Another Year

Well, it seems time has flown by, again, and we are once again celebrating the new beginning for out kids in the CDC. Graduation is on its way, and it seems like just yesterday, wasn't it? that these little beings were in the infant room, and then got "promoted" to the next room, and soon, again, they were passed on to the next teacher in line.

Where did time go? Did we do all the things we had on our minds to teach our children as they grew another year older? Did we teach them to be kind? Did we tell them to "speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil"? Did we help them memorize the "Jesus" songs for their programs or their Sunday School classes, even as young as they still are?

Believe me, the time will come when they'll be ready to fly the coop and start life on their own. Seems too far in the future, doesn't it? However, when my first set of babies were ready for living on their own, my first thought when they packed their last piece of clothing, slammed the box lids shut on their books and walked out the door, was, "I never taught her/him how to sort or wash clothes in the washing machine!" That wasn't the biggest epic fail on my part, but that was the first one I regretted!

There are still young ones coming along who need to be trained in the way that they should go, and the training, I have learned, is that they need to know those things that I find easier to do myself and not insist/demand/require that they do it. I don't think I ever - well, not very often, at least - talked back to my mom because her hand was faster than a laser striking her target. And the target was my smart-alecky mouth. 

Unfortunately, our culture has changed since I was little and learning. Parents today have to beware of what the world thinks of them, and the world is very excited to record any perceived mis-deeds in how we raise our kids and post everything online. But even without the instant posting of misdeeds, God has a way of finding out what everyone has done, good or bad. . .

Eli, a high-ranking priest back in the day in Israel, had two sons who grew up without much, if any, discipline; kind of like our kids today who find it natural to talk back to their parents and tell them what they're going to do - and get away with it. In Eli's case, God came down on Eli for not controlling his children and even with being forewarned, the outcome was devastating.

1 Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

After a time, the Israelites, including Eli's sons, fought in a battle against the Philistines, and instead of God giving Israel the victory, Israel was defeated.

1 Samuel 4:10-18: So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

So, parents, bring up your children to know how to be comfortable talking to God about their fears and concerns, how to pray, how to be kind and thankful and how to listen to you. God gives us the command to be parents, to train our children up in the way that is pleasing to Him so that we may all live as He wants us to live. To be blessed instead of cursed. Be an example and pray for them every day. This is a hard world to navigate on our own.

And by all means, teach them to wash their clothes!

Everything New

Times change. Babies are born. Grandparents are gone. Families split. Marriages happen. And nothing seems to stay the same.

Take, for example, our CDC. Teachers over this year have come and gone. The pestilence, a.k.a., Covid, shook our foundations for how our children and their parents have been able, or unable, to connect with our staff at the CDC, or even connect with their own children once they reached the driveway. Teachers and staff came out to sign the children in, get them into face masks, take their temperatures, and then take them from our arms and our care into the depths of the building. Over the two years, we have been given reprieves to some extent, but we're still having to leave the children in the vestibule of the building while they are escorted to their classrooms and we, the parents and caregivers, are left to wonder what just happened.

On the "up" side of change and new things, our CDC is having its first spring program in real time, in real life, within touching distance of other families in over the two-year period, also. This week, our Pre-kindergarteners will "walk" the stage in their caps and gowns and we'll be there in person to watch them and celebrate the new life that awaits them. 

And the newest thing to happen for the CDC and this special event is that it will take place outside behind the new "barn" where there is a patio area and a huge outdoor auditorium for the families of these children to sit and watch! The patio area is where the children will present their program, and the grassy area in front of the patio will be where we can put our blankets, chairs, hammocks and strollers to enjoy the evening. Together. 

These couple of years have been a rough time for us. Not all changes are good, and not all things new are great. However, as children and the caregivers of these amazing little people, we have to give thanks to God for all of His blessings and His unfailing love for us, because with His provision, we are here. As this season in our journey of life comes to another path to take, may we all remember that we are not alone; our children are not forgotten; our lives are in God's hands always. And we are all loved by our Creator and our Redeemer. 

May we and our families find joy in what God has done, and continues to do, for us.

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Caring for God’s Earth 

What do you think would be the coolest job? Racecar driver? Singer? Zookeeper? Adam, the first man who ever lived, had a pretty cool job. Listen to what Genesis 2:19 says about it: 

“Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” 

Wow! God let Adam name the animals. God also put Adam in charge of caring for a beautiful garden called Eden (Genesis 2:15). 

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” The Earth belongs to God. All of the animals and people are also His. When God asked Adam to care for His creation, He was asking him to be a steward and take care of His property. 

We are called to be stewards, or caretakers, of God’s creation, too. For example, not everyone in the world has enough clean water to drink, but others waste water every day without even realizing it. Did you know that if you turn off the tap water while brushing your teeth, you can save about 7 gallons of water each day? Small changes can make a big difference. 

You may not have a job right now (other than going to school), but all of us have been entrusted with taking care of the things on the Earth, such as water, plants and animals, that belong to God. And that’s a pretty cool job. 

Dear Jesus, Thank You for creating a beautiful world for me to live in. Thank You for trusting me to care for the Earth and the things You have created. Show me how to be a good steward. Amen.