March 4, 2013

Choose this day...

This morning I discovered the remnants of three bad choices Isabel made yesterday. To disobey, to sneak, and to disregard caution. By her own admission she had a "bad" day.

I sent her to her room while I collected myself. My downfall is my temper and disobedience is a sure way to set it off. So, following a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that I am learning not to ignore, I asked her to go elsewhere while I sought some wisdom and diffused the blood that was boiling inside me.

I sat on her bed ready to hand down consequences and was, once again, amazed by the depth of insight of my small child. I was going through the obligatory lecture about obedience and obeying parents to learn to obey God and my job of teaching her to do both when she stopped me with these words:

- "But, I have to be who I am."

-" What? What do you mean?"

-"I am a person and I am who I am and I don't know how to stop sneaking and doing bad things."

This seven year old understood, without understanding, the core of our depravity. We are who we are and we don't know how to be different. And often we don't want to.

So we talked about God's grace and his power to transform us into the people He wants us to be. We talked about consequences of our choices and the importance of learning to obey the Lord while we are young. And we talked about ways to withstand temptation. All in all a good conversation.

But the most crucial nugget of that conversation, the one I credit to the Holy Spirit itself, was this:

- "Every day, Isabel, there are voices calling for your attention and every day you make a choice of whose voice you will listen to."

I opened my Bible and showed her what Joshua told the Israelites in his last speech to the nation. "Choose this day whom you will for me and my family, we will serve the Lord" (24: 15b).

- "You can choose to serve yourself, Isabel, what you want, what you need, what you feel like doing. You can choose to listen to your own voice telling you that your desires are more important than the teachings we are giving you. And you can spend the day worrying that we will find out. Ashamed and fearful. Or you can choose to serve God and never have to hide what you did or fear the consequences. Which one sounds like a better life to you?"

Even a seven year old can figure that one out.

So I made signs that say: "Choose this day whom you will serve. Joshua 24:15" and hung them, child eye-level, around the house, on the refrigerator door, on the mirror of her bathroom, on the entrance of our classroom. Because this concept she understood and  it is my job to teach her, to help her, and to remind her while she lives under my care.

But also to remind myself that every morning, I, too, have a choice to make. We all serve someone no matter what. It's who we are. So we choose. Every day. And we should choose wisely because how we choose will not only affect us but also our children, our husbands, and all we encounter in a day.

I know it is a choice I cannot make on my own. I don't have the strength. I can only make seeking God's grace which daily allows me to say with Joshua: "As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.


Kathleen Jaeger said...

One of our children came to faith during a time just such as this that you are describing. They were so distraught over not being able to change themselves; they saw that they needed a savior.

Ahhh, the insights of our children, no wonder Jesus told us to become like little children. what great insight that spurred her, you and me on toward love and good deeds!! thanks for this post.

Debbie said...

As I read through this post, I was amazed at the circle of teaching the Holy Spirit took you on that day. He used the bare truth expressed by your little one to remind you that we are all, every day, struggling against that flesh that crouches by our thresholds, just hoping for a opening. Big or little, old or young, there it is. I just shake my head in amazement sometimes at the determination with which my flesh likes to manipulate my choices, even after all these years of walking in Truth.

I couldn't help but think of the number of times that I have essentially looked at the Father and said, "But I can't help being who I am, Lord."

And just like Isabel's mommy, he continually says, "YES YOU CAN!!"

And now, I'm going to enjoy a little catch up time reading what I've missed lately.

Nancy Franson said...

I probably need to hang some of those signs at my own eye level. I, too, need to be reminded that allowing myself to give into frustration and letting my blood boil is its own kind of disobedience. You chose wisely in responding to the prompt of the Holy Spirit and set that example for young Isabel. Well done.

soulstops said...

what an awesome peek into how God is working in you, your sweet Isabel, and in your wise of you to let the Holy Spirit speak and you chose to follow...praying you are well, Gaby :)

Debbie said...

Back to tell you that I have recounted this post to no less than three different people in the past day. It was pertinent to all three. It's amazing how God uses a simple thing like a blog post.

Gaby said...

That's great, Debbie! I'm so glad to hear that. One often wonders if what we write makes any difference :)

Gaby said...

Thank you, Dolly! We are well :)

Gaby said...

Nancy, don't I know it?! I have learned and grown more spiritually since I became a parent than in all the years before.

Gaby said...

I know. This child makes me think hard. I don't remember being this insightful at seven. I wonder what the teen years will bring!

Gaby said...

Isn't it wonderful when all your yakking that you often think is falling on deaf ears all of a sudden produces more fruit than you could imagine?