Today I was thinking about one of the things I do every week in our home. On Wednesdays Travis is gone most of the day and is working all night. It's a long day for all of us, but we all go to Church at night and the kids go to Awana programs while I join Trav in student ministry. In the afternoon, while Carter is sleeping or sometimes after both kids have napped, I spend some time with Ava reading her Cubbies lesson and helping her memorize her verse for the evening. We get to spend some sweet time reading the scripture passage together and then the little lesson that is written in her book. Last year I have to say, it wasn't my favorite time. Although I wanted it to be, she was semi-interested and getting her to focus was tough. Really, I think she was just young and most of it was a little over her head. But I did it and tried to weave it in somehow so it interested her. It certainly wasn't something I regretted, but I can't say I always looked forward to Wednesdays! The silver lining however was that the Lord gave her a teacher that literally made Ava's heart skip a beat. She LOVED Miss Ashley and I'm very certain her sole motivation for going was to see her every week. And at 3.5, I was ok with that. I definitely want Church to be fun for her and it's a huge blessing when you see another teacher love your kids.
Well what a difference a year makes! I wasn't sure if Ava would get to be with Miss Ashley again and I prepped her all summer for that possibility. As it turned out, she wasn't in her class this year and I was a little worried on the first night that she might not want to go without her. Thankfully, I was wrong! This has been such a different experience already and I can see a great change in Ava.
She loves going to Cubbies and seeing her friends every week. She is very interested in her little lesson each week and likes to tell me all about her class and what her teachers talked about. She can recount what she learned about Jesus with great detail and her Daddy and I LOVE to hear it.
Also, it's very clear that the Awana people have re-written the Cubbies book and updated it for a new generation. I love the way they've laid it out and I can see how much Ava is gleaning from it. Actually Carter too, he loves to listen to the story while I read it. Some of my favorite Wednesday afternoons have been spent with both kids on my lap and the Cubbies book between us. Who knew?
We have noticed how much she is processing all that she is learning at home, in preschool, and at Church on Sundays and Wednesdays. She's full of questions these days and often can be heard giving Carter a great Gospel presentation. Ha!
Her only struggle?
In theory, she likes it and she's proud of the patches she earns. But wearing it?? That's a different story. She doesn't care for the way it interferes with her outfit. Seriously. She's something else!
I love these Wednesdays together and I love that we get to share this time, talking about Jesus and answering her questions. It is so amazing to me what kids can grasp and how truly moving a childlike faith is. She's in that really cute stage where she likes to string together things she's learning or hearing us say, sometimes drawing her own conclusions even. It cracks us up because she's often way off, but her little heart is sincere and of course she doesn't understand. For instance, she recently told Carter that Daddy is strong like God is and that he's always with her (Travis, not God, ha!) So sweet. Carter chimed in with a whopper too, "And Daddy died on the cross for my sin!" Whoops!!! Had to correct some theology there! ha!!
I love her heart and I pray that she will always seek out truth and chase hard after the Lord. Sometimes it hits me what a high calling this parenting thing is. These afternoons matter and whether they catch the magnitude of the truth they are hearing or not, seeds are being planted that I know the Lord will be faithful to grow in her, in them.
And of course Ava isn't the only one who gets to go to a special class on Wednesdays! Carter is in Puggles this year, which also cracks us up. It's sort of a pre-cursor to Cubbies and it's totally adorable. He got this great shirt to wear and wear it he does!
He's kind of in the "over his head" years but that doesn't matter. He hears about Jesus all the time and is processing more than we know. They learn lessons every week about God and they learn the pledge of allegiance too, ha! Right now they are talking about creation and if he's in a particularly good mood, I might get some details out of him later!
He is a kid who keeps us laughing and humbles us. I think he'll give us a PK's run for our money! In the car last night, Ava was giving him her best Gospel talk, telling him how much God loved him and that Jesus died for him and will take him to Heaven someday too. She asked him in her most sincere voice, "Don't you want to go to Heaven someday Carter and be with Jesus?"
He was in quite the mood and told her point blank, "No I don't want to go there."
Oh boy!!! Ava was not taking that sitting down so she shot back with, "Oh Carter that makes God and Jesus' heart so sad!"
I was so entertained in the front seat but I intervened and managed to turn the conversation back to a healthier approach for all :)
Oh how Jesus does love our little Puggle and our little Cubbie too! It is sobering and weighty to know that ultimately we can't make our kids choose to believe in Jesus. That will be a decision they have to make on their own but you can bet we will be praying toward that end and doing everything we can to give them a beautiful view of their Savior, the one who welcomes little children and longs for them to choose Him too.
Wednesdays are an adventure in our family! Sometimes they go well and our kids love Church and tell us everything we want to hear.
Other nights we're all operating under God's grace and their Mom has them slurping applesauce off of a paper plate on the floor of the Church, for dinner. It was not my best night people. Did I mention their Dad is gone all day and night???
Sometimes I get so caught up in making our home a beautiful place, a shelter from a cold world and a place for us to rest. It's a worthy goal for the love of our family, but I never want to forget that our home is the primary place where these little blessings from God will hear truth and see their Dad and I in action. We can't hide our flaws from them or say one thing in public and then act differently at home without them noticing. It all gets fleshed out here and they get a front row seat! I've decided that like marriage, children are God's way of sanctifying us daily and our home is the place where they learn the most. I'm not sure about you, but I've never been more thankful for God's grace here as I rest in His ability to work in their hearts despite their flawed and sinful parents. I've been pondering how to view my home through this lens more often. I want to aim for more than just a cute room or a cozy place to gather. I want Jesus to be pre-eminant here, our greatest priority and the One we look to daily.
I'm a work in progress and so is our home, but tonight I'm thankful for His grace in that too!