignant variations.
“All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had
sought Him with their whole heart, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave
them rest on every side.” (AMP)
“All were happy for this covenant with God, for they had entered into it with all
their hearts and wills and wanted him above everything else, and they found
him! And he gave them peace throughout the nation.” (LB)
“The whole country felt good about the covenant promise—they had given their
promise joyfully from the heart. Anticipating the best, they had sought God—
and he showed up, ready to be found. God gave them peace within and
without—a most peaceable kingdom!” (MSG)
In those words, written centuries ago, I found the only gift that can completely repair and restore the traumatic past of each of my children; a relationship with the Lord. *
My morning devotions before the family wakes up
My crazy worship song outbursts in the grocery store (it makes shopping more tolerable for me, not the kids) and during dinner preparations
My reminders to each of them that only God has the right to say what is true about them
My making everyone stop and pray in the middle of a stressful Homeschool day
My seeking God daily is living a life worthy of imitation. It doesn’t say I have to do it perfectly. It just says to do it.
Leading my children into a habit of seeking “rest on every side” from the Lord is the gift onto which they can hold tightly. No one can ever take that away.
*Don’t hear what I am not saying. There is a place for trauma parenting, trauma therapy, parent training and the like. My point in this story is that, just like any of us who have fallen short of God’s glory, kids need to know the triumph over the evil one that is found in Christ Jesus.