“But now, O Lord, You are our Father;
we are the clay, and You our potter; and
all we are the work of Your hand.”
Isaiah 64:8I try to remind myself all the time that I am the clay, He is the potter. That He is molding me into who He wants me to be, and that sometimes (okay, most times) this molding process is uncomfortable at best.
I don't often think about that when I'm raising up my kids.
We are prehistoric when it comes to electronics around here. I'm thrilled that my newest phone has a full keyboard to text on and can store 30 pictures at a time!! I just bought my first computer, a laptop, a year ago. We have one TV in the house and no cable or satellite. My kids are not allowed to play with our phones or on the computer without supervision and they share one handheld gaming system: The leapster explorer.
All of this is fabulous, and we are quite content. I do envy the ADORABLE Iphone cases and hundreds of photos it can store and the new ipods are pretty nifty, it's true. I'm sure one of these days we'll manage to snag an Iphone, but for now, our phones and cameras work just fine, and our first and only ipod still plays nicely. We feel very blessed. And when we compare ourselves with the majority of the WORLD, we ARE. We are rich beyond so many people's wildest dreams. One problem is that we often find ourselves comparing to our immediate surrounding society. Our friends, family and neighbors who are also blessed beyond most people. And sometimes when we compare to those who have more (materialistically) than we do, we find ourselves feeling inadequate; wanting, lusting after what is not ours. And it's not just my husband and I, my children are starting to fall prey to envy also.
They are seeing so many other friends and families with such neat gadgets, Ipods, laptops, Ipads, TV's in their rooms, phones, etc. While all of this is great and so fun, it just has no place in our home right now. This is a hard lesson to teach our kids.
Today, Kaelyn came home from school begging (again) for an Ipad or and Ipod. To argue her case, she listed every child with whom she's ever come into contact that has one. She whined about how it's not fair and we gave her the standard "those are a lot of money and we just don't have it right now" answer.
But really, is that the truth? Is that the whole reason we keep these things to a minimum around here? Is that the reason I want to teach them that we don't have more and more? Sure I want them to learn to be thankful for what they have, but I also want to mold their little hearts and instill compassion into their souls. I started thinking about how God molds us and doesn't always give us what we want. I felt the nudge from above to sit down with Kaelyn and talk to her a little more about our family's reasons for simplicity.
I wasn't really expecting this to go very well, and I did feel it necessary to remind God of her age, but He prodded me onward and insisted that I give it a try. So I sat down with her on our couch and told her that Jesus ask those of us that love and follow Him to take care of others who do not have as much as we do. I told her that everything we have is a gift from Him and when we have extra money or time or things, we have a choice to make. We can use/spend it on ourselves or we can reach out to other people who might need some new clothes or some food to eat and try to help them. She nodded and her face softened and she said "Like that family by Grandma-mother's house that doesn't have any money or clothes that we sent a box to?"
My heart was completely overwhelmed that she was so understanding and relating what I was saying to what she'd recently experienced. I told her she was exactly right and that Daddy and Mommy try to save a little of our extra money to help other people who just don't have as much. So that while it is true that we don't have the money to buy ourselves an Ipad right now, if/when God blesses us with that abundance, we may not always use it to buy things for ourselves when there are so many other people that need so much more than we do.
She was smiling and content and said that she was glad that we did that. Then she told me that when I have extra yarn I should make a purse for a mommy who doesn't have one. I told her I would, definitely. And then Brandt, who had sat in for part of the conversation, said that he was going to make another pile of toys for other kids who don't have things to play with.
I walked away, feeling so grateful that they understood and were content, actually joyful, with our answers and reasons as a family. And then I heard my own Father speaking to my heart: "Molding clay. You are molding clay."
Thank you, Father, for the prodding and the wisdom. Thank you for my children's hearts, so young and pure. Please help me to continue to invest in them eternally and continue to convict us to serve others for You!