Conversations with God

Us all piled together on the couch, me and four kids in early morning sun coming through windows mounted on the tall-ceilinged walls, the warm rays bathe us and I read to them from my bible.

I read to them in Proverbs about angry kings and liars and how we are to appease the king. I stop and ask it–“Do you know what appease means?” Shaking heads all around. I explain it means to make someone happy, to make it better when they are angry or sad. We talk about how we appease God by asking for forgiveness for our sins, and how as soon as we ask, He forgives us in an instant–I snap my fingers–and He wipes it all away. As the sun grows a little warmer, Ivy wants to interrupt the reading to say something, but I make her wait. I continue to read about everything being written down in God’s book.

I ask what it was she wanted to share. “You know, if there was a king of Hickory, we would beg him to not chop our heads off!” I wonder at that–that the child knew that this is how it is with God too–that before the cross this was us, begging to not be put to death, to not be condemned eternally, and we were constantly, always aware of our sin, and fearfully making sacrifice and spilling the blood of animals in order to appease God.

The oldest, she asks, “Before Christ came and died on the cross, what happened to those people–did they go to Heaven?” I smile wide and tell her she has asked a very good question.

I ask the children if they think God sent those people to Hell because He had not yet sent His Son to die for them. “No.”

“You are right–they did go to Heaven.” I explain to them that God is always the same yesterday, today, and forever. I tell her that God does not change–He is and has always been a God of mercy and grace, even before Christ came. We read….”Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” …God does not change with the shifting shadows…I ask my children, “Who changes?”

Us.”

Oh, the satisfying nectar I am drinking in this morning as my children grasp the gospel.

I forget to show them the verse about Abraham’s faith saving him–and isn’t it all about faith saving us anyway–before and after Christ–isn’t this what God has always been trying to get through to us–not our works, but His faith rising up in us that saves us from unquenchable fire?

“It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring…”–Romans 4:13-15

We are so caught up in looking up verses on God’s character–His unchanging ways–flipping pages as fast as we can turn, giddy in our treasure hunt, we turn a page a little too fast, and it creases. I forget all about proving to them that the bible actually accounts for the souls who believed before Christ being in Heaven–in my hungry quest to show them who God is.

For you curious ones, who, like me, wonder and dig to find gold…here is some treasure for you…
“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24; cf. Heb. 11:5) (emphasis added).

Elijah was not taken to a place on the border of hell, but he “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings2:11; cf. Matt. 17:3, where Moses and Elijah appear, talking to Jesus.)

…when Jesus answers the Sadducees, he reminds them that God says, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” and then says, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32), thus implying that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were living even at that very moment, and that God was their God.

…in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus does not say that Lazarus is unconscious, but reports Abraham as saying about Lazarus, “Now he is comforted here” (Luke 16:25).

–Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

If they know who God IS, they will never have to question.

I read the last verse in our Proverbs reading, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” {Prov.16:33}

“Oh! Look at that Lorna–isn’t that neat? You can cast lots, gamble, take risks, but God has already written it all down”–I scrawl words on air for her, hoping she will get a mental picture of our Sovereign God. I’m thinking, In His book, our life is…..–how do I best explain this to her?….when she interrupts–

“Our life is His story book.”

I grab her 10-year-old-still-soft-baby cheeks in my hands–“Yes, darling girl! That’s exactly it. Exactly. I love you so much.” I smile down at her, and catch a glimpse of a twinkle in her eye.

****

Bella bounces her ball, “Mama, I need to ask you a question. Is God isth nice?”–in a 4-year-old-lisp.

“Yes, He is, He is kind and loving. He is very nice.”
She smiles, dimpling, “Can you read me the story again about it, in your book, after I finish my toast?”
I look where she is pointing, to the purple bible. “You want me to read to you about God?”
She nods. I nod, and she runs off with her ball, leaving behind her a room and a Mama full of God’s wonder.
****

“I’m really sorry that I yelled and scared you. You know that’s why Mama needs Jesus, don’t you?”

I look into her eyes, search for remembrance, search for that gospel lighthouse to guide me, my true north to ground me and bring me center–to right everything gone wrong. I’m flailing in the darkness, lost at sea, groping blind.
She nods, child-understanding, her eyes so full of the emptiness of inexperience, waiting for me to fill it–to show the way. I am weighted to the floor–sobered.
“You know, Mama has sin in her heart”–I lay my hand on my heart, and she looks down to that sacred God-place, her wide eyes taking it all in.
“And I mess up over and over and over. As much as Mama tries to not get angry, I just keep messing up. And Jesus died on the cross to take away all that sin, to forgive it all, and your’s too. “
“Mama? So when we’re born, we already have sins?”
“Yes, even babies are born into this world with sin, and you and me, our only hope is Jesus–because we’re only human, we sin, we all mess up and our only hope in all this world is Him.”
I hug her, hold my Ivy-baby in my lap. I ask her, “Do you forgive Mama?” She nods up and down from my pillow-shoulder. I tenderly pick up her head. “Look at Mama. You know, when Mama asks for forgiveness, I try real hard after that not to do it again.” I stroke the silky hair on her forehead, feel her eyelashes flutter against my hand. “And I promise to try real hard, ok?” She nods, her eyes seeming larger than normal.
She’s just taking me in, all this now, right here.
Oh, she teaches me so much.
She looks up at me, green enveloping me, black lashes reaching to Heaven. And she gives, falling into me in exhale. I hold her like that and we just breathe one another for a few minutes, drinking in the stillness of this holy moment–this redemptive beauty.
I sigh and pull back and look at her, ask her if she likes our talks, if it makes her feel better? “Yes,” she says, and I mostly expect her to jump up and bound off to play but she lays her head softly on my chest, folds into me, and just soaks up grace.

****
Gratitude:
#657 me and the girls watering flowers, re-potting together…
#658 us all raking leaves as Husband drives up–the look of disbelief on his face
#659 Husband and I making supper together, comrades and partners in daily work and family goals
#660 me and the girls doing a deep cleaning and making a peace retreat, setting out a Lent tree…you can hover over the words here to see Ann’s ideas for a godly home…
#661 for Ann, who gives great ideas and inspires creativity and godliness in our home…and us fearful ones know how hard this is…i’m so grateful for the encouragement…
#662 us making home peaceful and inviting, a place of refuge for the weary
#663 time with my Granny, that at her age, she still asks why I don’t come pick her up when I need help in town…
#664 a surprise visit from my Mama and all of us going to eat together
#665 my Granny and I shopping for treasures and finding a few
#666 New books coming in the mail! And Jesus, bless my #666! Amen.
#667 girls’ fun ball chairs for school arriving via UPS!
#668 God healing me of depression completely–anxiety and insomnia also slowly healing little by little
#669 a full week of us all sitting at the table nightly and doing Lent devotions–glory to God for His goodness imparted to us! How He has lavishly blessed!!!
#670 being well enough–mental and physical energy–to take on kids and supper while Husband mows the yard–hallelujah!
#671 new worship music and DVDs to play in the house while girls and i sweep, wash dishes, and bring God glory through our beauty-making
#672 how the girls stop when they walk by the television and watch the worshipping that is happening…
#673 how God’s word, how His fullness overtakes all the shadows and dark places in me and brings light, how it really does bring me out into the light and all fear, all insomnia, anxiety, worry fleas…the marvelous mystery of His word and worship…praise to His name!
#674 how the girls brought their library books home and Lorna took them to her room to begin browsing and skimming them like a frantic reader who can’t wait to get started should–so proud of my girls–maybe i really can do this homeschooling thing…
#675 party with church folks–mingling and fellowshipping, even when it’s hard–forging ahead into God’s goodness…
#676 dancing on Kinnect with an older woman from church–making a fool of myself
#677 a weekend with Hubby, children at their grandparents’, missing them as soon as they were gone…
#678 eating at a local restaurant that serves fried green tomatoes fine dining style
#679 watching Husband bump the ketchup bottle
#680 walking hand-in-hand on downtown sidewalk towards our vehicle
#681 remembering why i married this man…
#682 trying on clothes in my favorite store for Husband to approve…feeling like a teenager again…
#683 going in a store just for Husband, one he likes to go in for art inspiration…
#684 an argument on our “date day”–always the hard cleansing before the joy comes, the remembering, the redemption–hard eucharisteo…
#685 dinner and a movie…what a long time since we have enjoyed such a thing…
#686 remembering that it’s nothing on earth that can make me happy, give me joy but God…hard eucharisteo…eucharisteo! thanksgiving to God in all things–even the hard–especially the hard…this transforms…
#687 giving testimony in Sunday morning service, me quaking and shaking, fingering my hair just a little, unsure what to do with my hands…but i told God if i had the opportunity, i would give Him glory for healing me and i would not let Satan have any place…so when the call for testimony came…
#688 for Sabbath rest, Husband and I lying in hammock, us falling asleep tangled up together like that…then picnic and badmitton with no net and tag with daughters

Shared with sweet Ann and others at….

L.L…
On In Around button

Laura…

Jen…

and Michelle…

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16 thoughts on “Conversations with God”

  1. oh I love these sweet gifts from God…when you feel His very presence as we talk with our children…had a similar time with me this morning…at every age it is such a gift. He is so faithful even when we are faithless…so glad you had time with your hubby…so important…so important…blessings to you sweet friend.

  2. A gentle wave of calm came over me as I read this. . . this sweet, sweet, praise of sunlight after a dark storm. I've been praying for you, Nacole, now praising and thanking. I loved your dialog with your girls. I couldn't help but think of how precious the gift of being of Mommy is — to learn the depths of God's heart, the meat of His message, and be able to explain it all to little ones in ways they will understand. Don't lose that gift. There are so many “grown ups” who need to hear that simplicity, too. As you explained the Romans 4 verses, I was thinking of our Bible Study beginning Romans. You hit on the theme of the book in such a simple, but beautiful way! Thank you for that! So glad to see you here today! It just made my whole day!

  3. oh, these quiet morning moments. when our hearts in other bodies show us the way to God. it makes me tear up for the beauty in being taught in such breathtaking ways.

  4. So many, many blessings. I love so many from your list – 658, 663, 671…. Hold onto those times with your granny. Miss mine terribly! Thanks for sharing

  5. I LOVE the verse about Enoch, it has always been a favorite of mine. And, I love the immutability of our wonderful God! Thanks for sharing your list today and giving us a glimpse into your sweet moments with your children. Have a most blessed Easter, my sister!

  6. As always, you share beautifully and authentically your heart that inspires us to know God more. I love your sweet spirit and tender heart. I pray that as you continue to count you will see more and more of God's grace poured out abundantly into your lives…

    Blessings to you, friend,

  7. how precious to be able to share God's word and His life within you with your girls…glad you got to have a date with your hubby…so important…Cheering you for getting out of your comfort zone to praise Him 🙂 Wishing you a blessed Easter 🙂

  8. “isn't it all about faith saving us anyway–before and after Christ–isn't this what God has always been trying to get through to us–not our works, but His faith rising up in us that saves us from unquenchable fire?” Oh, yes! I love your conversation with the kids. The Spirit was on the move in your home:) Blessings to you!

  9. Oh, I love it when our own children bring God's word to life.. nothing better in all of the mommy moments. Love the picture of you beginning the day nestled into His arms and theirs. Beautiful!

  10. It goes without saying, you already know… I love every thought and moment you've shared, thank you for it. For sharing these Gospel moments with your girls, the bursts of God revealing Himself to you, the quiet, subtle times that He is revealing His glory to you. The list of gratitude is always so potent and vivid to me, what testimonies of God's perfect grace in all things. 🙂 #671 caught me today, as I was blessed with similar moments with my own babes today! Loving you!! HUGS

  11. Wow, every time you write I am in awe!!! I really enjoy being able to come hear and read your heart. I love you and I am so thankful for what God is doing and has done for you. You are such a great Mama…… enjoy these days at home instilling in your babies what it is to live life to the fullest and to have God in their lives and hearts. Act crazy with them and enjoy and soak up every moment that you can cuz when you look around or bat your eyes they will all grown up with babies themselves just like my daughter. I love you Nacole.

    Mama

  12. Your girls are so beautiful. And this entire lesson just blesses me. NOthing so beautiful as a mamma sharing the Gospel with her children.

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