Monday, December 30, 2013

Two stories

So 2013 has been a rough year for our family for sure.  We've had moments of sweetness, but most of 2013 has been spent searching for God's will and trying to make sure we're staying on that straight and narrow path.  And, anytime you're at a fork in a road, there are bound to be tears.  We've definitely had those...lots.of.tears.  Thankfully, it's December 30th and God's will seems to be unfolding before our eyes as we sit STILL!  A big part of 2013 has been the awakened desire in our hearts to teach our sweet sweet boy that this world does not revolve around him.  Part of his belief that it does is our fault.  We indulge...perhaps a bit more this year than others, given what we've gone through.  However, recently we've been given the opportunity to put our teaching into action!

The first opportunity came when the Philippines was struck by Typhoon Haiyan.  You see, my Mom has a beautiful young woman, Imma, working for her.  Imma is from the Philippines and celebrated her year in the United States in November.  We've had such a wonderful time getting to know her and learning about her culture!  For example, we asked her about earthquakes and she said they're not scared of them because there are no "buildings" where she lives, only huts.  She joked that they actually like earthquakes because it makes all of the coconuts and bananas fall and they don't have to climb trees to get them!  But, when the typhoon struck, our thoughts immediately turned to her!  We asked how her family was and she told us that they lost everything.  So, we set out to collect donations for her family!  This is where Malachi comes was a Saturday afternoon and he had just woken up from nap.  He asked if he could have ice cream and my answer was no, not until after dinner.  He wasn't was then that I began to explain to him that there are people in the world that don't have homes and that it is completely unacceptable to throw a fit because he couldn't have ice cream!  Talking didn't seem to be doing the trick so I got him up on our bed and pulled up a map of the world on our computer.  I showed him where the Philippines is...and where we are.  Then, I explained to him what happened to Miss Imma's family; and that her family didn't even have a home anymore!  Thomas and I had agreed on an amount of money we were going to donate and I told Malachi I thought it would be good if he donated some money too.  Again, he wasn't really thrilled about giving his money away.  So, I told him to go to his room and pray and ask Jesus how much money he should give.  He came back about 30 seconds later and said "four."  (It was said with a somewhat poor attitude)  I was shocked (that's a lot of money to a 5 year old).  So I praised him and told him I thought that was great.  Then, after a few more minutes he began crying again and said "I don't know if I have four."  So, we went to his piggy banks (Spend/Save/Give) and I pulled out 4 dollars.  It was then he said that maybe Jesus just wanted him to give 4 quarters.  After a few more minutes of whining/crying, I sat him down and read out of Luke 21, about the widow giving all she had.  I explained that the rich men were giving much more than the widow gave and then asked him who God was more please with.  He immediately said the widow.  It was starting to sink in..but not quite.  So, I had him pray in his room again and told him I would come to him after I felt like he had enough time to think and pray.  I placed 4 quarters on one side and 4 dollar bills on the other and then I shut his door. He prayed he sweetest prayer for Miss Imma and then he asked, ever so simply, "Jesus, how much money should I give Miss Imma?"  After a few moments of quiet, I walked back in and sat beside him and asked him how much Jesus wanted him to give Miss Imma's family.  He confidently handed me the four $1 bills.  I told him that Jesus would bless him richly because of his willingness to trust and obey!  The next day he found a quarter on the ground and I told him God was blessing him...he felt awesome!  Miss Imma's family was given over $2,000 in cash which bought them two houses and will feed them for an entire year.  14 people fed for $2,000 PLUS two new homes IN TOWN!  God is so good...and we, as Americans, have NO idea how good He really is to us!

The second story happened just Saturday.  As we do most every month, we went to Sam's Club with my parents to help them buy daycare groceries!  Malachi "helps" load groceries after we buy them all and often my parents will pay him a dollar or so!  This month, Malachi asked me if he would get paid and I explained that sometimes we just help because it's the right thing to do!  I told my parents that under no circumstances was he to be paid if he asked for it...that he needed to learn to help out just out of "right" sometimes!  He didn't ask about it again, and my mom gave him $1 and praised him for not asking and for being willing just to do it!  On the way home I told him that we would get his tithe ready when we got home and then asked if he would like to give to missionaries.    I tried explaining that there are kids all over the world that don't have churches and asked him to explain what would happen if no one was there to tell him about Jesus.  He gave the right answer, but definitely not with the right spirit.  So, I changed his $1 bill for 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickel.  We set one dime off to the side for tithe and I showed him how much he had left.  I suggested that he give maybe a nickel to our missionaries...still not a good reaction.  So, I sent him to pray again.  He came back nearly immediately, handed me a nickel and a dime and said "Both."  But still with a terrible attitude.  His first question was, "When will God give me my money back like He did with Miss Imma's money?"  I told him that blessings don't always come in the form of money...that wasn't hacking it with him! So, I sat him down and read Malachi of my favorite verses in the Bible!  (Helps that it's in a wonderful book!)  I explained to him what the Bible says about proving God and His ability to bless...and explained that there are MANY types of blessings God gives...not all are monetary.  I asked him to name 3 blessings he has that AREN'T money.  1)  Mommy and Daddy  2)  Lolli, Pop and Uncle Logan  3)  Toys  I then named him several blessings that Mommy and Daddy have.  I then encouraged him to go pray again.  I placed the nickel in one hand and the dime in the other.  Again, I left...but when I came back I was quite shocked.  He still said he wanted to give both the nickel and the dime!  This time, though, it was with a much quieter and meeker spirit!  So, we gave him an offering envelope and he filled it out on his own!  Then, he turned it in yesterday morning to his Sunday School teacher with an explanation as to what the Bible promises when we prove God! 

I don't tell these stories to brag on my kid or on my amazing parenting abilities.  This my blog to record our life and I feel like these are two life-changing times in Malachi's little life!  I want to remember them and I want to be able to remind him when he's older!!  I pray that these are the building blocks on which he begins to base his love for others...and I pray I can remember these simple lessons a little more often too!!!

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