One of my Beloved's favorite phrases - especially when teaching people sign language is "Put that in your suitcase. Then you'll have it when you need it!" I believe he learned that phrase from Mrs. Crabtree, his sign language teacher in college. I got to thinking about that phrase recently, and God showed me something....something profound. Are you ready? Here it is....
Every person has a suitcase waiting to be filled. I have the opportunity to add something to the suitcase of every person God brings into my life. Mostly I spend my days filling the suitcases of my children, but God gives me other people, too. People like Elizabeth and Elsa - two Deaf ladies who have a thirst to learn the Bible. People like Mary Luz and Nestor, who just need someone to come alongside and say, "I care." People like the children on our street who call me "Tía"!
I am a perfectionist. You wouldn't always know it if you were to see my house, but I am. I like things done a certain way. And I can't really tell you WHY I like it that certain way...I just do. Did you know that it is hard to be a perfectionist and have children? They deal my perfectionist ways blow after blow. Ouch! But I can give up my perfectionism. I can't give up my Treasures!
At this point in their lives, they are learning to fold and put away their laundry. They are learning to set and clear the table. They are even learning to wash dishes and sweep the floor! Do they do it exactly like I would? No. Does it bother me? Yes. But God helps me "turn a blind eye" to the WAY they do their tasks, and remember that I am filling their suitcases with a valuable treasure - the ability to work! I have a piece of paper on my bulletin board by my desk that is a list of chores that children are capable of doing at certain ages. While I might not be in 100% agreement with the source from which it came, I do recommend that list! It is called "Age-Appropriate Chores for Children". It helps me set goals for my children and not be unreasonable when my perfectionism starts trying to take over! My children each have their own strengths and failures. In some areas they are ahead, and in some they are behind....that's okay. They are a work in progress. Let me give you an example...
Phebe LOVES to help...with laundry, with setting the table, with sweeping, etc. I find myself sighing over her idea of "help" sometimes, and one of her siblings gets frustrated sometimes - especially when it comes to folding laundry. But the point is she is learning and doing what she can. And it is a blessing to see what she CAN do - even as small as she is!
Right now we have been avidly studying about the different Native American Tribes of North America. We have deviated from my lesson plans some, but does it really matter? They are still learning. They are learning history and culture. They are learning about other people and their need for a Saviour. We have been making all kinds of things - baskets, tepees, back rests?.... They are learning to make things with their hands! Yesterday, I made Saffron Buns in honor of Sweden...as we are also studying the countries - with land completely or partially - within the Arctic Circle.
Adding to their suitcases...and I love it! I also love how their suitcases just seem to expand! They never run out of space, and you never have to have the whole family sit on it just to close it! What a special joy it is to be part of God's plan.....adding to your own suitcase, as well as helping others to fill theirs. The question is...what are we putting in those suitcases?