My kids are friendlier than me. They like people more than I do. This has never been more evident to me than this past May when we flew down south to see my brother graduate high school.
My oldest (11) walked up to a man in a Marine Corps hat, stuck out his hand like a man, and said “Thank you for your service sir.” He proceeded to strike up a conversation that lasted for 35 minutes.
My youngest (2) waved and said “hi” to every, single person that we passed in the airport and on the plane. The girl loves jewelry so she walked up to any woman with a necklace or bracelet and says, “I like you necklace. Can I touch it?” Like Will Rogers, she never met a man [or woman] she didn’t like.
My second child (9) went to charge his tablet on our short lay over. He sat himself beside a young woman with a baby and evidently, they swapped life stories, and he held her baby so she could arrange her luggage. She stops me before we get on our flight and says, “Ma’am, I just wanted you to know that your son is delightful. He is so kind, friendly, and helpful. He told me he wants to be a part time preacher and a teacher. I believe he will do it and big things will happen for him. You must be so proud. You’re doing a good job.”
I am proud. I am. So proud. But, part of me was a little ashamed. See, they take after their dad. He’s a church planter. He’s outgoing, he loves people. He gets people. He connects with people. Me on the other hand, I’m introverted. I’m also very type A. So when they are chatting it up, I’m counting heads, keeping an eye on bags and tablets, checking gates, flights, times, etc. I’m a behind the scenes, get it done, and keep things running kind of gal.
Listening to God
I was thinking on this on the last leg of our journey and praying about it. Asking God, “Am I failing somewhere? Should it have been me making better connections with people?” The Lord brought to my mind the feeding of the five thousand so I read all accounts on the last plane. The story is found in all gopsels, Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-15. If you have never read this scripture or it’s been a while, click on any of the links and give it a quick read. So, you may be thinking, that’s weird, what does Jesus miraculously multiplying food have to do with her and her kids interacting with people? Stick with me and hopefully I explain well enough to bring ya full circle.
We once had an associate pastor at our church in TN and he would fill in the gaps of a bible story from what he called his “sanctified imagination”. That’s what I’m going to do here. No blasphemy, I promise, just an idea of how some of the people may have felt.
Here is how I picture the momma of the boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes: She has about 4 or 5 kiddos. They heard Jesus was passing through. Her family serves the One True God and from what they’ve heard, this could be the Messiah. Things are crazy this morning. She is getting everyone breakfast, cleaning up after them, packing their lunches, making sure everyone is dressed and mouths wiped and then they are out the door.
They get there and this Jesus, so full of compassion, has everyone captivated. They munch on their lunch but this momma, between trying to count heads, keep kids quiet, and listening to Jesus, didn’t make sure everyone ate lunch. It grows late and they are still there.
Then, Mom realizes that her youngest son’s lunch is still there untouched and he’s no where to be found. She silently scolds herself for not making sure he ate and frantically scans the area to see his little red cap. Finally, she spots him, calls to him and he runs up only long enough to give her a gapped tooth smile, grab his lunch and hurry away again. Mom shakes her head, smiles, and thanks God for such a happy go lucky boy.
She sits down to nurse the baby and then she sees it. It’s too late, he’s speaking with one of Jesus’ disciples and then before she can mouth a protest, he’s been taken straight to the Messiah himself. What does she do, what does she say, is all well? He’s a boy, gets in a little trouble but mostly loves talking to people. So, she watches and waits. Suddenly here comes her boy with a grin on his face from ear to ear. “Momma, Momma, guess what? I shared my lunch with Jesus and his followers and he has blessed it. He said God will multiply our gift.”
What in the world? And then she sees it, the simple lunch that she quickly but lovingly packed for her youngest son has become a meal for thousands. Her heart is blessed, what a lesson she has learned from her young son. What a blessing they have all received from God to witness such a miracle from His hand through His Son.
Bringing it Full Fircle
Most everything our young children do to communicate and empathize with others is what they have learned from us!! I whole heartedly feel that the little boys heart to share and Christ’s willingness to bless and use their gift is because his parents loved and trusted the Lord and taught the scriptures at home.
This is the message God spoke to my heart from this story as I read it on my last leg of our flight. “Your faithfulness to love them in my name and teach them my scriptures is what motivates them to love on others. You fill them up and they pour into others. I fill you up to pour into them. You are fulfilling your purpose as a mother!”
You Momma, may not struggle with the same things as me but I’m sure you’ve had doubts as you feel parenting littles, and sometimes bigs, takes so much of your time. But God knows your heart, and He honors your work!
Susanna Wesley is known as the “Mother of Methodism”. She did not preach sermons, lead a church, write curriculum, or speak at women’s conferences. What she did do was have nineteen children (ten made it to adult hood) and raise them to know the Lord. Her husband was busy and rarely home so it’s doubtful that she did much outside the home. However, her legacy is children who worked for the Lord, namely Charles and John Wesley. Charles wrote many hymns and John Wesley is widely known for evangelism and as being a great missionary to America. She is quoted as saying, “I am content to fill a little space if God be glorified.”
Let this be our heart cry too, I am satisfied to be in the background, in the shadows, quietly tending to my family, as long as He receives the glory!!