Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Simple Things by Carol Ford

“Life is amazingly good when it’s simple and amazingly simple when it’s good.” Terri Guillemets[i]
“What I remember about Mom is biking all over Aurora.”  
He looked down at me from the podium with a smile.
Did I hear right? The comment came from my youngest son during his speech at my older son’s wedding.  He sounded loving and happy recalling this memory.
Up until then, I’d often looked back to their childhood and regretted the fact that we hadn’t taken trips to Disney World, boarded luxury cruises or skipped off to a cottage each weekend.  Our family income, compared to those of others in the affluent town where we lived, was very modest. Most other families had second vehicles so moms could taxi their kids around, and everyone else seemed to be having much more exciting summers than us.
Since I was a stay-at-home mom, financial sacrifices were needed to make ends meet. I had to find creative and inexpensive ways to occupy my sons during their school vacations.
Several summer days started with a leisurely homemade waffle breakfast, after which the boys and I hopped on our bikes and rode to the outdoor town pool for their swimming lessons. When the lessons ended they begged for permission to play with their friends in the park for an extra hour, and by then it was lunchtime. We rode to the IGA store and ate hotdogs and drank pop at the snack bar. A visit to the local comic store usually completed our stay in town, and mid-afternoon we biked up the steep hill to our home. I was exhausted from this last leg of the trip.
At home, the boys settled into playing with GI Joes or watching a favourite TV show until suppertime, after which they participated in town league soccer or baseball games; and so, the days drifted by.
It was also not unusual for us to sit together on the couch and read several pages from a chapter book whenever we felt like it.
If it was a rainy day, I would invite in other neighborhood children for a craft morning. I found that they were extremely inventive when I dumped textured fabric, wooden sticks, buttons, glitter, glue, scissors, and markers in the middle of the table. While they created, I baked cookies and played music that they would enjoy.
My days centred on my children; I listened to their conversations, looked for teachable moments and talked about faith-based attitudes.
God tells us in His Word, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. [ii]
Were there days and times when I would love to have ducked my responsibility? Absolutely. Keeping children happy and engaged is no easy task, especially during the last couple of weeks of summer prior to school commencing.
Today, my sons are fathers to their own children and both hold to the Christian faith. I would like to think that many of their choices have come from “...biking all over Aurora.”
Reflecting on this topic, makes me wonder if some of God’s best memories of me might be the simple things that I had done.
Jesus told us that many actions that don’t seem very significant, expensive or brave will be honoured by Him.
 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” [iii]
 I pray that you will feel refreshed on this summer day and find joy in serving God in the simple things.

[ii] Deuteronomy 6:5-8 NLT
[iii] Matthew 25:31-40 NLT

Carol Ford specializes in career consulting and personality differences. She is a member of The Word Guild and co-author of As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers and Speakers and Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, Christmas with Hot Apple Cider.  Carol shares her adoption reunion story in a variety of settings and is a contributor on Hope Stream Radio;
She has been married for 45 years, has two married sons and four grandchildren.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Sincere and warm . . . Loved it, Carol. You were creating lasting memories and laying down real life foundations in your sons. Your 'simple' recipe for parenting with limited means turned out an OK cake, as is indicated: "Today, my sons are fathers to their own children and both hold to the Christian faith."
Would to God that all children had such a truly RICH upbringing! ~~+~~

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