Our kids and I peacefully gather on the couch. It’s one of my favorite times of our day, settling in close together before our schedule begins. I am lead to break out of our routine from reading a chapter of Proverbs, to encamp in the book of James for a few days. I begin reading chapter one; “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. If any of your lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” I look up and find them each child deep in thought. “What stands out to you in these verses?” I ask. A few hands bolt upward. While listening to their takeaways from James, the phone rings. Normally, I let it ring and go to voicemail while we are in a lesson. (Today I would have probably been wiser to let it do the same.) I jump up, take one lunge forward in an effort to run, catch my foot in the bottom of my pant leg, fall forward, lift my foot out of the pants in mid-air, and place my toes down to catch my fall. They bend under my foot, cracking just before I land in a heap on the carpet. The kids are in shock by my tears, howling, and the screams of the ringing phone. A few draw near, attempting to console me; the others run for ice packs. Then there is silence- the phone stops ringing. It’s funny how moments like these can really drive a point home. Calming down, I see the teachable moment to reiterate the verses we just read. Sliding and crawling over the carpet, I rest my back on the front of the couch. “Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds…” I state under laboring breaths. The kids are speechless- I am guessing that they will never be able to read James 1:2 again without remembering how their mom “shook the house”, broke her toe while running for a ringing telephone, and turned the chaos into a visual illustration of the verse.
Limping is now my current and painful reminder to slow down and let the phone go to voicemail when I am doing something more important. As a parent, it remains my responsibility to take opportunities to instruct my kids using any teachable moment when it presents itself. As in my case, some teachable moments may not always seem convenient but are wonderful gifts that God uses to imprint on our kids and me as well.
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deut. 6:5-9