Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teachable Moment: God's Plans


I haven't done a Teachable Moment post in a while, but I used to fairly often, when I'd see a sprout of truth taking root in my child's heart, or take an opportunity to plant another seed. 

Well, since we've moved, I haven't had much energy to be planting fresh truths about God and His word in my children's hearts. But I did see evidence that something I'd planted a while back had taken root. It was a simple thing, really.

I picked the kids up from school, mid-way through their first week, when in the backseat, my son said, "I think God planned for me a friend. His name's Brennan."

I asked a few more light questions about this new acquaintance, but my mind lingered over his phrasing. I was struck by that sentence: I think God planned for me a friend.

In those few words, I peered down into the layers of meaning, layers of belief...really beautiful understanding and belief in the heart of my seven year old.  

Let me back up.

On New Year's Day, I wrote this post. I couldn't share the news yet that my husband had been pursuing a job in Montana, and that God had been pursuing us to make this change. But that day, up on some rocks at Monarch Beach, we shared with the kids what we thought were God's unfolding plans for our family. My daughter took the news in soberly, but with optimism. My son, however, who wears his heart on his sleeve, wept into his hands and said his life felt perfect as it was.

It was difficult to explain to him the abstract truth that God's plans for us are always for our good, and we may not be able to see ahead of time exactly how. We didn't expect his young heart to grasp this. He is a little boy, and his world is in the "now", not the "will be." And so all along, we respected his grief. And of course, we shared that grief as a family, since change is never easy.

But concurrently, over the weeks following, I know I shared the concepts in Jeremiah 29:11 more than once with my kids. The verse says,

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, and not to harm you; plans to give you a future and a hope."

It was the first verse I named my favorite as a high school student. And early this year, I was preaching it to my kids. In casual conversation, when the topic of our move would arise, I'd tell them things like this:

God has plans for you, ya know. You are so valuable to Him that He has made plans.

And those plans are good. Really good. They might not always feel good, but He knows what's best for you. And you can trust Him because He loves you, even more than I do.

These plans, well, they include really important jobs too. Jobs only you can do. And following God's plans takes a lot of courage because sometimes His plans are in places we've never been, or His jobs ask us to do things we've never done. But He has made us just right for these things. He has good plans, for good reasons, and He asks us to follow.

Daddy and I are nervous too. We don't know what God's plans are. But we have more experience with Him. We know we can trust God, because He has been by our side through a lot of other adventures. He always wants to show us His good plans. And from our experience, Daddy and I know that God's plans are actually much better than plans we could make on our own.

When I think about it, I realize that all this teaching I was doing is on one of the most important concepts there is for my kids to understand. Funny that God used this move in order to use me to teach them. But I think in my flesh, often I was talking about it all to ease their discomfort and maybe even to excuse my husband and myself from the BLAME of picking them up out of their lives and relocating them to all sorts of new challenges.

I mean, I understood and believed every word I said. I just don't think at the time my motives for speaking it all out were fully pure. My mommy heart that wants to insulate my kids from any and all discomfort was too intertwined.

It's such good news that God had grace enough for me even then. He still, miraculously, planted clean seeds of truth in their hearts. And then He was kind enough to let me catch a glimpse of the little green shoots of faith breaking the soil of my son's heart, here in Montana, as he processes a new friendship as proof that God's good plans are unfolding around him. I have no idea the path that seed has taken in his heart. But he used those words: I think God planned for me...

That's huge. He understands that He is loved enough that God has customized, special plans for him. And He is looking, eyes wide open, for the goodness of those plans. {What if all of us lived like that?}

There is perhaps nothing sweeter to see it work, this ministry of motherhood, this exhausting, relentless effort to raise up children in the hopes that they become independent and bold believers in the one true God.

The occasional glimpse that it's working is like getting a glimpse of heaven. It's wind in my sails. It's hope for our world. It's a sign that God is alive and powerful and good. And it's strength to keep loving and teaching with conviction and with all I have for one more day.   

{for more Teachable Moments posts, click the "teachable moments" tag on the sidebar in the square that looks like an assortment of post topics}



  1. Leslie, this is such a sweet post. And what a reminder for us all - first, remembering the truth of Jeremiah 29:11, and second, remembering alllll He has done over our lifetime and the evidence of "God planned for me..." moments. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This makes me want to cry... in a good way. :) God has planned a lot for us Frei's over here too.

  3. I'm glad God planned a friend! Thanks for sharing this. I needed to be reminded that God has plans for me, too. :)

  4. I think this is such an amazing story. I'm not sure I've followed you long enough to see many teachable moments, but as a new mom this is so encouraging. My kid is 3 and now I'm starting to see how he is a 'sinner' and its incredibly scary to think about how I'm going to teach him to be godly. This post was so needed for me. thanks!