I stooped to a new level of parenting today. Threatening with fear. I hear it works. Supposedly POW camps and football coaches use it quite effectively. Awesome. Not the role models I was seeking to mimic. You see, my beloved four year old refuses to eat his meals-in one sitting. Really, without ever sitting. We begin the meal time (that’s three times every single day, seven days a week, for those that are counting) with high hopes. Proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, all accounted for on one plate. Smiles abound. And then, anywhere from 4 seconds to 4 minutes into what used to be my favorite time of every day, my life size dietary dictator proclaims, “I have to go to the bathroom, I forgot something upstairs, my stomach hurts, I need my truck, let me get another fork, a spoon, watch the air move, turn off the light, dim the light, open the shades, wash my hands, brush my hair, do your taxes,” you get the point.
Really, I think I’ve heard it all. Meal times in our house are so special. I vacillate between loving health guide on the side and crazed lunatic waving forks and eggs over medium in front of the food chute on his head. I know my life span has been shortened by at least 2 years because of the meal time protests. Why won’t this kid eat?! Why doesn’t he see that I know what’s best for him? I have lovingly crafted these meals, thought about his best interest, and taken time to place this nourishment so conveniently in front of him every step of the way. I breast fed him for over a year (can I get a hallelujah), I made that organic pureed squash, sweet potatoes, melons, and such (preach it), and have vowed to be “patient” as meals drag on so long that one meal starts to bleed into the next time zone. For the love. Today, I gave up all reason.
“Grant! You have FIVE minutes and if you haven’t finished your sandwich by the time I lay your sister down (the 1 year old who dominated her lunch in less than 3 minutes), I’m going to let out the wild bears that live in the attic. They will likely try to eat you. They are crazy!” And then, I actually growled. Like, tried to make it so real and convincing I tried to “throw” my growl noise so it didn’t sound like it came from the nursery. I may have also scratched and clawed the wall. (Totally get it if you cancel your blog subscription). Insert terrified four year old eyes peering from behind the kitchen wall.
Award me the metal of parenting honor now, please! Actually, if you happen to be associated with CPS or one of my former educator friends, I know, I know, I know. I’m sorry. Really, I am. But sometimes, well, sometimes you just have no options left. I can see the middle school counseling office calling now.
And sometimes, as you rock your sweet Grace (oh, the irony is thick folks) you wait for further argument from said traumatized four year old and the silence offers a new perspective. God is funny. It’s as if I heard him leaning down over that brown stuffed rocking chair gently reminding, “How’s that nourishment I provide you each day?” (Jesus drops mic and exits stage left). Insert foot in mouth. Who let the bears out? Me.
Most of my very well reasoned arguments for not taking in my spiritual nourishment each day throughout my life sound something like this:
“I am so tired, Lord. It’s honestly like I cannot open my eyes.”
“Give me a few more minutes on Facebook (so life-giving) and I will do my devotion.”
“I need to take a quick shower, have my girlfriends time, and my quality time (you know it’s my love language ) with my husband!”
“Why am I so tired drained and short with my people? Oh….”
“I don’t even know where to begin? Flip to….the middle? Sounds good!”
Truth bombs sinking in…terrified Mother peering upward and sighing. Yes, Lord, I hear you.
I haven’t always had a burning desire to be in His word. In fact, until recently, the above themes have been more common than not, I am sad to admit. I don’t know if you are like me, but the tone of my day is set within the first few moments of my eyes opening to morning light or children screaming about potty and breakfast. Sometimes, I am even so impacted by my dreams, the tones of those dreams spew over onto my conscious thoughts and actions. What a hopelessly vulnerable way to start the day! Before I get breakfast on the table, myself or maybe even my husband out the door, the trajectory of the day can already be spiraling out of whack. And we know where life is headed once meal time begins.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
Does that strike to your core as it does mine? Be awake, aware, and thoughtfully cautious. There is an enemy prowling like a lion (or bear in the attic) looking for someone to destroy, destruct, or as dictionary.com says, “to take in greedily with the senses or intellect.” A lot of days I think that enemy is in my own head. My perceptions on the world, my insecurities shading truths and light from coming in, my inabilities to be strong in difficult situations, even my lack of patience and Grace with a certain four year old. But what would happen if I took five minutes to nourish myself before the lions and bears devoured my soul? What if those minutes were the first 5 minutes of every single day. The first genesis thoughts filled with truth and light and lasting nourishment? What if I obeyed the Lord’s calling to know Him and be in relationship?
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. -Psalm 63:5 (NIV)
If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work? My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off.… -(Proverbs 24:12-14)
Wisdom from the Word is nourishing for our souls. It is rich like honey in sweetness and goodness. Do you know how bees make honey so sweet and digestible? I didn’t until I was recently at a speaker/writer conference, ‘She Speaks 2015.‘ One of the speakers relayed what her dear friend, a bee keeper has learned over the years. It is critical that bees are up first thing in the morning, in the light and drinking nectar from the sweetest flowers, the clover patches. The bees instinctively know they must be up early and in the sun to receive their nourishment. As I poked around google, I found the importance of the bees drinking the nectar and then ingesting it for a time. To really gain the benefits and make the nourishment sweet, they must regurgitate the material and then ingest again. It’s a process to become sweet and it must occur early. I think we can learn a few things from these Bees.
As Karen Ehmen spoke in her session at She Speaks, “If we want to be sweet and gracious with our words and reactions (especially to our tenderhearted four year olds) we must be up FIRST thing in the morning with THE Son.” Wow. Hasn’t the Lord been whispering that to me for years? To receive nourishment I need, so I can be ready to take on my days, conversations, the enemies in my head, and even the meal time fiasco, I need to be armed and ready with my sweet wisdom. I only can get this from being with Him.
Proverbs 31 Ministries has responded to the desires of many hearts and prayers and excuses (see mine above)! The First 5 App was created and launched (this week!) to give an avenue for getting in His word before we start speaking our own. I deeply crave the sweetness that He promises when we invest and regurgitate and ingest His wisdom day after day. I know some small tender people and big ones that live pretty close to me that would benefit from the sweetness as well.
Can you see this working in your life? What would happen if we took the genesis moments of our days and started with rich, life giving, sweet words? How would this change the trajectory of your days? I know I could use a little less BEAR in my house. Turns out that bear really has been me. I guess this bear does need some honey!
If bees and children need their nourishment, I think I can finally out reason my arguments (excuses). I’ve started my First 5 journey this week. Will you join me?
Download the APP here: http://first5.org/