When becoming a parent no one tells you that there will be a day when the lesson you go to instill in your child will come back glaring at you in the face. In that moment will you choose to be the parent who follows what they preach to their child or will you make a simple parenting excuse. I didn’t realize I needed to work on the part of our mission statement that says “speak truthfully” but of course that’s part of who God is. He draws you nearer to him as we teach others how to follow His word. He reminds us that there is still a way of living beyond reproach, and gently nudges us to give up more of us to be filled with more of Him.
On July 4th, from the moment that Liam woke he wanted nothing more than to go swimming at the pool. We had plans to hang out with friends in the evening but nothing major going on through our day so I quickly responded, “Yes, bud we can go to the pool.” Unfortunately, I hadn’t really thought this through. I said yes to going to the pool before realizing that I needed to clean up from our weekend of play, make buffalo dip to bring to our get together, oh and it would be helpful if I went to the store to have ingredients to make said buffalo dip. I still felt that all of these things were possible, but as the cleaning began and the time on the clock continued to tick away it became clear that our window for swimming was narrowing. Ben went to the store for me and when he arrived home with bags of groceries I whipped together food and packed all four of us for the pool. We get to the pool at 3:45 to discover that the pool closes at 4:00pm on the holiday; 15 minutes of swim time for us and we would need to pay full price. Oh, and I would need to wake up my sleeping Liam who had fallen asleep on the drive over.
I was caught in one of those parenting live or die moments. Do I tell the truth to Liam that I messed up and we can only swim for 15 minutes and still go, or do I shake it off and say, “Sorry Liam you fell asleep on the way there. The pool is closed; sorry we can go next time.” I thought of his face of anticipation and excitement at his new swim rash guard he picked out on the grocery trip with Ben and I thought of the one thing Liam counts on more than anything to be true: when we say yes we mean yes, when we say no we mean no. He knows it too, well enough to tell me- “let your yes be yes and let your no be no.” I gently touched his arm and woke him up, “Hey sweetie you fell asleep, but it’s time to go swimming now.” He flashed his biggest smile at the pool gate as I paid the $3 for 13 minutes of swim time and gulped back my distaste for not checking the pool schedule earlier in the day.
As we made it into the water God started talking to me, “I want you to write about this moment.” Hold on, I don’t want to write about this, I messed up. I got my sweet boy ready for the pool, promised him swim time and almost considered not following through…this is not the moment of time would choose to write about. But God kept asking me to reconsider, to take a moment and reflect on His words. I thought about it some more and threw my head back in grateful laughter. He gets me all the time. Fine tuning me when I need it most.
It’s in the small moments of daily life where we are caught in the tension of living as the people we say we are, or in taking the easy way out. This moment may seem really small to you, but for me God re-solidified that His simple words, His simple lessons are HUGE! See if I can’t follow through with my “yes” to my toddler about going to the pool, how will I ever follow through on my “yes” to God. See my yes to Liam only cost me $3 and a little parenting pride…. My yes to God can cost me my life. My yes to God means that I lay down my own desire to be filled with His, that I take time from my schedule to do the things He wants me to do, to serve where He wants me to serve. It may not always be convenient and it may cost you something, but having your yes be yes and your no be no is not a small thing to our God. Even though He is the God of the Universe, God of the Angel Armies—he cares about your word. He cares that you keep it. Before you get worried that I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, check out the book of Matthew—he talks about it too. “All you need to say is simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” This same lesson is brought up again in James 5:12.
So God is funny, and in my small moment unrolled a lesson for Flip night the following weekend, and now this blog post too—see He wants to be intimately involved in your life in the kind of way that we remember these small moments with Him and we do something about them! I encourage you to talk to your kids about what it mean to keep your word, to keep it at a simple yes and simple no. Be honest with them, that sometimes we mess it up too and have to be taught again. But more boldly, let your heart answer the simple “yes” of God to tell your embarrassing moment so that someone else may learn something HUGE for His glory.
Flip 180 Tween Pastor