The toolboxes given out at FAMJAM are not intended to provide a comprehensive spiritual rhythm for families. They are designed to provoke questions, and hopefully inspire faith rhythms that are sustainable and life-giving for your family. So, even though I create these boxes, I tweak them according to our family dynamics and needs.
Today's rain provided the perfect time to do some indoor activities. Eli was zealous about making a Christmas wreath. Between the crafts coming home from preschool and Sunday School, along with the wealth of childhood decorations I inherited and some new, our house gets more cluttered each week. But almost everything we make and have around cultivates dialogue and points to the momentum of the season, culminating in Jesus' birth. The wreath offered Eli and I the chance to talk about Noah and the Flood, the badness of people, God's promise, and how Jesus' coming a long time later was like the top of the mountain of God's promise. It was the high point. The shiniest point that is most special and catches our eye. The icing on the cupcake. Ahhh, Jesus becomes a little more clear, and that dove reminds us of the peace he offers our hearts. Peace that wasn't so present this morning in our dealings with baby brother. But we'll try harder after naps.
And then we rolled our worries away to God, which I anticipated may make no sense to him. He was excited about playing a ball game, and I explained I would be writing fears on each ball and we would throw and roll them away. So the biggies came out...sharks (because of the teeth, pictured), Santa Clause (because I just don't know him and he always tries to hug; great point), and dogs (especially when they bite). I was pleasantly surprised he got the concept and zealously shouted, 'let's throw them to God! Let's get rid of 'em!' Not sure how fully comprehends the symbolism, and yet I am still mesmerized by how God stirs in the deep places of such young beings.
It forces me to think of my own fears and the things that rob me of
peace. Eli's fears revolve around safety and security. They are fears that he has no control over. In his little mind, what will that dog do? How do I know Santa is kind or good and not a creepy man (uhhh, that may be a legitimate one to hold on to)? If I go in the ocean, will there be a shark? I do have some physical fears (like my lifetime phobia of vomiting or fear of rape) but almost all the fear in my life is rooted in relationship, in disappointment with myself and others, in the deep realities of sin. I almost long for that childhood place of being afraid of shark teeth, rather than the daily and growing awareness of sin and how it permeates life. But, God wants these rolled his way too. Stress and sin and complicated relationships and character flaws are not too much for him, nor too nebulous. And today, in the rain that just scared my two-year-old during his nap, I am grateful that God is present with us in the unnatural, illogical, and painfully real and legitimate fears that exist in our lives. And none are a match for his peace.