In his absence, my parents ventured north to help me around the home. Thank you thank you thank you...
My parents each have a specific set of skills and I know that. So I made lists. Mom and I went grocery shopping, and she assumed the role of "Laundry Fairy." My dad's list consisted of fix-it type stuff that needed to be done that we just never get around to doing. That and gardening.
"You still have a rabbit?" His question referred to the rabbit residing in our backyard our first year here. The animal was huge and destructive. And impossible to intimidate. It was because of this rabbit that I started planting marigolds. Even after the rabbit disappeared marigolds have kept their vigil and rabbits have kept away from my garden.
This past weekend, as I put my garden in the ground, sowing seeds and plants into the black earth, the marigolds stood small sentries.
Then I thought of my children.
Little sprouts growing, bearing fruit.
It is enough to scare the daylights out of me. Because I'm not guarding them against ravenous rabbits, but a lion seeking someone to devour.
And Christ's admonition falls heavy on my shoulders, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them..."
If Christ was talking about simple Sunday school and church, I could rest easy. Check and check. Enroll them in VBS... Check. After-school church programs... Check.
But something tells me that Christ is talking the walk.
And I am easily convinced that if anyone is hindering their walk with Christ, it's me.
Casting stones and careless words. Is that really giving my children Jesus?
Not to mention a world ravaged by wars, strife, struggle. Abroad. Domestic. Human beings are capable of such atrocities and I am one and the same. What can my feeble efforts do to stop the world from breaking my young ones to bits?
I drown in thoughts, reaching toward scriptures until I surface. I am buoyed by one in particular:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
At one time I hastened through this verse, summarizing "just think about the happy things," as though pixie dust and happy thoughts would carry me over cares.
But that's not what it says. Focus on what is true. I list the truths, deliberately. The Truth illuminates the dark dread. The Beauty of Christ is the antidote to the fear poison.
I can worry myself sick. Fears consume in ways no "happy thoughts" can battle. But when I focus on what is true, just, pure, lovely, commendable... I am reminded of God. Of His love, power, mercy, providence. It has never depended on me. That was never the point. All along I was only to plant the marigolds and trust the Maker.
Plant marigolds. Build fences. Resist the fear that would compel us to smother our sprouts "for their own protection."
Instead, trust the Only One who has overcome the world. The One who began this good work in us in the first place, and Who promises to bring it to completion.
Where His truth reigns, there reigns peace. Where His wisdom prevails, there prevails peace. Where His peace permeates, the world cannot overcome.
And it is in His peace that the big kids and little children of the world encounter Christ.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.