Right before lunch, the doorbell rang. I had two immediate thoughts, "The windows are open and I had not just been talking to my children in a raised and frustrated voice so whew for that." And, "Great. Right before lunch is a *fantastic* time for someone to stop by and chat. The kids will be at their whiny prime."
I knew right away when I opened the door that my guests were Jehovah's Witnesses. Immediately the woman spoke, her kind blue eyes lit up with joy. "Hi, my name is Julie. Can I share a Bible verse with you?"
I could have said, "I'm sorry but it's time for lunch." "Or, my children need me right now." But I said, "Yes".
She popped open her Bible and read this verse:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
I smiled to myself. Mini Me and I had just learned that verse by heart in our new breakfast basket book, ABC Bible Verse Book.
And she kept reading:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
My breath caught and I smiled like a goon.
God sent me Julie right in the moment that I would need her... and His word.
As much as I felt my children were exasperating me, I was exasperating them. I was not showing them patience and understanding; I was instead showing them a short temper, annoyance, and was whining right back at them. I needed to be better at enacting the Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you... I needed to teach my children about the Lord's love and do so through my actions.
I typically tell Jehovah's Witnesses that I am strong in my faith as a Lutheran, thank them, and go merrily about my day but on this day I stood and talked to Julie for a while. We talked about love and patience and the relationship between parents and children. We talked about Isaiah 42:1: I have called you by name, you are mine. Names of endearment like "father", "mother", "son", and "daughter" are sacred and special. We need to honor those relationships, especially the one we have with our Heavenly Father. How special it is that we can call our Divine Creator "Father". And I didn't forget to mention to Julie that I was a Lutheran, strong in my faith, and how I was so thankful that God sent her to me during a trying moment.
I felt relief when the doorbell rang because no one overheard me in a frustrated exchange with my children. I should instead have felt relief that God was overhearing me enough to know that I needed Julie and her message from Scripture, right at that very moment. God's grace abounds in my life and I need to be better about letting my thanksgiving for this show through joyful and loving actions - especially toward my precious children.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Julie.
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen."
2 Peter 3:18
2 Peter 3:18