In the grocery store, greeting all types of people we pass, she sees me. In the parking lot, giving my cart to someone or helping an elderly person load their car, she sees me. In the check out line, she sees me making small talk. She sees me smiling at the gas station attendant. She sees me nod my head and say hello to the person beside us pumping gas. She sees me help someone with the computer in the library. She sees me wave and smile at people we meet or pass. She sees me offer to take pictures for people. She sees me ask people to take pictures of us. She sees me hold the door for strangers and she sees me let others go first when their arms are full of groceries or crying babies or because it just seems like the right thing to do. She sees me ask people for help. She sees me care and hears the compassion in my voice when conversation turns to a struggling family member or hard times. She sees me treat animals and our things with gentleness and respect. She sees me use self control. She sees me apologize and make things right when I lose my cool. She sees how I handle conflict with her daddy and those around us.
She sees all this and more. At 2 years old, she is subconsciously making choices about the people around her and her brain is making connections and moving her thoughts in a certain direction. The fruit of all those thoughts and choices won’t truly show for years to come. It’s my job as her mother to move those thoughts and choices in the direction of love. In the direction of grace, compassion, and mercy. For that direction will guide her to humility, meekness, gentleness, goodness, kindness, self control, faithfulness, love, joy, patience and peace. It will help her see people and love them where they are. It will help her stand for others even if it means standing alone in the natural. If I’m doing my job, she’ll know that though she stands alone in the natural, she’s never alone in the spiritual and that God through the Holy Spirit will fight with her and through her for justice for the downtrodden.
Yesterday we walked 2.23 miles. Yesterday we talked about what it means to respect other people. We talked about what it means to treat people with kindness and ways to show love. “If someone falls down, do we laugh or help them get up?” “Help dem up.” Her little voice declared firmly. “If we see someone hurt, do we walk away or do we get them a band aid?” “Help. Get band aid. Call mommy.” She confidently answered. These are conversations we have often because these are skills that need to be taught. They HAVE to be taught to our littlest people and they have to see it in our daily lives. We must teach love, gentleness, strength, compassion and self control by showing it in every choice we make. The change our country and our world, that we so desperately need, must start with us. We must love actively and stand firmly.
Yesterday we walked and I prayed. I cried out to our Lord for our present and the future. She saw and she prayed.
Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said, The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; Grass dries up, flowers droop, God’s Word goes on and on forever. This is the Word that conceived the new life in you. 1 Peter 1:22-25 (Message)
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit,let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:13-14, 22-26 (NIV)
“Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 (Message)