Lost and Found
We have a regular computer ritual – she will nuzzle her curly blond hair up against my arm, then look up into my face, sigh and say, “We’re best friends, aren’t we Mommy?” I lean over and smooch the top of her head and say, “That’s the way it should be in families, huh? People being best friends.” She sighs again and flops her head onto my typing arm. 🙂 (She generally then tells me how good my shirt smells, but that’s just our silly Burtsterbeaner. As evidenced by the fact that no one recalls ever discussing “best friends” with her and yet, that is a key part of her mindset right now.)
Yesterday, however, under my feet, I found a ring she received for her birthday last month. It had “deespapeered,” having apparently fallen under the computer area. I called her to come, for the purpose of returning it.
When she came into the library, I held it out for her, with a smile on my face. She looked into my hand and a grin lit her whole demeanor. “Oh Mommy, thank you!” and with that, she threw her wee self into my arms and said, “I LOVE coming when you call me, because we’re best friends.”
If the Lord ever desired to start adding musical scores to our lives, there would surely have been an entire orchestra performing in my library!
Obedience. Doing what you’re told when you’re told to do it. Doing it because you love the one who is commanding you. This I understood – “If you love Me, you will obey My commandments.” But, this was deeper – it was more…foundational.
I realized that not only had Burtster lost her ring, we – the Church – had lost sight of a key part of why we train our children. We train our children for service in the Kingdom. That is a given and acceptable and easily agreed upon statement. BUT, I saw so clearly how my actions do not necessarily back up my goal.
Let me be a bit more blunt – what I saw was that too often I am training my children for my benefit. When my children do not obey, I discipline them (or train them, depending on their age) for not obeying me. Their obedience is vital. It helps in maintaining our home. It helps them learn to be obedient to the Lord. It helps us honor one another. But, what I saw so clearly for the first time is, obedience is not for the benefit, comfort or ease of me.
Obedience is really for the benefit of the one who is obeying.
When Danica was small (and Jeffrey – and even Neesh) we would call the child and if they didn’t come, we’d go get them and make them practice coming, over and over. This was how we were taught to train them, and considered it to be wisdom. It made me nauseous. I hated doing it!! THIS very thing could be a clear reason why.
I was doing that training, not for my child’s sake – although obedience is vital! – I was doing it for me. I wanted that child to learn to come so I didn’t have to go and get them time and time again. (Sorry – brutal honesty here) If you would have asked me, I’d have told you it was for their good, but the reality is, it was for MY good.
When Burtie came running and threw herself on me speaking of how much she loved obeying me, because we are best friends, all I could see was how many times the Lord has told me to do something and I have put it off, not completely, not even for very long, but I still stretch it out a bit, because the “time isn’t right” or “I’m busy with something else” or “I just can’t do that, Lord” – instead of seeing that obedience is wholly for MY good, I see it as a matter of doing what God says. (And it’s not the “big” things I’m talking about – it’s those little “this will not affect any part of life” issues.)
I want my children to obey and I know that there is training that must take place and I still don’t have feet as to how this will (or will not) change how we train our children. All I know is that I received a huge paradigm shift in understanding that all obedience is for my blessing – for my good – for my profit, even.
We have always taught our children that obedience brings blessing – but this is different. This involves a deeper understanding of the heart of Father. This challenges me to be even faster to obey…and to listen. This makes me long for the Lord to give me something to do – for the added opportunity to receive even more blessing from my Father. (What can I say? I love being blessed by my Heavenly Father.) This even has to do with having a fresh understanding for the purpose of obedience. It’s not to get things done – although that’s a lovely byproduct. But, instead, the very core design for obedience is for our blessing. Am I making ANY sense? 😆
This is still very fresh in my mind and may not make sense to anyone else, but again brutal honesty here, I needed to process it where I could see the words. So, if you’re reading this – sorry – you’re really just eavesdropping on a conversation I’m having with myself. 😆 I tried writing it in my journal, but that just wasn’t enough. Who knows? Maybe someone out there reading is being called to respond to this, out of obedience, in order that we both might be blessed – you by responding, me by being able to think even more deeply about this, because of your response.
All I know is, Burtster lost a ring, but I found a whole new perspective – one of seeing obedience as yet another way that my Lord God’s plans for me are for my good, to give me a future and a hope!