Friday, April 12, 2013

Clement Bros. Savings and Loan

It all started three weeks ago when Chad and I discussed giving the boys an allowance. We’re trying to teach them responsibility and give an incentive for getting their chores done before school each morning. At breakfast we explained to the boys they would be paid one dollar for each school day that they are dressed with chores done by 8:15.

Friday came, the first “pay day”, and Chad sat down with the boys at his desk to give them each the money they had earned. Then he talked to them about tithing and saving.

David quickly pulled Sean aside into their room and tried to sell him on the benefits of “brothering up” as they call it. Basically, consolidating their assets by just putting all their money in a big pile; then deciding how to use it together.

The next Wednesday one of the neighbor boys was over playing video games with David. All three boys decided to go out and ride bikes. When they came back Sean was crying. It seems that the neighbor boy was kicking him. I went to find out what was going on when David reassured me he had handled it.

The way David “handled it” was to make “arrangements” with the neighbor. I found out later that David told Sean that “S” had agreed to quit kicking Sean for a dollar, so under David’s direction Sean gave “S” one of his dollars and “S” took it!

Upon finding out about this scheme I was very upset. We restricted the time that this friend would be at the house and David would be responsible for returning Sean’s money. David went to school the next day and told his friend he’d have to give the dollar back, which he did. David put the dollar in his pocket.

Later, as I was pulling clothes out of the dryer, I found Sean’s dollar that had fallen out of David’s pocket.

So, in two weeks and with only eight dollars, our 8 year old and 6 year old sons started an organized crime ring that involves illegal incorporation, racketeering and money laundering. They’ve even made me an accessory to their crimes.

On the up side - after dinner this evening, Chad took the boys to go shopping with their money. He said it took them forever because they were very concerned about what things cost since it was their own money being spent. Sean had his heart set on an earthworm farm, but needed one more dollar. David decided to give Sean a dollar and save the rest of his money for a new Lego game. So, now to add to all the excitement, we are the proud owners of an earthworm farm! 

Observing the boys behavior over the last few weeks really brought to my attention how much we need Jesus to be Lord over every area of our lives, especially our finances. If we allow pride and selfishness to be our guide, loss and destruction will be the only fruit left of what God desires to be a blessing. I pray God will help us as we teach our children to use thier time and money wisely, and more importantly, that we will set Godly examples for them. 

I'd love to hear from other parents about how you are teaching the principles of stewardship in your home. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monday’s Comin’: The Resurrection and Real Life

It was so much fun getting ready for church Sunday morning. This is the first spring since we’ve lived in Oklahoma that I was able to dress the kids for the Easter service at Quail. After church, we had a beautiful lunch at Mimi and Papa’s house; then began preparations for Truth. 

Sunday before last, we had to cancel picking up the kids because the weather was so bad, and we couldn’t meet outside. This Sunday, Chad and I were thanking the Lord for the beautiful weather and worked in expectation of a great Sunday night service. 

It doesn’t seem to matter how prepared I am or how great things are going, there is always a feeling of discouragement that comes over me after “big Sundays”. I think it must come with the territory of ministry, but it is a very real feeling. The scripture says we are not warring against flesh and blood, but against an unseen enemy. Sometimes I wish I could see the enemy and give him “the boot”. Since that isn’t possible the only way I’ve found to overcome this feeling of discouragement is to take refuge in the Lord through honest prayer and try hard to keep my mouth shut so as not to share my bad attitude.

We came home from Truth, fed the kids and watched the Bible on the History channel. The last scene of this week’s episode (I guess you’d call it) where Jesus was on the top of the mountain sending out his followers, stirred my heart. After the kids went to bed I told Chad about how we had 25 kids at church tonight and when I asked what were some of the miracles they would’ve witnessed had they walked with Jesus on earth, many of them raised their hands and were able to give detailed accounts of miracles from the gospels; a few children even noted that Jesus forgave the sins of those He healed. My heart was lifted by the realization that we are continuing the work Jesus began that day on the mountain before He ascended into Heaven. This little ray of hope was enough to help me sleep through the night. 

Then Monday morning came. Ruby climbed into bed with me at 6:15 feeling feverish. She laid her cheek on my cheek and coughed a wet croupy cough right on to my face. I guess she partied too hard all weekend and it caught up with her in the form of a cold. 

About 30 minutes later, David nudged me awake and announced the following with a great sense of urgency, “Today is the day I need my clown nose!” He is one of four children with a speaking part in the Second Grade program and he’s to deliver it dressed as a clown; however, as far as I knew, he did not need his costume until next Monday. “No!” he insisted, “I’m supposed to have it today!” 

It’s Monday and everyone’s pretty clothes are on the top of a mountain of laundry. 
It’s Monday and there are candy wrappers under my feet and plastic grass between my toes. 
It’s Monday and the words of the critics are crowding my thoughts. 
It’s Monday and I’m overwhelmed. 

Where is the VICTORY? 

As I’m brushing my teeth and trying to remember if we have any Tylenol left for Ruby, and constructing a clown nose out of an plastic egg in my mind for David, I hear the familiar sound of my Savior say, “Anna, remember I am with you always, where ever you go, whatever you’re going through, even to the end of the age!” 

If Jesus were not alive He couldn’t have lifted up my head with the promise of His presence yesterday. If Jesus were not alive, my life would have no purpose. If Jesus were not alive there would be no hope for this mother, this wife or the worst parts of our city. Everyday, faith is the Victory! 

So, yes!  Monday’s coming!  And Jesus is still alive on His throne and living in my heart. Do you know Him?