Thursday, August 23, 2012

Of bath time and Jesus...

Written 8.7.12 @ BMC

As I am writing this, my boys and I are at Bible Memory Camp, a week long event of fun, Treasure Hunts, games, food, swimming, campfires, and, most importantly, Jesus!  God always shows up (something about a promise of being around when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name {smile}).  How clearly we sense, see, and experience Him depends on us.  How prepared we are to open our eyes and hearts to Him...how eagerly we seek His presence in our midst...makes all the difference.  At times, it seems, God makes a statement so that ALL are keenly aware He is in our midst and at work.  No one left behind to wonder about whether or not He exists, He proves it in mighty ways.
A mom of two, count 'em 1...2..., campers now, I can only hope that inbetween all of chlorine, sweat, bugspray, & campfire smoke they will find and make time for a quick shower or two during camp.
Is this too much to ask?
I think not.
They believe otherwise.
I have grown up in the Bible Memory program...camper, counselor, staff, board member and now mom of campers.  I have seen and heard it all.  BUT, when I do hear something new it doesn't surprise me anymore. The campers (and sometimes their parents, as they check them in and prepare to leave their babies behind) make me laugh because of their sayings and doings.  Young campers are all alike in some ways.  My boys are no different, and I didn't expect them to be.
The campers want to have fun.
They adore their counselors...like "They walk on water!" kind of admiration.
They are forever losing and/or forgetting things.
And, last but not least, they believe that swimming is a grand substitute for showering.
Knowing these things, I felt a little prepared for Alex's confession after camp last year (first year of being a camper) that he never really showered all week, BUT he did wash his hair once.
That's something, at least.
This year, while gathering toiletries and  packing suitcases, I made my motherly plea to at least consider showering this year.  They promised to think about it.
In the Florida heat, I can only hope they will...for everyone else's sake if nothing else.
Somewhere along the line, showers have become "optional" in their minds.  No longer do they run with excitement ahead of me into the bathroom where they cannot wait to hop in the tub.  Gone are the hour long baths where I have to go in every so often to add more warm water to the tub to keep them from turning blue.  No more wrinkled fingers and toes from extended play in the water.  Other things are more important now.  Baths are so yesterday.  And showers are quickly following suite.
More fun and interesting things are taking their attention away from the innocent fun of playing in the bathtub. The necessity of soap and shampoo are lost in the distractions of other activities.  The idea that one more day won't hurt me or anybody else has moved in and refuses to be budged.
I saw a parallel to this concept that never crossed my mind before today.  I credit it to a family's crisis that I became aware of over the summer while in Anchorage.  A sweet grandmother came to a friend and I in tears stating that she had received an email from her daughter that her grandson had sent an email to not try and contact him ever again.  He was disowning his family, but worse, he was disowning His Jesus that he grew up learning about, memorizing Scripture about, worshiping, and loving.
Slowly but surely something had distracted him, disillusioned him, hardened his heart toward the One who made him and whom he adored growing up.
This shook me to the core.  As a mother of boys who seem to have a very similar upraising to my friend's grandson, this is something that I have been praying against already in their short lifetimes.  As the three of us stood there praying for her grandson, my heart pleaded to God again for my own boys and the choices they have ahead of them in their own lives.
I still am praying for this young man who is choosing to go against his God and his family.  I am praying for the parents and grandparents who are hurting because of his choices.  I cannot even imagine how their hearts must hurt and miss his company and love.
Just like with bath time, the joy and attraction of Jesus to this young man (and countless others) has lost out to other things.  He's no longer needed.  Time once spent in His presence is spent elsewhere worshiping worthless idols.  I suspect a prayer went unanswered in the way this young man desired...or a Christian failed him in some fashion...maybe he became bored and felt unloved in his church.  Maybe a combination of all of these.  He looked away from Jesus and chased a squirrel which has led him to making choices that are hurting himself, his wife, and his family.
However, there is still hope.  As long as they are able, his family is and will remain in prayer for him.  While they pray, I pray, too...
I pray against distractions for my boys and the people who would seek to persuade them to try and do things that are sinful and displeasing to the God they are growing up in knowledge about right now.
I pray for them to have strength and courage to do what is right...not to avoid doing wrong, but to bring honor to the one true God who deserves it.
I pray for wisdom to know how to love and discipline my boys with the heart of God and not with my own.
I pray for the courage to keep on the straight and narrow pathway myself so that the footsteps they follow lead to the One who loves them more than I do or ever could.
I pray for positive influences in their lives when they are outside of the four walls of our home.
Finally, I pray for God's love to fill them to overflowing, leaving little to no room for evil to get a foothold.
In Jesus' name,
Amen!

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