We were picking up a few groceries on a muggy summer afternoon. Thunder rumbled outside, the crescendo of rain beating against Target’s roof.
Rain poured down as my well of patience dried up.
Dry. Bucket-clanging dry.
We’d had a late night followed by an early morning as my hubby headed to Jacksonville at 6 am. My night owl ways weren’t meshing well with getting up early for VBS, and the lack of sleep didn’t bode well for my daily supply of patience.
I tried to ignore the 57 and 52-pound anchors randomly tugging on either side of the shopping cart.
“Boys, you can let go.”
(Was that my voice or an animal growling on aisle 7?)
Thankfully Cole heard and let go of the cart, but Chase’s hand didn’t budge. Unbalanced, we veered sharply in Chase’s direction.
Lord, please help me be nice to my children today. I closed my eyes as Chase’s hand continued squeezing the edge of the reddish-orange shopping cart.
Hrmf. Just let go, son!
We’d started our shopping excursion on the Lego aisle – surprise – and we were heading to books. Passing all things Lightning McQueen and the summer clearance aisles, I tried maneuvering the cart forward.
Instead I found myself nearly crashing into an end cap with newly released DVDs. I tried not to glare at Chase’s guilty right hand as it gripped the cart like an octopus tentacle.
My thoughts drifted to the Florida Aquarium…
Yet I had no right to scold them. After all, I allowed Cole and Chase the freedom to walk around in stores from the time they were toddlers. I wanted them to learn to stay close-by even when they were physically separate from me.
Freedom with boundaries.
I also taught them to grab onto the side of the cart as we moved from aisle to aisle, or from check-out line to the parking lot. It made life easier for me and safer for them. So for most of their lives, it’d been drilled into them to cling carefully to the cart.
Now, at the age of 5 and 7, they’re pretty good about staying in close proximity to me and the cart.
That afternoon we were nearly alone in the large store. Chase didn’t need to cling to the cart, but the training he’d received from his toddler years was part of who he was, affecting his actions and the choices he made.
“Only be careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” ~ Joshua 22:5
When we teach our children about the Bible and about God’s grace, forgiveness, and power, it settles into their intellect. Biblical truths become part of the foundational knowledge that fills their minds.
As a parent, I pray that God’s word settles into who they are.
Just as important is teaching them about the intimate, personal love of our Heavenly Father. Jesus is the evidence of God’s love for us, a perfect Savior we don’t deserve but God offers regardless (Ephesians 2:4-9).
Throughout Scripture we read about our Creator’s love for us. He knows every place we’ve been and He keeps the tears we’ve shed (Psalm 56:8). God immediately offers His help and protection when we look to Him and cry out in distress (Psalm 121:1-8).
God will always be found when someone is truly searching for Him in the Bible and confesses Jesus as Savior (Acts 8:26-40).
Thank you Lord, for Jesus. I cling to Him.
Through hard trials and experience, I’m learning to cling to God’s Son rather than anything transient in this world. True to the promises in Scripture, Jesus’ strength carried me through every situation I’ve faced in life (Philippians 4:13), and I know it will for our sons as well.
I looked down at Chase’s compact hand,wrapped tightly around the top of the bright orange-red cart.
Cling to Jesus, son. He will never lead you astray.