Last night I watched my kids catch lightening bugs. Such remarkably agreeable little critters (um, the insects, not necessarily the kiddos). My children would reach out and catch them with their cupped hands. The fireflies would continue to light up in their hands till they were released. Then my kids would catch another, delight in its beauty, then release it. The ballet continued with the music of crickets chirping and children laughing. I love summer.
I remember being a little girl catching fireflies. But I would catch them and put them in a canning jar with little air holes poked in the lid for ventilation. I wanted to keep them forever in the little jar. I wanted to take them in my bedroom and watch them light up my room--kind of like nature's nightlight. Surely they would be safer there. But my parents would convince me that their lives would be shorter in that little jar and I would begrudgingly release them convinced that they would have been better off in my care forever.
I'm sorry to say that I haven't matured much over the years. I'm the mother of four precious fireflies who light up my life. I let them out of the jar on occasion as long as they are well within reach of my hands to protect them. But they are growing quickly and I know I will have to begrudgingly release them one at a time.
I'm really struggling that my oldest is officially an eighth grader now. Olivia has just one more year till (big gulp) HIGH SCHOOL. Basically five summers left before she is a high school graduate. How did this happen? Perhaps if I get a bigger jar and start poking holes in the lid now, I can keep her as my little girl forever. But I know for her light to shine, I have to let her go. She isn't truly mine, but was God's gift to me to nurture and love and care for in her first season of life.
Then I realize that I only have five years left to teach her, prepare her, equip her. (And then I start breathing into a paper bag.) Just summers ago my biggest goal was making sure she could swim independently and ride her bike without training wheels. Oh boy, some real life water wings and training wheels are about to come off! Brad and I are praying for God's wisdom and direction as we parent her through the teen years to be a young woman who glorifies God. (Otherwise, she will be attending college in a pickle jar.)
She has a summer reading list for school, but Brad and I have added an extra book to her list. It's called "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. Everything he writes is such an encouragment (my bedside table looks like a Piper display at our local Christian bookstore), but I think this book is a great one that she can understand and apply even in her young life.
This week's Sunday dinner scripture is:
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. "
I Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV
Here's what Piper says in that book about this scripture, "If you are a Christian, you are not your own. Christ has bought you at the price of his own death. You now belong doubly to God: He made you, and he bought you. That means your life is not your own. It is God's. Therefore the Bible says, 'Glorify God with your body.' God made you for this. He bought you for this. This is the meaning of your life."
And truly understanding I Corinthians 6:19-20 enables us to:
"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16, NIV
If we could have our children understand one thing before we let them out of the jar that is our home, it would be that their lives belong to Him. Then I know that their lights would truly shine in the darkness.
This week's dessert of song is by Leeland called "Enter This Temple." It's a beautiful song for a Sunday as I think about our church as His temple, but also about our bodies and our lives as His temple.
May this be sung within your "canning jar" this summer and may you enjoy this special season with your own fireflies.
More Than Lots,