Our kids obviously aren't old enough to attend camp (thank goodness! I am SO not ready for that!), but there are still ways to get them in on the fun. One thing our church does for the preteen campers is fill backpacks with snacks, gifts, and notes for each child. Lucy really wanted to fill a backpack, so she grabbed one on her own and proudly brought it home for us to fill. We went and did our shopping, and then Lucy worked very hard on making her own cards to place in the backpack for our camper. Now, I realize I'm a bit bias, but Lucy really does make the sweetest cards. On one of them she wrote, "I love you!" in vibrant colors, and the word "love" was replaced with a big heart. She showed me her work of art and I said, "Lucy, this is really great, but don't you think it's kind of odd for you to say 'I love you' to this girl since you don't even know her?" And that's when my precious girl's heart shined through just as vibrantly as the colors she used to draw one. She responded, "Yes...But I know if I DO meet her, that I WILL love her!"
Wow. Such a profound statement from my little girl! In John 13:34-35, we read this:
"A new command I give you: Love on another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
One of the things that I love so dearly about Lucy is how deep her emotions run. When she feels something, she feels it with every ounce of her being! Now, this can certainly present some challenges in parenting her (like dealing with how upset she gets when she gets in trouble) but it can also bring a lot of joy in watching her heart feel so deeply for others.
Am I willing to love with that kind of abandon? Sadly, I think I'm often more worried about how the other person may respond: What if they reject me? What if they take me the wrong way? What if they don't love me back? A friend on FB recently posted this quote from a movie:
"How am I supposed to show love to somebody, over and over and over, who constantly rejects me?" I was reminded of how we are not called to love because of how it makes us feel, but we are called to love because that's what God's commanded of us. I show love to others because I love Jesus!
I have several chalkboards throughout our home that I typically write scriptures on. I recently changed our cross chalkboard to show the fruits of the spirit. As a momma to 3 energetic blessings, I can easily get frazzled, so one thing I've been praying is that the Lord would help me to respond to my children with the fruits of the spirit. Am I showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and SELF-CONTROL in my responses to them? When Lucy spills her drinks for the second time in one afternoon, do I lovingly help her clean it up? When Gabriel is kicking at me because he doesn't want to go down for his nap, do I speak to him in gentle words to help calm him? When Annie cries every time I try to put her down, do I patiently tend to her? It's my prayer that I truly show my kids these fruits of the spirit, not to gain any kind of number one mom award, but to bring glory to my Father. My job as a mother is to show Christ's love to my children. Am I selflessly doing that in every way possible? I guess I have to take a look at my own "backpack" that I carry around and ask myself what I'm trying to fill it with. Am I filling it with tools that will build me up and help me succeed in life, or am I filling it up with things that can be poured out onto others?
As summer will soon be drawing to a close, we find ourselves shopping for a different kind of backpack--one that our kids will carry on their backs each day as they head off to school. If you follow me on facebook, you know we've been on the hunt for a FROZEN backpack with a matching lunchbox. (Store clerks almost have flat out laughed at us when we've asked if they have them in stock! I have awesome FB friends though who helped us get Lucy hooked up with some sweet frozen swag;-) Even though the purpose of this backpack is to carry necessary items to and from school each day, I pray that Lucy's great ability to show love will be the main item she carries with her every single day, and that as they see her enter into her school, Frozen backpack in tow, they will recognize a disciple of Christ.
So, what about you? When people look into your "backpack," do they see the evidence of a disciple of Christ? Oh, how I pray that I am found putting on LOVE with everything that I do, just like my little Lucy!