On a totally different note, I sat eating dinner with my family last night, and I felt like I was watching a production unfold. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and jotted down notes while we ate and talked. I must have spent half of dinner looking over at Matt, sharing meaningful glances and internal laughter of delight at the conversation around the table. I am so glad I took notes because it was too sweet of a moment to forget.
While were eating the extremely delicious chicken that Pepper helped Daddy cook...
Pepper: "This chicken is yucky, but I'm still going to be a cook when I grow up."
Snapper: "If you're going to be a cook, you have to taste the food you're making so you know if it's good or bad."
Pepper: "Not this cook! I'm going to be a not-tasting cook. I'll just make the food but not eat it."
Snapper: (in some sort of French-British hybrid accent with nose in the air and a superior expression on her face) "You must taste the soup, just a wee taste from the edge of a spoon. Oh no, this soup needs salt, Just a pinch, mind you." (shakes imaginary salt into an imaginary pot of soup and gives it a stir) "Oh dear, still not quite right. Must add some more salt to make a delicious dinner for our guests." (takes another imaginary taste) "Ah yes, much better. Now you see that you absolutely must taste what you serve if you are to be a cook."
Pepper: "Nope. Not going to taste it. Actually, I'm going to be a cooking pilot so I can have coffee and food on my airplane. And I'll have a cooking machine. Please pass the celery."
After gagging on a celery string, Pepper asked Daddy to put peanut butter on the celery because he likes it better that way. While Matt got the peanut butter from the pantry, Pepper began to sing the Peanut Butter Jelly song, substituting "celery" for "jelly." Ha ha!
My newest addiction is Pinterest.com. Have you discovered it yet? It is an AWESOME idea-sharing website. You can create virtual bulletin boards where you can post just about any website/recipe/tutorial/craft/decorating tip/etc. that you like. I am using Pinterest as my idea bank for my homemade Christmas. I've also found some other great ideas that I'm implementing in my home, such as The Thankful Tree. I made one for our kitchen table, and the kids are loving it. After Pepper finished his food last night, he wrote out a tag to put on the Thankful Tree. While he wrote, he recited Psalm 118:1. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good." That started us on another conversation altogether.
The verse I have tied onto the vase that holds our Thankful Tree is 1 Timothy 4:4-5. "Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the Word of God and prayer." Using the verse on the tree was taking the verse slightly out of context, but it fit the project. We decided to read 1 Timothy 4 together so we could understand the context of it. The first part of the chapter talks about people who are hypocrites. They use their own legalistic following of the law to puff themselves up, when in reality, they aren't living in relationship with God. They focus specifically on what foods you can and can't eat. That reminded Snapper of when Daniel and his friends refused to eat the rich foods of Nebuchadnezzar, choosing to eat only vegetables instead.
Snapper: "They wouldn't eat the meat that had been donated to the Babylonian statues of stone. They would only eat the salad that had been donated to the Lord Jesus our Christ."
That made me laugh, and we had to do a little bit of clarifying. Our evening Bible journey took us back to the book of Daniel, and the circumstances that brought Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar's palace. Matt told the kids that God caused the enemy to prevail. Both kids were really into our discussion, so Matt wisely used it as a teaching moment. He asked how God could let bad things happen, or even cause bad things to happen if He is a good God. Without missing a beat, Snapper launched into an explanation. She is a deep thinker, and she never fails to astonish me with what she puts together in her head. She spoke too fast for me to write down word-for-word what she said, but here's the gist of it, as close to how she said it as I can remember.
Snapper: "Sometimes things happen that seem really bad to us, but they are part of God's plan. God allowed Joseph to be abused by his brother, sold into slavery, falsely accused, and forgotten in jail. But God had a plan that was bigger than what Joseph could see. God's plan was for good."
Matt played devil's advocate and asked Snapper how God could use the death of a baby for good. Or how He could make something good out of a tsunami wiping out a whole kindergarten.
Snapper: "I don't know how anything good could come out of it, but I'm not God. God is good. And His plan is better than our plan. Mom, God even let your mom die from cancer. I don't understand why, but something good came out of it. If your mom hadn't died, I wouldn't have Salty in my life, and she is really special." (Salty is my wonderful step-mom.) "We don't have to have all the answers. We'll probably never know all the whys. But we can trust God because He knows the answers. We just have to trust Him."
At that point, we turned the conversation to the character of God. Before the kids ran out of steam, they told us that God is:
- Good (Snapper)
- Loving (Snapper)
- Gives good things to His children (Pepper)
- Provides (Snapper)
- Answers our prayers (Pepper)
- Forgives (Pepper)
- Knows everything (Snapper)
- Is everywhere (Pepper)
- Is faithful (Snapper)
Most of our dinner conversations aren't this deep. But when little hearts are open and ready, we jump on it. Our whole ministry revolves around the importance of teaching kids who God is and why it matters. This conversation last night confirmed for me yet again how critical it is that our children know God. It is a learning curve for me, incorporating God's attributes into daily conversation. But I'm getting it, and so are the kids. Want to know more about how you can teach your kids who God is? Visit our ministry website and click on Family Adventures. It is a free devotional series for parents to use with their kids. The activities, stories, and discussions are wonderful. Check it out!