Monday, September 27, 2010

Mommy Fail # 3,500,687 and the Lizard Who Saved Me

It all started with this lizard.
I found him on the internet Saturday afternoon, when I should have been cleaning out my closet.
The video was titled "The Jesus Christ Lizard," so how could I pass on that?
Won't you watch it?
It's by National Geographic, so you can count it for your science lesson of the day.
(Don't worry. It's weird and funny, and it's short too.)

Crazy, huh?
My sixth grader and I love to introduce each other to wacky things on the internet, so I sat Sam down and made him watch it with me.

"That's cool," Sam said, "but I don't get it. Why do they call him the Jesus lizard?"
Was he not watching?
"Because he walks on water, silly."
Sam's mouth dropped open. "WHAT? JESUS CAN WALK ON WATER?"
"Yeah," I said, "you know that story."
"COOL! I didn't know that."
"Yes you do. Remember? The disciples are out on the boat, the wind is gusting, and they're starting to panic."
Sam looked at me blankly.
"You know, and then Jesus walks out."
"No, I don't think I've heard that one."
"Yes you have!"
"No Mom, I think I'd know if I'd heard a story before."
"Yes you have heard it. I've read you that story a million times."
"Nope. Maybe to Ben or Sarah. Not to me."
"Well I know you've heard it in Sunday school then."
"No. I don't think so."

How could that be?
I finished the story, telling him how Jesus walks across the lake and the disciples think they see a ghost, and then Jesus tells them, "Calm down! I'm here. Don't be afraid." And then I say how Peter, dear Peter, who can't stand to be apart from Jesus, says, "If it's you, tell me to walk out to you," and Jesus does. I tell Sam how Peter's doing just fine until he takes his eyes of Jesus and starts to look at the wind and the waves, and he starts to sink. I tell him how Jesus reaches for his hand and asks Peter why he doubts. And then they get in the boat together and all the disciples can't get over the crazy thing that just happened.

"Cool story, Mom."
"It's not just a cool story," I stutter. "It's a great one about trusting God. About not panicking when you're in the midst of something that's overwhelming you."
"Uh huh," Sam said, looking impressed. Then he patted my head and left the room.

I sat there, stunned.
How could he not know that story?
I've been teaching Sunday school to kids for several years now. I thought through the curriculum, searching for the story. No, I don't think we have covered that one. At least not lately. I know we can't tell all the stories, but this, this was bad. Teaching the stories was not just the church's responsibility, but it was mine as a parent. How did I miss that one?

What other stories have we not taught him?
When he was younger, I'd read to him from The Beginner's Bible every night. The stories were short and right for his age, and we both loved it. I hadn't done that in years.

I remembered the scripture about teaching our children, the one in Deuteronomy,
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Yes, I know that kids today need those sacred stories to make their way in the world.
I started thinking of all they deal with, even more than we dealt with as children ourselves.
I thought of the everyday turmoil of adolescent friendships, the things kids do to try to look cool, the dangers that television and internet and American culture bring into our house, our lives. I thought of drugs and alcohol, sexting and pornography.
There's too much out there. They need to know the scriptures, the stories of God's love for them. But it's such a big job. How can we manage it?

And then a curious voice spoke into my storm.
"Calm down! I'm here. Don't be afraid."

I'm so hard headed. This is exactly how God works with me.
Jesus spoke to me in the middle of my freak out, from the blue-green lake on p.382 of The Beginner's Bible.
I had taken my eyes off him, and focused on the storm. I was Peter, in my own little whirlpool, throwing up my arms and looking at the waves.

Last night before bed, Sam noticed that The Beginner's Bible on my desk. "You know, that walking on water story might sound a little familiar. Maybe I just forgot."
"It's okay," I said. "At least you know it now."
"Yeah. But even if I didn't, it'd be okay. It's cool that Jesus can do stuff like that, but He did tons of other important things too."

Yes, Sam.
Yes, God. Thank you for teaching me.

Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all! Before you leave, I'd love to hear what you do to help grasp His hand when you start to go under. Do you return to scripture? Let a friend speak God's words to you? Meditate? What helps you connect with God in the middle of a storm?

Love, Becky
Photo by nealoneal, creative commons


Alise said...

"It's cool that Jesus can do stuff like that, but He did tons of other important things too."

Dag. That line alone got me right in the middle of my chest.

And that he knows that says to me that this is NOT a mommy fail by any stretch of the imagination.

Jean Wise said...

That is a great video and story to go with it. When I am drowning, to be honest, I usually have to go under a few times, trying to rescue myself before I remember to reach for God. Then I find taking time for some silence before the throne and prayer, more listening than talking, helps me to discern the next steps. One step at a time helps too. great lesson!!

Sharon said...

When I'm going under, I just hope I notice the One walking toward me as well as you did. Often I do. And it's a miracle.

Paula Clare said...

Hi Beck,
I JUST WATCHED that video on National is SO WEIRD how our thoughts seem to coincide so often. (Weirder for me or for you I don't know, but WEIRD). Anyway, as a therapist I LOVE to use simple Bible stories like you shared with your son to help clients grasp a certain psychological truth or concept. I LIKE to do that, but don't get to very often. I see adults all day and evening long who have NEVER heard "David and Goliath" or "Jesus on the Water." No church upbringing, no concept of Jesus as the son of God, nothing. In such instances I breathe a silent prayer and the Lord brings to mind a movie...often Indiana Jones or a similar movie with a "hero", to use as an analogy for clients (I've used the Temple of Doom scene where Indiana has to jump across a chasm BEFORE the beam to walk across ever shows up...a jillion times to speak about faith) But the Bible stories are still my faves

When I feel I'm slipping, going under, I find something inspirational to read, often my daily devotional "Oswald Chambers" "My Utmost for His Highest" sufficiently "kicks my butt". :-)

Heidi Mann said...

Great story, Becky! You Sam and my Logan are the same age (or at least, grade). I appreciate the reminder that NOT ONLY is the church, but also (and I'd say even primarily) the PARENTS are responsible for teaching the faith to children. That's not to say I always do such a good job. I try... and I work it in at whatever teachable moment comes my way... but I do long for ways to intrigue a pre-teen with Bible stories and the crucial-ness of faith as a wall to lean on.

I also wish for more time to fit family Bible-reading and discussion into a day. By the time school, supper, homework, and a bit of "down time" has passed, it's time for bed -- and even that often gets accomplished later than it should. What a crazy world we live in.

Susan said...

I'm learning to swim (at the ripe old age of 50+) and I literally have to trust in Him to stay afloat. Great post.

Amy Sullivan said...

When I start to go under I isolate. However, that's probably the worst thing I could do. Usually getting outside even for just a short time puts things in perspective and helps me to clear my head.

Your interaction with your son sounds like my husband and I when he is trying to convince me I have seen a movie that I am certain I haven't!

You have, yes, you have. I know you have!

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

I love the video and super cool story that went perfectly along with it.

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

Oh, the youngest. This always happens with them so don't feel bad. I'll never forget when The Grinch with Jim Carey came out a few years ago and my sister (a then adult) didn't understand what the fuss was about.

And then we realized that we had forgotten to show her the animated one as a child. Oops!

Probably hearing the story so late has helped Sam to really appreciate the wonder of it all.

Terri Tiffany said...

Hi Becky,
THis story brought tears to my eyes. I love the stories I was taught in SS--they are the ones that we remember when we are in those tough times--I chose this year to read my Bible every day--I know, should have been doing it all along but life gets in the way. But this year I have, and how it has ministered to me exactly at the point I need it to. I marvel when I read a verse on a particularily rough day and think how Jesus knew.
I spent 10 days in France back in 2000. It had been my dream to go there once since I strudied French from 5th grade through college. We loved it. I envy you how you got to live there for 4 years! Wonderful!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love y'all's responses. Thanks for sharing your own stories! The Bible stories are priceless and precious, but I'm also encouraged and taught by the stories you and others share. What a valuable resource we have in each other!

Graceful said...

It can be overwhelming at times, can't it -- everything we need to teach them. And do all of it while getting food on the table, and clean laundry in drawers, and money in the bank -- and without yelling, too! But you are right...the message here is "Don't panic, I've got you." And that's a message I keep reiterating to myself these days. I'm glad to hear it again here...

Kelly H-Y said...

Wonderful story.
I pray!

Laura said...

Amazing -- what a cool lizard!

Mommy fails are just opportunities for Him to reach out to us, aren't they?