Our Life on Christ

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My 1-Year-Old Taught Me a Bible Lesson

My one-year-old daughter, Serenity, loves, loves, loves fruits and vegetables. Every night before bed, she eats some pineapple tidbits, takes a few bites out of a peach, or chomps down on a strawberry. A few nights ago, she fancied grapes. When she had had her fill and I went to maneuver the plastic container back into its position on the refrigerator shelf, the top popped off and a few grapes fell on the floor. Of course, Serenity’s eyes lit up and, thinking this was her second serving, she reached for them. Just before her little hands could scoop them up, I grabbed her. “No, Serenity. Yucky,” I scrunched up my face trying to get the message across. I don’t think she cared. She reached again.

Instead of picking up the dirty grapes and tossing them, I whisked Serenity off to her room to get her ready for bed. After the take-a-bath-put-on-lotion-brush-the-hair-get-pajamas-on process, throwing the grapes away were a long way from my “do before sleeping” list so on the kitchen floor is where they stayed all night.

The next morning I got up at 7 AM and began my everyday routine, which doesn’t include immediately eating breakfast. I know, I know: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t worry, I get it in—I just like to get the stuff done that is nearly impossible to do while the kids are awake. So, needless to say, I did not go into the kitchen and see the germ-infested grapes still lying on the floor. I was really in a groove-- reading my Bible, returning emails, looking up numbers to schedule appointments later in the day, posting items on Craigslist—I haven’t felt so productive in a while. Cue Serenity.

“Mommy!” she half cried, half yelled.

I paused, my fingers frozen on the keyboard. It’s like we think if we don’t move they will go back to sleep or something!

“Mommy!” again came ringing from her room. My fun was over, the real day was beginning.

I picked her up and brought her into the kitchen. I put her down so I could make her a cup of milk. I had my back to her as I was pouring but when I screwed her sippy-cup lid on and turned to give it to her, I saw that she was holding two grapes--one in each hand. It seemed like the next few seconds were in slow motion:

She opened her mouth. Her right hand, which was cupping what had to be the biggest grape in the bunch, was moving millimeter by millimeter towards her little lips. She opened her mouth wider. “Noooo, Serrrrennnittty….” I yelled as I put the milk down and swatted both grapes out of her hands. She looked at me as if to say, “What’s wrong with you?! I was going to eat those!”

She picked both grapes back up.

I motioned for her to give them to me. Holding out my hand I said, “Give me the grapes, Serenity.”
She held them close and shook her head.

“Serenity,” I said more firmly as I motioned my hand closer to her (I think I even stomped my foot!), “give me the grapes. Now.”

She persisted. She refused.

“Serenity, if you give me your grapes, I’ll give a whole bowl of grapes.”

She kicked her feet on the ground, folded her arms across her body, and grunted, “No!”

I opened the fridge, got out the same container from the night before and shook it. I was hoping that the sound of the grapes hitting the plastic would entice her to the point that she would hand over her treasure. It worked. She gave me her two dirty grapes, I put them in the garbage can, and proceeded to pour grapes into her favorite bowl as she looked on in anticipation. She munched down while I reflected on what just happened and thanked God for the valuable lesson He taught me.

“A lesson from God found in a fight over two dusty grapes?” you ask. Yes!

My one-year-old daughter and her desire for the small, purplish-red fruit is analogous to our earthly desires, be it money (the main one), happiness, peace, or possessions. She had something that she could touch, see, and, if it weren’t for my super-human speed, was about to taste. She couldn’t depend on the grapes I was promising her because what if I never gave them to her?

I, in this mini-drama, was like God: I knew what I had for Serenity; I just needed her to trust me and give me what I was asking of her.

Here is the lesson sent straight from God through my one-year-old (if you read nothing else, read this): Trust me, I’m going to take care of you! I have things planned that your brain cannot understand or fathom! Just believe.

In life, I feel like we get so wrapped in all the things we have going on and all the things we want to have going on that we forget about God; we forget all that He has done for us and we lose faith in Him. We fail to put our complete trust in Him even though we fool ourselves into believing we are giving Him our all—it’s really just lip service.

We prefer to walk by sight as opposed to walking by faith—it feels easier. We, like Thomas in the Gospel of John, want proof of what God is doing (John 20:24 – 29). I suppose it’s our nature but we have to fight that. We have to just trust Him without necessarily seeing the signs that He’s working on our behalf. We fight with Him to hold on to the little things that we have because we can see and touch them; we don’t want to let go of our “dirty grapes” and fully trust in something which is, from our human perspective, totally unknown.

We all have stories when our worlds were seemingly ruined and everything “just worked out.” That’s God. He always provides. We just need to believe, have faith, and trust in Him. All that we have is not from our own doing, anyway: our bodies perform an innumerable amount of crazy functions everyday to allow us to continue to be alive, we have shelter, we eat everyday, we are safe...I could go on.

I just thought of a story in Mark and I don’t know where else to put it so I’ll tell you about it before I wrap this up: Jesus was in his home town and could not perform any miracles, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them because people lacked faith in Him (Mark 6:5 – 6). Sometimes when we don’t feel happy with life, I think it’s because we are fighting God and not fully trusting him and, therefore, not even allowing Him to work in and through us.

Even though my little Serenity's tantrums can be irritating, this one was purposeful; God used it to teach me something. Please hear me, men, women, boys, and girls: let go of whatever it is that you are holding on to because God has something better in store for you!

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