October 21, 2005

Teenage wisdom

The man of the house (I like that expression and by the way, it’s what Laura Ingalls Wilder called her husband in her writings.) wanted to watch a movie tonight. And since that is kind of a rare happening, we plopped down to watch it with him. My daughters and I love to watch movies. We not only watch them, we memorize certain parts and quote them in our daily conversations. Lately they have all been quoting from Newsies, which I have not seen yet, but think the quotes are silly. We regularly quote from things like Gilmore Girls, Lord of the Rings, You’ve Got Mail, Princess Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…and a lot of others. Oh, back to my husband….we are watching Master and Commander, a very good movie.

My daughter Emma is beside me and during a scene where a young boy has to have his arm amputated without anesthesia, I commented that her sister Hannah won’t watch this movie because of that scene. Hannah thinks they didn’t have to put that part in the movie…he’s so young and it’s so gruesome. Without missing a beat, Emma said, “Well if he didn’t lose his arm, you wouldn’t see how good of character he has.” While her grammar is iffy, she has a point.

Without the pain and struggle that happens in life, people would never know our true character. Isn’t that what we are still on earth for? We should be drawing all men to Christ…drawing them by sheer curiosity if nothing else. It is the thing that most often baffles people about Christians. They watch us when bad things happen, as if we’ll see God for who He really is…just toying with our lives, not saving us in every situation like Superman or Santa Claus. When a Christian has developed good character in their life, it shows through, loud and clear. If someone is just going through the motions, floating along with a shallow faith, their undeveloped character shows also. I sound like I am standing in a tall observation tower looking down on it all, but the truth is, I"ve learned personally how my poor character has shown through in tough times and I'm trying, just like all of us. I've learned this though....

It’s the small things….like returning the extra change the cashier gave you. Even though it seems insignificant and easier to ignore it and not say a word, it changes your heart and your mind, it improves the strength of your character each time you make the effort to be honest….to be trustworthy, faithful, of good report…in what we say as well as what we do. I think it is not only our conscience that pricks our hearts when some insignificant opportunity for honesty comes up…it is the very Holy Spirit of our Lord providing us an opportunity to be faithful, to grow. It’s like He’s put fertilizer (sorry, it’s the only word picture I have presently) out in front of us and it’s up to us whether we use it to grow, nourishing our character or to bypass it and wilt a little….gnatty white flies annoyingly flitting around our soil which was once so good.

I was so proud of Emma for picking up on that. She is only 13. It is a main theme of Master and Commander, examples of the good and the bad character traits shown through all the men in the movie. For her to realize it and pick it out without a thought makes me realize she is showing a lot of intuition lately…..and a strong inkling of wisdom. Wow, God is showing me a lot lately of how He is working in my daughters’ lives. I love seeing that…it comforts me when I worry about them. It increases my faith, knowing He is in control, teaching them things...making it real.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

No comments: