Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. -Matthew 3:6
Being a parent certainly has its challenges. My children drive me to insanity and push me to my depths. However, I will never doubt for one second that they are part of God’s plan to make me a better person. I learn from both of them every day.
My three year old daughter taught me a truly valuable lesson this Thanksgiving, on a topic that I never would have imagined that she even understood.
We spent Thanksgiving with Joe’s family in Panama City, Florida. On Saturday, the kids were getting a little stir-crazy and wanted to get out and run around. Joe wanted to watch the football game with Pop, so I took the kids down to the beach.
Camden and Ella were beyond thrilled as we made our way down to beach front. We went into one of the nearby shops and bought them both sunglasses, a hat for Camden, and some beach attire. Walking along the beach, they were just in awe at God’s lovely earth.
Ella hadn’t been down to the shore since she was a tiny baby, so this was her first time running in the sand. She ran as fast as her little tiny legs would take her, following her brother up and down the shore.
The one rule that I had was: Do not go in the water. It was in the 60’s and 70’s and very breezy and the water was very cold. Not to mention, I really don’t like my children to swim at the beach. It’s just scary.
Like any parent, I must have repeated myself 10 times as tiny toes inched closer to the water and then whole feet were dipped in the water.
Do not go in the water.
Do not go in the water.
Do NOT go in the WATER!
At one point, when we were about to leave, they were standing in the surf for –just– a minute. They giggled and ran around in it, splashing up to their ankles in complete bliss. Defying me seemed to be fun.
A small wave crashed and rushed up to the shore.
“Run, run, run, run, RUUUUNNNN…….” I yelled.
Camden got the message and ran, standing next to me within a half second. But my poor Ella, my poor, sweet, and tiny Ella tried to run, but the small wave outran her. Although it was just up to her ankles, the wave knocked her completely over, face first in the sand and washed over her.
This would have been funny if it were summer. But, it. was. cold. Ella immediately started crying and I had to carry her wet body back to the car. She was clinging to me so tight. The entire walk back through her cries, she kept saying “I need to tell Jesus”… “I need to tell Jesus that I fell”.
I got her cleaned up and changed and we got in the car to find a cozy spot to eat dinner. By the time we reached the restaurant, Ella had calmed down and was completely happy with her chicken and fries.
When we reached the house that night, after bath time, Ella and I laid in Nana’s bed. We said her normal prayers together, and just when she sensed we were finished and I was about to say ‘Amen’, she put her hand over my lips and said “Wait”.
I paused, wondering what she was going to say.
She said “Mommy, I need to tell Jesus.”
“What do you need to tell Him, Ella?”
“I fell in the water.” she said softly.
“He watches you all the time, honey, He knows you fell in the water.”
“No, I need to tell him I sorry for falling – for not listening.”
I swallowed hard as I wrapped my head around this.
“Okay, go ahead” I said.
And very simply, she said, “And Jesus………………………. I’m sorry for falling in the water. Not listening to my mommy. Amen.”
She was actually confessing her sin to Jesus.
I was in complete awe.
I laid next to her and rubbed her back until she fell asleep, and I couldn’t help but think about how taken aback I was at her urgent need to tell Jesus about not listening to me. Thinking back on the situation, after she fell and I was carrying her back to the car, she never once said that she was cold. She never once said that the sand hurt her eyes, she was just repeating over and over that she needed to tell Jesus.
She needed to tell Jesus. There was urgency in her voice.
This situation has made me take a look at my prayer and confession life. I ask forgiveness for some things, but there are times when I need to be asking for forgiveness and my flesh is telling me that it was ‘no big deal’.
And I love how once God teaches us something; He likes to bring it up again in a timely manner just to see if we are still paying attention.
This Saturday, Joe and I had to entertain the kids around town for nine hours while new tile was installed in our kitchen. We went to breakfast, the park, different stores, and mid-way through our journey, my patience was running thin. We just happened to be at the gas station, and the clerk was being difficult. Instead of having a good attitude with him, I sassed him. Before I could even walk out of the store, I was convicted.
And As I handed Ella her Icee, I couldn’t help but think “I need to tell Jesus.”
There was urgency in my voice and in my spirit.
And I did.
…in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6