Refuse Worry, Embrace Gratefulness
- Monday, August 27, 2012
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices. It was adapted from Susie’s book, Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places (Moody Publishers, 2010).
Assurance grows in unexpected places. I remember a particular summer day many years ago, when a single flower poking up through the ground brought me to my knees and moved me to tears. We were in the midst of one painful season after another. Apparently several spring and summer seasons had come and gone without much notice from me. For many years in a row, life had felt like a cold, dreary winter. It honestly hadn’t even occurred to me that my favorite seasons had come and gone without my noticing them.
There, in that place, life was still hard. I was still battling a disease while trying to parent three very young and extremely active boys. My energy level was still low and my faith still wavered from time to time.
Even money was still scarce but, like Jack and the Beanstalk, I had some seeds. Mine came in the mail. Maybe they were part of a gardening promotion, or maybe it was a neighbor’s anonymous attempt to help me put some color in my life. I don’t know. What I did know was that it was springtime and I had some seeds in my hand.
I rounded up my little guys and showed them the beautiful picture on the front of the packet. Then I opened it up and showed them the ugly little seeds inside. Luke wrinkled his nose and said: “Somebody’s not telling the truth. Those aren’t flowers.” I chuckled and then explained the wonder of life in a seed.
The boys and I padded out to the backyard and found a patch of dirt right next to our concrete patio. With six dirty little hands helping me to clear a spot for our seeds, we were ready in no time. I planted the seeds and we watered them. Then life got hard again and I forgot all about my little investment.
Our medical debt weighed like a big heavy boulder on my back. My uncontrollable and unpredictable battle with Lyme disease left me feeling as vulnerable as a woman living in a terrible part of town with no locks on her doors. Seeing the weariness on my friends’ faces (from helping me) made me wonder when they would wise up and find a new friend. Everywhere I turned, I found reasons to worry.
Did it really matter that I was a Christian? Did it matter whether I prayed or not? Could it be true that a small seed of faith is enough to move a mountain? The Bible says it’s true. But when I looked at the piles of problems in my life and looked at the promises from Scripture, I was tempted to do what Luke did: wrinkle my nose and say, “Somebody’s not telling the truth.” And the thing was, somebody was lying to me, but it wasn’t God.
I’ve known many women (and I was one myself) who, though they loved Jesus and considered themselves believers, regularly voiced their fears and worries in front of their children. We wouldn’t feed our kids poison for lunch, and yet we think nothing of spouting off all of the reasons we are stressed, worried, and afraid of the giants in our land. If our default response is to declare defeat in the face of our foes, then our children will assume that it pays more to worry than it does to wait on God. Their roots will be shallow at best because ours are too.
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