"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
October 12, 2011
There's a kid's song most of us have heard: "Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
In Mark 10:13-16 we read: "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them."
I can picture Jesus kneeling down and a group of snotty-nosed, ragtag, dirty, ornery, innocent, little boys and girls surrounding Him. Kids love having adult attention, so I can see them all pressing in to get as close to Him as possible. I can imagine Jesus lifting a shy little girl up onto His knee and her ducking her head against His chest, and reaching His other arm out to hug an ornery little orphan boy who had never felt the hug from a daddy. Perhaps He had to break up an argument between two rambunctious brothers and put an arm around each of them. There may have been a little girl who had tumbled in the dirt and got a boo-boo on her knee, and Jesus kissed the hurt away. Someway, somehow, each of those children left that day after having been touched and blessed by Jesus. They left knowing that they were loved. I'm sure that was a day that none of them ever forgot and something they later told their own kids and grandkids about.
His disciples saw the people bringing the children to Jesus and began rebuking them. Perhaps they thought that Jesus was too busy ministering and didn't have time to be bothered by a bunch of rowdy kids. They may have felt like there were greater needs present when they looked around and saw all the sick in need of healing. Or they may have thought that the real reason most of the people had come was to hear Jesus teach, and were irritated when they saw some had brought kids with them for Jesus to bless. Whatever their thinking and reason for reacting as they did, Jesus didn't like it when He heard them rebuking the people for bringing their kids to Him. In fact the scripture says that Jesus became indignant. He said, "Let the little children come to Me," and He took the time to take them in His arms and put His hands on them and bless them.
Kids can be outspoken and say whatever's on their mind, so no telling what they were telling Jesus that day as He talked with them. There may have been some blushing parents who were a bit embarrassed by the words or actions of their child that day. But I believe that Jesus laughed and enjoyed every moment of His time spent with those little ones. Years later, I can hear those same parents telling their now-grown child, "I remember that day we took you to see Jesus and you said..... or you did.... I was so embarrassed! But Jesus just laughed and thought you were cute."
Kids can be a handful, messy, dirty, stinky, stubborn, cute, loveable and adorable; but they are also funny. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of times other people think kids are funnier, when they say and do embarrassing things or act up, than their own parents do. I hear humorous stories of things my nieces and nephews (rather, great-nieces and great-nephews) say or do, or they say things to me, and it cracks me up. But oftentimes, mom and dad aren't quite as thrilled or laughing. Down the road, it will be those same incidents that they will repeat and find humor in it.
A couple weeks ago, Jon and I visited a church that is connected to a deaf church that my sister and brother-in-law pastor, so afterwards we went over to their church to say hi. One of the little girls, around age 9, came running up and was excited to see me. I told her that she looked pretty; to which she replied, "I know!", then she smiled real big and ran off. Jon and I thought it was funny. Later I told her mom and her response was, "Oh no! I hope my mom doesn't find out because she has a story just like that about me, when I was a kid!"
My great-niece is 3 1/2 and her parents have talked to her about the dangers of talking to or going with strangers or letting them touch her. She has some of the basics down, but not the full knowledge or tact. She and her mom will be in the grocery store or somewhere shopping and a stranger will walk by and very loudly, Abigail will start saying, "Stranger danger, stranger danger!!" And like most kids, she will need to use the restroom anytime they're out and about and will tell her mom, not caring who hears her. Then while she's in the bathroom taking care of business she will start singing really loud, "I'm pooping, I'm pooping!" The rest of us find these stories funny, but her mom finds it a bit embarrassing!
Recently, my niece, Janee', and her son, Jax, were in Walmart. She only needed a couple of items, so didn't get a cart; which was a big mistake! They were walking to the checkout counter when Jax got away from her and started running across the store as fast as his little legs would go. She had her hands full and knew she wouldn't be able to catch him, so had to set her stuff down on the floor and take off chasing him. He ran clear to the other side of the store to the garden department before she finally got him. People would see her running after him and say, "Catch him!" An older couple stopped and looked like they didn't know whether to stop him as he was running towards them or let him go. They were probably trying to decide if Janee' would get mad at them for touching her son and grabbing onto him, and they opted to let him go on by. Janee' was thinking, "Just catch him and hold onto him!" Jax thought it was funny and it was a game having mom chase him. She was so embarrassed to have everyone watching her run clear from one side of the store to the other trying to catch her 2-year old. But again, it's one of those stories that she will laugh about later.
There are those moments when kids can be frustrating and tiring, but then they'll say or do something that melts your heart. Hearing them say, "I love you," or feel their little arms giving you a hug, or have them give you a kiss can make your day. Having those big eyes looking up at you with such innocence can wrap you around their little finger. Oh how we need to enjoy and cherish each of those special moments.
Jon and I enjoy watching a TV show entitled "The Middle". It's about a middle-class family that live in the suburbs in Iowa (or someplace like that). They have 3 kids: the oldest son is the typical teenage boy who plays basketball and thinks he has to do everything because he's the oldest; the middle daughter is one of those kids who wants to excel at something so badly and is always trying out for something, but is really awkward and dorky; the youngest son has his nose in a book all the time and talks to himself. The mom works full-time as a car salesman and the dad works in construction, and they struggle to make ends meet. In this particular episode, no one was helping the mom out around the house and wanted her to do everything for them, and she finally had a melt down and left to go stay with her mom for a couple days. Before leaving, she told the kids that big changes needed to be made and they needed to figure out what that meant. The whole time she was gone, the kids and dad really couldn't figure out why she had gotten so mad or what she meant by them making some changes. The kids started blaming each other for making her angry, then tried to come up with a plan on what changes she was talking about and what they needed to do differently. They decided that perhaps they could start picking up their dirty clothes, empty or fill the dishwasher when asked, and came up with a few things around the house they could do to help her out. Sounds like a great plan! Then one of them says, "But what if this isn't what mom meant and we do all that work and she doesn't want us to, then that makes her mad again?" So they decided to do nothing. Meanwhile, her own mother tells her that she used to love the smell of her neck when she was little and she missed those times when she could sit and hold her and smell her neck. She told her that all mothers have those days when they'd like to run away, but the day would come when the kids would grow up and leave home and she miss this time with them. The dad finally had enough, so left to go pick the mom up and bring her home. He called the kids to say they're on their way home and they paniced, realizing they should have done something. So they hurriedly cleaned house, and when they saw things and don't know what to do with them, they tossed them out the back door. Mom came home and was pleasantly surprised to see the house clean and the kids all standing there beaming. The show ended with the mom standing in a dirty kitchen beside her youngest son, who had his nose stuck in a book and was oblivious to anything around him. She leaned over and put her nose to his neck, rolled her eyes, and said, "Your grandma tells me that some day I'm going to look back and miss smelling the back of your neck!"
Whether it's your own children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren; take time to enjoy the time you have with them and make memories. Cherish each moment with all those you love. Making memories with our family and friends and enjoying those special moments we share together is one of life's greatest blessings.
The lyrics to a song written many years ago by Bill and Gloria Gaither sums it all up best:
We Have This Moment Today
Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Hold my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making memories of what was today.
(Chorus): We have this moment to hold in our hands
and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.
Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling,
For Daddy to hear just what she has to say;
And my little son running there by the hillside,
May never be quite like today.
Tender words, gentle touch and a good cup of coffee,
And someone who loves me and wants me to stay;
Hold them near while we're here and don't wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today.
As Loretta said, it sometimes takes an outsider to appreciate the humor of a situation. We can get too familiar with our own situations, and not notice the best parts of it.
This weekend, some of the trees around town have started to turn to fall colors. They are very pretty--from a distance. When we look too closely, they are more of a mix of dingy brown and pale green.
Sometimes we have to back away, and look at things from a different perspective to see the beauty.
1 pkg. white chocolate instant pudding (small size)
4-5 apples, peeled and diced
1 large Cool Whip
1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits, with juice
1 banana, sliced
1 cup marshmallows
nuts - optional
Add dry pudding and Cool Whip together and blend. Add remaining ingredients and fold together. Refrigerate.
This is a very easy and good fruit salad. But there are different variations you can do: Recently, my sister added in strawberry instant pudding instead of white chocolate. I was making it and didn't have a banana, but had a small can of mandarin oranges so added that instead. Also, I found a Season's Delight (thinking that will just be a seasonal item) Cool Whip that was French Vanilla flavor so used that instead of regular Cool Whip, and that was really good. I believe there is also a Season's Delight cinnamon flavored Cool Whip, which would also be good in this. That's one of the fun things about cooking; as long as you keep the basics of the recipes, you can experiment and try new things and come up with some pretty tasty alternatives -- and sometimes a few that aren't quite as tasty!
Perhaps adults need to lose their inhibitions occasionally and get down in the dirt and play, or giggle uncontrollably, or watch a cartoon wearing their pajamas....;
to be carefree and not worry about what other people may think and just have fun.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon