August 5, 2015
Several weeks ago, we left the oven that was Arkansas and trucked our way down to Florida. The trip there and back—six of us stuffed in a minivan with four car seats, five (ridiculously large) pillows, 56 blankets (why??), sand pails, beach chairs, dirty diapers, crumbling cheez-its, a leaky radiator (hence: dodgy air-conditioning), a bloody nose or two, and a speeding ticket—was, well, mildly unpleasant.
Thankfully, the ocean can always be counted upon to soothe the frazzled mother’s soul. For a bit, anyway.
While there, we got the word that the farm we are hoping to purchase (you remember the one) had hit some snags in the loan process. Despite our efforts to make it work, doors were closing at every turn.
Our long-held, deeply prayed-over dreams seemed to be coming to an end. It appeared, quite simply, that God was saying no. (Funny that I had written about that very thing just a few days before.)
I must’ve still had something to learn.
I’ve been in and out since. Busy with life, yes, but mostly just avoiding the blog because I wasn’t sure what to say about it all. (Uncertainty does that to you.)
And in the many hours between then and now, when I’ve considered that the farm might not get to become Our Farm after all, one big ol’ ugly question looms before me and makes everything else seem much less important:
What will we tell the kids?
Hattie was just tiny blip inside me when we first fell in love with the property. Since then, nearly every prayer at our dinner table has included mention of this farm.
It’s not because the house is lovely. (It’s not.) And it’s certainly not because life is going to be easier there (It won’t. Josh envisions me having time to make homemade cheeses and milk a goat…And I laugh at him.)
It’s because we want to train our children there. We want them to see sunrises and morning chores and vegetables and manure and how God makes it grow and we get to work it and play it and eat it and enjoy it.
We want the farm because we think it will make our children into better humans. And so they have been immersed in talk of this dream for as long as they can remember.
Perhaps that was foolish of us, but it’s too late now. We have prayed and we have asked and the time has finally come. And now we wonder and wait.
What if God says no? What then? What will we tell them?
What will they think of prayer? Will they think it doesn’t work?
But more than that, the one that I fear the most: What will they think of God?
A favorite verse of mine—one that inspires my parenting perhaps more than any other—is Psalm 78:4.
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
As parents it is our job to make God’s character known to these little Souls running barefoot our house. They are the next generation, and they need to hear it. Who else is better equipped to tell them?
When God takes care of a financial need, we can tell them that he is our Provider. When he protects us from a flat tire or an overheated minivan, we can boast that he is our Protector. When he gives wisdom when we need an answer, we can assure them God is our Teacher.
He is worth bragging on, especially in front of our kids.
So we must talk about him regularly in our homes. We must lift him high. We must declare his name and his character.
Yes, we must brag on him to our children, both because of who he is, and because of who he is not.
A few days later, as I debated what to tell my kids, I noticed another spot in Psalms. It’s just a snippet at the end of a verse—almost a tiny tagged-on thought—but it answered my question completely.
Psalm 92:15, “’The Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’”
That is what I’ll tell the kids.
There is no wickedness in God.
No matter what happens. Even if he says no. Even if our dreams don’t come true.
He is not and cannot ever act in wickedness towards us, my darlings.
And that is worth bragging on.
Speaking of bragging on God, how about a giveaway!?
My newest book, God Bless Our Fall, released yesterday. I am continually awed at how kind God has been to me through getting to write these books and how very kind you all are for reading along. I wish I could reward every last one of you with a free copy, but, darn it, I guess we’ll all just have to settle for one winner this time. (That is until I start my award-winning goat cheese making business. Then free books and free cheeses will be abundant…says Josh the Optimist.)
For a chance to win, either subscribe to the mailing list in the sidebar or leave a comment below (or both).
Just say ‘hi’ if you’re the quiet type, or, better yet, in your comment, take the opportunity to brag on God a bit. Tell me how kind he’s been or how he’s provided or share how he’s been merciful.
Either way, I want to hear it. And then I want you to go tell your kids.
Winner announced next week.
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