I taught her.
From the time she was born, I taught her.
I taught her how to walk. She toddled around and stumbled a few times. There were a few scrapes and bumps, but she learned. Then I taught her of the importance of choosing the right paths.
I taught her to talk. Small sounds turned to giggles that turned to mumbles that turned to words. Before long, she was making full sentences and conversations. I taught her the power of her words, to build or to destroy, to honor self or to glorify God.
I taught her to read. Letter by letter, word by word. Sentences and Bible verses, paragraphs, chapters, and books. Then I taught her to guard her mind from the world's rubbish. At first I sheltered her, then little by little, as I saw her grow, I pulled back the shelter. She spread her tiny wings. I taught her to fly.
I taught her math and science and history and Bible and literature. I taught her about the Creator and His beautiful design of the world around her. I taught her how to see Him and His perfect order in math and science. I taught her how to see His sovereignty and grace in history. I taught her how to see the heart of man revealed in literature. I taught her that all of it can only be understood in the light of God's Word.
I taught her to cook. I taught her to clean. I taught her to serve. I taught her to lead. I taught her to think and to walk circumspectly.
My face blushed, but I pressed forward. I taught her to shave. I taught her how to put on make-up. I taught her modesty and true beauty. I taught her about her body changes. I taught her about her period. I taught her how to put on a pad. We giggled nervously like silly girls do, but she learned. And I was the one who taught her. I taught her about boys and babies and the beauty and joy of following God's plan. I taught her the purity of intimacy in marriage and the tragedy and pain of giving her heart away before it was ready, and the heartbreak and baggage of sharing her body outside of God's design.
I taught her.
Not a teacher or a cousin or a movie.
The one who loves her more than anyone but God...
I taught her.
And truth be told... she taught me, too.
My lesson for the children’s class at church was ready. It was easy to put the lesson together, and I was excited to teach my precious little children’s class sweethearts. I had visuals and some fun activities to go with the Bible lesson. It was going to be perfect. My translator and I would teach these children the truths of the Bible together, and we would make a difference.
Then my husband let me know, “Isahaak is in his village today.” Suddenly my Bible lesson fairy tale came crashing down. My translator was not going to be there. I was counting on having him. My language skills were poor and insufficient. I had become quite dependent on my translator and even somewhat relaxed in my language studies because I knew my translator would help me. Now I was being told I had to teach the class alone.
Honestly, panic wanted to sweep over me. I can’t teach these kids! I, however, had no choice. I was the only one who could teach them. The children would all show up ready and waiting to hear a lesson from the Bible. Someone had to teach them, or the precious opportunity would pass by wasted. I prayed, took a deep breath, and taught the class.
Joshua 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise…”
Moses, the leader and Joshua’s mentor, was gone. Joshua could no longer sit in the shadow of Moses. Joshua was now the leader appointed by God to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
I do not know what Joshua felt, but I can tell you how I would have felt in his shoes. When I was in the comfort zone of the shadow of my translator, I was confident and ready to tackle the children’s class. The moment my translator was gone, I wanted to panic. I have a feeling Joshua felt overwhelmed, too. God kept telling him multiple times to be strong and courageous. Apparently, Joshua needed a courage pep talk.
Sometimes we do not realize we are hiding in the shadows of something or someone else. We only realize it when suddenly that comfort zone is yanked away. God desires us to be dependent on Him and not dependent on our comfort zones. Sometimes He forces us to come out of the shadows. He calls to us, “Arise…” He tells us to have courage because He is with us. He is all we need.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
What is your comfort zone? What do you hide behind? What keeps you from trusting the Lord alone in difficult situations? You may not even realize the shadows in which you hide until they are removed. If you suddenly find a shadow removed, do not panic. Be strong and of a good courage. God is enough.
I have been to some interesting funerals. I have been to funerals that were mere celebrations and memories of a treasured life. They were not celebrations because people were happy to see the person gone, but because as the attendees reflected on the life of the person, they realized just how blessed they were to have been touched by the deceased. They also had great confidence that the deceased was now in the presence of the Lord because the life and the testimony the deceased reflected true fruit of salvation.
Then there have been those other funerals. It seems that when a person dies, suddenly he or she becomes a great saintly hero no matter how terrible of a life they lived. I have been to funerals of people who were selfish, cruel, and wicked throughout life. People at those funerals behaved strangely. Instead of admitting the obvious, these people reach way back in the recesses of their memories to find some sweet or kind thought about the deceased. Sometimes they even lied. The kind sentiments said at these funerals is often the product of compassion for family members of the deceased.
Joshua 1:1 “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,”
Joshua was writing, and he remembered Moses after Moses died. He called Moses “the servant of the LORD.” What a wonderful thing for someone to say about another person! Was Joshua lying, though? Was he just being kind or compassionate?
Joshua 1:2 “ Moses my servant is dead…”
God, who never lies, said the same thing about Moses. He called him “my servant.” It is one thing to have people say something kind about you. It is even greater to have the Lord say something good about you.
There is one thing about what Joshua and God said about Moses that will be true about all of us one day.
Joshua: “… after the death of Moses…”
God: “Moses… is dead.”
One day, that will be said of us all. We will die. That is something we cannot avoid. The part that can be changed is what is said about us after death.
“Mom, my faithful friend, is dead”
“My wife, and dearest companion, is dead.”
“My co-worker, my greatest encourager, is dead.”
“My fellow church member, my dependable leader, teacher and example, is dead.”
When I die I want people to be able to be honest about me. I hope they can say good things about me when I am gone. I hope thoughts of me will bring them joy. I hope words like, faithful, honest, loving, and Godly flow off their lips from a clear conscience. Through Christ and His power, I can be those things.
More than the kind words of people, I hope that when my life is finished, my God will be able to say something good about me. The thought of these words motivate me greatly.
“Well done thou good and faithful servant…”
I am just blown away by God's creation of woman. I do not comprehend women who feel slighted or offended by the Biblical creation of woman and her purpose. Think about it...
I absolutely love being a woman! What gets in the way, though, is selfishness.
The past several months, I started something new to help me try to help my husband better. Some mornings I literally walk up to him and ask, "What can I do for you today to help you?" That small act of servanthood has revolutionized my role as a helper and in turn it has also helped strengthen my relationship with my husband. (Wish I had started this years ago!) He is always encouraged by me asking. Every time I ask, a tenderness washes over him in a wave. He knows I care.
This morning as I sat down to do my devotions, I went in with the mindset of, "Lord, help me serve my husband better." Then I read I Peter 3:7.
1 Peter 3:7 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."
Well, how am I supposed to serve my husband better when the verse is clearly talking about him serving me?!
Actually, if I know what tasks my husband is to do, it helps me help him! If I know he has to preach, having his clothes ironed for him helps. If I know he has to leave the house early, I know I need to make breakfast early. If I know he has a lot of physical labor scheduled for the day, I know I need to prepare food that will help him get the work done. So what are his tasks?
I must openly confess that I am an expert plant killer. I do not mean to be. It is actually a natural talent I have. I have purchased plants thinking I would add beauty to my home, only to find them dead within a month. I have had people purchase them for me for gifts, and I mercilessly execute them as well. When we lived in the States, I finally resigned myself to artificial plants. One day as I was passing one of my fake green lilies in my house, my oldest child saw one of the leaves fall off the plastic plant and onto the floor.
"Mom, you are even killing the fake ones!" I am thankful he recognized my superior skills of plant killing. Nothing is impervious to my vicious talent. Yes, the government should have hired me to cure the kudzu problem.
If I were a plant of some sort, I would want to be one that was thriving, not a dead one and certainly not a fake one.
Psalm 1:2-3 "But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
This tree is thriving, green, and lush. It did not become that way by accident. The tree is not a wild tree. It was planted! Our Christian lives are no different. Pursuing growth and striving to walk in the Spirit daily are intentional actions, not accidental ones. This planting also makes us stable. The location gives us a firm foundation because everything is conducive for us to have deep roots. God wants us to grow. He wants to plant us in specific places so that we will thrive and flourish with deep, strong, stable roots. What is the specific place He wants to plant us? According to this passage, He wants us planted in His Word and meditating on it day and night. That is how we become this tree. When we are planted in God's Word, our spiritual needs are supplied. We are planted by the rivers of water. Everything we need for our Christian growth is right there for us.
When we are well-established, we will become fruitful. A tree that produces is a valuable tree that blesses those around it. This tree only produces in his season, though. That tells me that patience is needed. This patient, but thriving, tree doesn't wither. It has endurance. Ultimately, this tree is successful in every one of his tasks. Everything the tree does prospers because he is planted in the right place, drinking from the right source.
All this because he delights in God's Word, and consistently stays in the Word.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
Get in the Word. Delight in the Word. Intentionally focus on God's Word throughout the day. Then you will be a tree even I cannot kill.