The other night, during my (failed) attempt to make fried green tomatoes, I had no idea that the Lord would use that experience to encourage our oldest daughter. But He did! Once again, God demonstrated how He can use all things for His glory.
Emma Grace was having her morning quiet time in her bedroom. She was reading about the Tower of Babel, and apparently, she was struggling to sound out some of the words from this familiar story. Frustrated, Wubs came out of her room with angry tears filling her eyes.
"Mommy, I am having so much trouble!! This Bible is too hard for me!"
" Hmmmm. Would you like to read your story to me? I can help you sound out the hard words."
* mad sigh* "I already read my story. I just skipped over the stinky words."
"Wubs, there are no stinky words in the Bible. Come sit down and read to me. When you get to a word that you don't know, put your finger on it and I'll help you. Okay?"
Emma Grace began reading. She read several paragraphs before she stopped abruptly and stabbed the page with her finger. I gently cupped my hand over her finger and we sounded out the word. By the end of the story, her body language had softened, but she still looked disappointed.
"What's wrong? Are you disappointed that you needed help on a few words?"
"I just wanted to read my Bible without any help. But I kept on messing up and messing up!"
"Wubs, remember how you thought our house smelled funny this morning? Well, I have to tell you what happened last night while you were sleeping! I was trying to bless daddy and cook him some fried green tomatoes and okra. But guess what? After I poured the oil into the pot, I left the lid on for a really long time and the oil got too hot. And when daddy opened the lid, I had accidentally caused a fire! There was smoke everywhere, and we had to take the pot outside, and we had to open all the windows! Do you want to see a picture?"
I got out the camera and I showed Emma Grace several pictures from the excitement with the fire.
"But you know what? Even though I had a lot of trouble cooking and I messed up, I didn't get frustrated. Do you want to know why? Because I had tried my best. God knows that mommy isn't perfect, and He doesn't expect me to be perfect! Only Jesus is perfect, right? God knows that I will make mistakes... lots of them! But God does expect me to try my best, with a happy heart. And you know what? When God hears you reading His Word, and He hears you trying with a happy heart, He is so pleased. God knows you are trying your best and that's all He asks from you. Do you understand?"
"Next time you are reading and you get stuck on a word, what will you do differently?"
"I will try to sound it out and ask you for help. (pause...) And I won't be so grumpy."
"Wow! That will be really pleasing to God, huh?"
A few years ago, I attended a powerful Bible study and I learned these tools:
1. My goal in life is to please God. (2 Corinthians 5:9)
2. I please God by being like Jesus Christ. (Matthew 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 10:31)
3. God knows I won't be perfect, but He does expect me to be growing. (Ephesians 4:22-24, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and 2 Peter 3:18)
It was such a blessing to be able to teach Wubs that God doesn't expect her to be perfect, but He does expect her to be growing. He does expect her to try her best, with a happy heart.
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of out Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!"- 2 Peter 3:18
ps- JJ got a big boy haircut this weekend! He looks so handsome! Just like his daddy... wink!