Taking the time out

 

Jackson sits in time out

Jackson sits in time out

“Mom, can I be in time out for her? Like what we talked about last night?”

During our bedtime devotions yesterday, we learned about Simon of Cyrene and how he carried the cross for Jesus. Lauren wanted to talk for quite awhile about how Jesus died on the cross, and even if that was a bedtime delay tactic, it’s one I’ll always go along with! We all tried to help her understand that Jesus died on the cross for us, and for her, to pay for the penalty of her sins. My husband described it this way: Jesus dying on the cross for our sins is like you getting in trouble but someone else taking your punishment. For instance, if Lauren hit Jackson, and she was definitely the one who did wrong, instead of her getting a spanking or going to time out, Jackson would choose to take her time out instead. Jesus loved us and paid for our sins, even though we were the ones who did wrong, not Him.

After breakfast this morning, I was cleaning up in the kitchen and turned around to see Lauren grabbing Jackson and pinching him. After talking with her about her unacceptable behavior, she was sent to time out.

That’s when Jackson turned to me and asked if he could go to time out instead of her, like what we talked about the night before. He wanted to show Jesus’ love to her.

Well, I couldn’t say no! I made sure that was what he really wanted to do, and he went over to Lauren in the corner to ask if he could sit in time out in her place. She agreed, and Jackson sat quietly and took her time out.

Jackson’s precious spirit pierced my heart. He was willing to humble himself in order to display the Gospel. He was willing to take on a punishment He didn’t deserve to demonstrate the redemptive power of Christ. That must be my theme, my aim, today: showcasing the message of Jesus’s sacrificial love.

If a seven-year-old gets it, his mom should too.

He became sin who knew no sin
That we might become His righteousness.
He humbled Himself and carried the cross.
Love so amazing,
Love so amazing!

– Chris Tomlin, Jesus Messiah

Gardening with a little girl (involving children in ministry)

Lauren choose all pink flowers to plant

Lauren chose all pink flowers to plant

Involving children in your ministry can be messy. They will have the potential to be exposed to things you’d rather shield them from. A schedule will be harder to keep. They will see you at your very best and sometimes very worst.

Your children will also get a front-row seat to grace. They will get to experience what it means to be the Body of Christ first-hand. They will see the joy of serving others. They will witness prayers answered, and what it means to wait on the Lord. They will learn that being a Christian isn’t passive, it is life in action.

Children need to see their parents loving Jesus out loud through ministry. They need us to involve them in tangibly loving others and sharing the Gospel, even if it’s inconvenient and not as “efficient” with little ones in tow.

Last week, Lauren came home from church with a flower for me. She was so excited about this little flower, I decided that we would plant it, along with several other flowers in a few pots to add some color around our house. And, by color, I mean pink, because that’s the only color that was acceptable to her as we walked through the garden center at Walmart. For those who know me, and how hard I avoid gardening of any kind, this was a big deal!

We got all our supplies out, and then began getting the pots and dirt ready for the flowers.

Lauren thought she would go play on the swing-set and enjoy the flowers once they were planted. I had other plans.

I knew it was important for her to experience the planting process, to see for herself what it was like to plant and take care of the flowers she had been given.

So, for the morning, I got to garden with my little girl.

She helped put the dirt in the pots, which was not her favorite part. Her hands got dirty, which was terrible to her. She filled the watering can and lugged it back to the pots. She watered the dirt to prepare it. She helped plant the flowers and bury the seeds. She watered everything once more.

She now had ownership in these flowers, and has been tasked to water them, especially now that the weather has skipped right into summer this week.

plantingflowers

Ministry should not just be for adults, for mommy and daddy only. Our kids need to be involved, take ownership in areas they can take on, be involved in prayer for people and needs. They need to understand that ministry is hard work, and be along with us to do that hard work whenever possible and appropriate.

I am by no means a perfect parent and I often fail in the areas God has given me to serve Him. But, my children can also see God’s grace and forgiveness at work, even in me, when ministry doesn’t go the way I had hoped or when I make mistakes.

One of the most beautiful results in gardening is seeing flowers grow and bloom. You play the small part of digging the dirt and scattering the seeds, while God brings the sun and rain and life.

Ministry is like that, too. God brings the results and new life. But, He invites us to get our hands dirty and love people, sharing the hope we have that comes from Jesus.

When we bring along our children to work with us in ministry, they see Jesus alive in us, and how He can and will transform people, just as He makes the flowers bloom.