Pencils. Paper. Books.
Composition notebook upon composition notebook filling up my buggy.
A time for purchasing school supplies, and then a time for cramming said supplies into book bags for that first day of school.
I honestly had never stopped before this school year to ponder how much packing we do as moms. Seriously. We pack a lot.
We pack lunchboxes and backpacks, snack bags and overnight bags, diaper bags and (before we know it) boxes and suitcases to send our kids off to college. We should start some kind of professional packing company with all of our amazing skills.
(Okay. Maybe not.)
But we really do spend a tremendous amount of time making sure our children have all that they need wherever they go. We want them to be equipped. Prepared. Ready for whatever life throws at them. And as I spent some time in prayer after dropping my little ladies off at school last week, my heart became burdened for them and I began to wonder –
Have I packed them what they need the most?
Am I giving them what they really need to face the school day, to face life?
Because the most important packing I will ever do as a mom has nothing to do with healthy snacks or number 2 pencils, and it has everything to do with what I pack in my daughters’ hearts.
I have started praying in earnest that God will help me to cram my girls’ hearts full of truth. The truth of who they are in Christ, the truth of God’s Word, the truth of their beauty and value and purpose, the truth that they are loved with an un-earnable, un-losable, unquenchable love, the truth that they are not more than anyone else, but they are also not less than. Truth they can feed on all throughout their days. Truth that will equip them and strengthen them and carry them. Truth they can cling to and stand on and even wield in the face of the enemy. Truth that will guide them and keep them.
And as good and godly and noble as those words sound, I must stop and realize this as well-
I cannot pack what I do not have.
It makes total sense in the natural. If I haven’t bought fresh fruit and granola bars, I can’t put those foods in their lunchboxes. If I haven’t purchased pencils and paper and notebooks, those supplies will not magically appear in their backpacks. I swallow hard and realize it makes sense spiritually as well.
If I don’t know the truth about the Lord and His love myself, I cannot pack those truths in the hearts of my daughters.
Words spoken by Peter before he healed a lame man begging for money outside of the temple come to mind. “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
I cannot give what I do not have.
And maybe this is all cutting a little too close. And maybe it is sounding a bit like condemnation. Because, hey, we are busy packing lunch boxes and book bags and diaper bags. Yes, we know we need a quiet time. Yes, we know we need to sit at the feet of Jesus. But we are moms, and we are busy. And we are tired. Because this mama thing? It. Is. Tough.
So what is this post all about? More mommy guilt? Seriously? As if our backs don’t break under the weight of it enough already? Now you wanna make me feel like dirt because I haven’t read my Bible in…wait…where is my Bible?
But this post, it has nothing to do with guilt and everything to do with His invitation. An invitation for us to come and to sit with Him and to let Him fill us up. An invitation without any condemnation attached to it (Romans 8:1). All that is attached to it is love. His love. That un-earnable, unquenchable, un-losable love I say I want my daughters to know about.
And if I sincerely want to pack their hearts with what I know they need most, I need to be sure I am accepting His invitation to come. To come and to listen to Him and to feast on His abundance. To let Him pack me full of life-giving truth.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.” Isaiah 55:1-3, NIV
How beautiful. How tender. How needed.
We can come and feast for free. No matter how long it has been. No matter what we have or have not done. We get to simply come and feast on His presence – packing love and hope and truth into our own hearts so we have those things to give. Because now we are seeing it clear:
We cannot give what we do not have.
And just as we teach our kids how to pack their own lunch boxes and book bags and suitcases, we need to teach them how to pack their own hearts with truth. Teaching them what it means to sit in His presence. Teaching them how they can approach Him freely and boldly. Teaching them what it means to worship Him.
And can I just stop and say this out loud?
That right there intimidates me.
I feel so ill-equipped most days to teach my daughters about Jesus. I’m no Bible scholar. I am simply a woman stumbling and fumbling through this whole faith thing, feeling like I spend more time getting up from falls than I do making any forward progress. I forget they need to see all of that. Not a perfect faith walk. A real one. Because they are going to stumble. They are going to fall. And my girls need to see what grace looks like and how the Father’s invitation for them to come to Him is always, always, always open. No matter what.
And God hasn’t left us alone in this heart packing thing. He has given us His Holy Spirit inside of us – to teach us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to help us. And He has given us His Word.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
His Word equips us to equip.
His Word is bread for the eater and seed for the sower. (Isaiah 55:10) He feeds our hearts and gives us truth we can plant in the hearts of our children, into the hearts of others. Because this isn’t just for moms. It’s for anyone who wants to share the hope that they have.
How good is our God? He doesn’t ask us to pack without first offering to pack us.
He equips us so we can be equippers.
He packs us so we can be packers.
He loves on us, enabling us to go out and love.
I love Him so.
Lord, today I pray that we would have hearts that respond to Your invitation to come. Help us to take time with You each and every day. Not like a checklist. Not some empty ritual. But an every day turning to You – in prayer, in Your Word, in worship. However You lead us. A continual sitting and soaking and turning and feasting and filling – even in the midst of our craziest days. Finding abundance even in a few short minutes. May our hearts hunger and thirst for You and Your presence more than anything else. Break condemnation and help us to simply come. And as we sit with You, equip us to be equippers. Help us as we try to pack our children’s hearts full of Your truth and Your precious promises. Even when it seems like they aren’t listening. Even when it seems like they don’t care. Help us to pack. And help us to live out our faith right in front of them, knowing that they are picking up on some things without us ever even saying a word. This parenting thing? It feels daunting so many days, Father. But with You on our side and with You giving us wisdom and strength and hope and with You loving our kids even more than we do – our hearts can be at rest. I love You, Lord. So very much. Fill us and use us in mighty ways in our children’s lives. And thank You that we are YOUR beloved children. You love us so well. Amen.
I love you, friends.
Praying for you as you pack – in the hearts of your children, of your grandchildren, of your students and in the hearts of every life you come across. And praying for you as you receive from Him.