“Helping”

Jackson helped me make Rice Krispies treats for his preschool class. He was very excited to cook on the stove for the first time!

Jackson is my right-hand man.

My son loves to help me do projects and chores around the house (as long as he’s not in the middle of an intense Angry Birds game). Lately, he has “helped” me cook, clean, do dishes and put up ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Usually his helping makes the project longer, messier and more interesting! Jackson’s assistance is not about making my job easier, it is about him learning how to contribute to our family. His eagerness warms my heart, even if it means cleaning up after “cleaning up”.

Sometimes as Christians, we get into the mindset that God needs our help, that God can’t do it without us. Instead of counting it a privilege to be a part of God’s kingdom work, we make it a chore that must be done our way, like organizing silverware in separate dishwasher trays.

In reality, we often help God the same way that Jackson helps me. We are God’s children, and when He invites us to help in the kitchen, it is not about if the cookies are all uniform with perfectly interspersed chocolate chips. It’s about us learning how to be a part of the family and doing things God’s way. It’s about spending time with our Daddy. We may (and probably will) make a mess, but within the confines of God’s grace and guidance, it is a learning experience that God will use for our good.

We will never learn unless we do, and God wants us to practice by His side just as Jackson does by mine.

Jackson is helping me wash dishes! He just decided to take off his shirt because it was soaked after two minutes. Can you see all the water on the countertop?? I had to mop up afterward!

Knitted Treasures

When we tuck our children into bed at night, they each have a special blanket that helps sooth them to sleep. Though both Jackson and Lauren had many blankets from birth, from soft plush to plain cotton, each settled on a special home-made treasure to become their “blankey”. Whether they are tired or sick or just want to cuddle, it is what they reach for to find comfort and security.

When Lauren was sick last week, her blanket went with her everywhere.

These blankets were knitted together as God was forming and shaping each child before they were born. When I see these and other gifts lovingly made for Jackson and Lauren, it reminds me of the depth of God’s love for them, and for me, from the very beginning.

Psalm 139:13 declares, “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

God was there from the moment each of us came into being. He planned us. He created us. He was there with us as we grew and every part of us developed. We are because He is. He knit our bodies and our lives together.

So God created man in His own image;
He created him in the image of God;
He created them male and female.

Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

God’s hands-on approach to our lives didn’t end as our parents held us in their arms for the first time. God is intimately involved in our lives, seeking to bring us to the point where we understand the depth of His love and respond.

Recorded in Genesis, God revealed Himself to Abram, and Abram surrendered his life to follow God’s call and promise. Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” The word “credited” actually means to interpenetrate or to weave. God weaved into Abram His cleansing power to make him right with God. It was an action that could not be undone.

Just as beautifully as God knitted our lives together in the womb, He also weaves His righteousness into our lives as we are born the second time.

Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

“But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

 Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

– John 3:3-8

When we place our lives in God’s hands, the same can be said of us as it was for Abram (later renamed Abraham). Romans 4:23-25 says, “Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Or, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

God doesn’t stop there. He made us, He saved us, and He has a plan for our lives. He desires for us to be connected together as a family to share and demonstrate His message of love to the world.

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Ephesians 4:15-16

God has created, credited and connected us in such a miraculous fashion, weaving and knitting us into the people He intends us to be.

And, each time I tuck in Jackson and Lauren, snuggled tightly with their blankets, I see the promise of God in their lives and pray God will complete the beautiful work He has begun in them.