Monday, July 30, 2012

Teachable Moments

"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Yesterday we had a teachable life moment happen.   Only, I'm not entirely certain who was the recipient of the teaching.  *Smiles*

I was trying to get ahead on laundry over the weekend.  Usually, in a normal week, Abigail will come up to me and ask if I've washed something specific that she'd like to wear for dance, and nine out of ten times, I haven't gotten around to doing laundry yet.  Clever me, yesterday I thought I'd get her basket of laundry washed so they'd be ready to go.  So the laundry is done, her dance clothes are hanging on the line, drying, and they'll be ready when she asks for them on Monday.

And then Abigail goes to get ready for bed and asks where her laundry basket went.  I told her I washed her laundry and it was in the basement- only to discover that her basket had been holding clean clothes!  Clothes which I'd handed to her last week without much direction.  Her dirty clothes were still in a pile in her bedroom.  I'd washed a load of perfectly clean clothing.  I was not happy about that at all.

At that moment, we all got distracted before I could address this issue in one way or another.  We were watching the Olympics, bedtime preparation was going on, and other than being annoyed at not actually being ahead with the laundry, we all kind of forgot about it.  Or so I thought.

When I crawled into bed that night, I found a cute little note written by my daughter, apologizing for making me do unnecessary work, and I couldn't help but be moved by it.  She is just so incredibly thoughtful, and as I thought about the whole scenario, I realized that I may have been the one guilty of the mistake.

When I do the household laundry, I am the one who puts it away.  I fold it and put it away for the express purpose of knowing where absolutely everything is.  It just works better that way- that way when someone is looking for something specific, I recall exactly where I put it.  But last week I just was tired of putting laundry away.  I had a full basket of Abigail's clean laundry and simply handed it to her- I'm certain I didn't even give her direction.  Simply a "here is your clean clothes" and walked away.

So the lesson here is that I really should have given her direction.  I should have instructed her specifically to put the laundry away.  Now I know better in that regard for next time.

But more than that, last night I got a glimpse that we really are doing the right thing with raising our kids.  She really did feel badly that she'd caused unnecessary work for me, as evidenced by the note she left in my room.  In fact, I suspect she really felt badly about it.  She was embarrassed about it, and didn't want to discuss it at all- hence the little note. 

And that got me thinking about how I may approach God sometimes.  Like when I go some time without reading my Bible, I will get embarrassed about it, and I go to pick up the Bible and read it, but I feel so badly about not doing it for a few days or weeks that I find it difficult to pick back up where I left off.  I feel embarrassed, and the last thing I want is to open up my Bible and read something that will only make me feel worse about slacking off. 

And yet, when I found that little note from my daughter last night, I was so moved by it.  It was such a heartfelt apology, and I knew that this incident was going to be quickly forgotten.  There would be no more scolding on my part, and for me it was a done issue.

God is the exact same way.  When we may go a time without reading our Bible, or spending time in prayer, or spending that quiet time, we don't need to be embarrassed to re-approach our heavenly Father.  All we need to do is apologize for the time away and get right back into it.  God won't beat us over the head or drill into us how poorly we've done.  He's ready and waiting for us to pick right back up where we left off, and we have no reason to be afraid. 

That is an incredible life lesson that I've learned from a silly little incident with my own daughter.  I love it when God uses the everyday to teach us something rather remarkable.  We have a loving Father who doesn't want to beat into us the repercussions of yesterday's mistakes.  There may be consequences- yes, but we can deal with those and move on.  Abigail's consequence is that when she asks me later today if something is clean, the answer will be no, and she'll have to make a different choice.  I think she'll be okay with that, and will remember for next time.   And this whole experience will be something I remember for some time.  God just wants us to want to have that relationship with Him.  He doesn't want us to avoid that relationship because of embarrassment or fear.  He wants to help us let go of the wrongs from the past, and help us to focus on today and tomorrow.

Today is a fresh new day to begin anew.  Let's not waste that opportunity.

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