When we moved into our house this past July, just four months ago, the previous owners left us so many surprises…like REALLY GOOD surprises. A lawn mower. A wheelbarrow. Stand alone storage cabinets. Mid-century modern shelves. A cozy vintage chair and footrest. Tools and a work bench in the garage. Even a Star Wars collectible record. (clearly they knew our son’s allegiance!) Thing after thing after thing. It has been like Christmas over and over again finding treats. They had incredible taste & talent when it came to color choices and creating a space that made people feel instantly welcomed. And we feel so grateful to now live in this space day-to-day.
During that first sweltering week we were unpacking, I finally found myself upstairs putting up pictures in the half
bathroom. My eyes saw a little stone they had left. It read, “Do You Know Him?” Look closely and you’ll see it on top of the of the cute vintage chemistry set/storage box they MADE! (This amazing picture was taken by the former owners with their amazing style and taste.)
As much as I’d like our kids to leave it as a “decoration” in the bathroom, it rarely stays put. I find it milling about, here and there. Most of the time, this little rock is part of the landscape, blending in with LEGOs, blocks and Hot Wheels. Every so often, though, amidst the mess and chaos and life happening, that question hits me when I see it, “Do You Know Him?”
Ahhh….well…..do I know Him?!? I….guess so. I *THINK* I do. I hope I do. But, truly, do I know Him? Do I really remember Him?
In the middle of the hustle and bustle of daily life?
In the midst of a messy playroom?
When brothers are wrestling and fighting and cranky?
When dinner is behind schedule and the chili is burning?
When the urgent presses out the important?
As the to do list runs on and on?
Do I know Him?
Because when it gets down to it, helping my boys answer this same question means that I need to have a grasp on it too. If I know Him, does my life reflect that? Do my actions & words look any different? My three and six-year olds see me in my most raw moments, during daily life. They observe how I respond to the toys that take over, to the demands that threaten my thin thread of patience, to the times when my plan falls through.
Recently, my youngest was having a very stubborn moment and instead of holding in my anger and embarrassment, I laid into him. We were driving in the car, the rain was pouring down and I felt rage. I was too angry to self-assess and reflect. Rather than determining why my own emotions were so forceful, I released it all on him. As my words poured out, I watched him deflate before my eyes in the rear-view mirror. His happy-go-lucky smile and conversation, melted into silence, his face dropped and his head turned sideways, buried in his car seat. Finally, I forced myself to stop. Took a lot of deep breaths and looked back at him again. I forced out an apology. I put on a meager smile. I told him I loved him.
I had to repeat it. Three times. Finally, he lifted his head and looked in the rearview mirror—locking eyes with me. “You happy now, Mommy?”
Silence from me.
“Mommy, you happy now?”
I finally eeked out a reponse. “Yes. I am so sorry for yelling.”
“You happy! I am happy!”
Our children know Him by our actions, through us. Knowing Christ is different than knowing about Christ. We can share stories, read scripture, take them to Sunday School, have Veggie Tales viewing parties, but truly, for our kids to know Christ means so much more. They look to us, even as imperfect role models, to see who this God is that we claim to know.
Our kids look to us, even in the middle of daily living, in the midst of strewn LEGOs and homework battles and wonder how to know Christ in the mundane everyday.
So, tomorrow as we pass the turkey and gravy, the sweet potatoes and pull-apart rolls….
Tomorrow, as we take a moment to offer thanks and enjoy time with family….
Tomorrow, as we pray a prayer of Thanksgiving…
We can also remember that all we have to enjoy, the tangible and intangible that surrounds us, even the hard & pressed places, can be seen through an eye of gratitude because—We. Know. Him. And may God give us strength and vision to live that out before our children’s eyes.