I teach her to braid. Three colored strings tied to a desk leg.
Red. Yellow. Green. Red. Yellow. Green.
She murmurs the pattern, her full concentration on the twisting rhythm of the strings.
The table downstairs is covered in brightly colored eggs. A messy tradition that dates back to my little girl days in Alaska. My dad loved to celebrate. He pushed Halloween and Christmas and Birthdays and made them fun and exciting. Easter was no exception. He boiled eggs and mixed dyes and we stained our fingers making artistic eggs. And afterwards, we'd throw the dye colors off the deck into the snow. And the snow would be stained bright.
Children need to know how to make good choices when they leave the house. Preferably before they leave the house. So we teach them, methodically, how to make good choices. But the tricky thing about making good choices is the knowledge that God trumps all human reasoning. So good choices are really God choices. The best yes, is the yes to His leading.
I read Mark 8:18 earlier this week, "Therefore consider carefully how you listen." Listening is a verb. It's important. There have been many times in my life when I made good, moral choices and God said, "No." There have been times God has asked something of me that.made.no.sense. The times I chose wisely in those situations were the times I yielded to God's voice. The times I listened. So listening is the key factor to making good choices. I am learning.
Grandma's funeral is Saturday. On Sunday Dave's parents and his Aunt and Uncle will lead the Easter service at the nursing home where she died. They've been faithfully bringing God's Word there for years. They asked us to come and bring the kids to minister with their music. I said no. Every year, for 12 years, we've gone to the egg hunt at our park. It's tradition. Avonlea is too old for it now and this will be Grant's last year. I love it. I love the laughter and excitement and a park filled with beautiful children in beautiful clothes. It's what we do every year. Red. Yellow. Green. The pattern of our life.
But I start to get that twinge in my conscience. God wants us to go to the nursing home. I see it clearly, bright colors on white snow.
So I sit the kids down and I tell them. Let's go to the nursing home on Sunday and minister and afterwards I will give you an egg hunt. I'll give you better candy than they do at the park. They agree. They know how to make good choices.
That night I sit long in front of the computer processing checks for the business. And suddenly, impressed upon my heart like bright colors on white snow, You didn't let them sacrifice. I wasn't praying. I was working, I was braiding the pattern of my day. But I recognized God's voice in my heart and so I listened. You padded their sacrifice. When I ask for sacrifice I don't pad it.
And I realized afresh, what Easter is. It's blatant sacrifice.
The cross was never candy-coated for Jesus.
When approached, the kids joyfully sacrificed any kind of egg hunt.
"That's really not what Easter's about anyway, Mom."
"I'd much rather play my violin at the home than have an egg hunt."
It's a small sacrifice.
Just a little step toward Jesus.
But it's the little that prepares us for the big.
I forget sometimes, that it's not just a family God has asked me to braid together.
It's a kingdom.
The pattern is His.
So is the Glory.