I vividly recall the fist time I read my favorite passage of scripture…
In the back seat of Husband’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, squeezed next to our four month old firstborn, and yakking it up with my sister on a lose-your-mind-road-trip from Salem, Oregon to the tippity-top of Vancouver Island, British Colombia. It was an annual pilgrimage where we would rendezvous with extended family to
play nonstop Gin Rummy whilst gorging ourselves on junk food fish the deep waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound. From the front seat where Patient Husband and [now] Brother-in-law were stationed at the helm, one could overhear hushed muttering on the merits of soundproof privacy glass, but I was too involved in nonstop conversation to clearly decipher what they were saying. I do also recall it was on this trip that we discovered: When properly motivated, a desperate mother CAN indeed breastfeed a child who is safely secured in a five point harness car seat in a moving vehicle.
A mere two years prior I had surrendered my life into the loving and capable arms of my Savior, and I was ravenous for the truth that scripture so abundantly offered. Somehow, I found myself in the book of Colossians that day. In chapter 4 the words leaped off of the page and into my heart: “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful…”
Watchful and thankful.
These words still resonate deeply with me, and they hang on my wall as a reminder of what God taught me that day. My uber-creative, artistic friend (we all have one, don’t we?) crafted for me this sign that serves as a reminder to maintain an eternal perspective.
For me, this is a command, a challenge; counter-cultural, a constant struggle against the flesh. This passage serves as a clear prescription for how I am to approach a mighty, sovereign God.
Watchful. Looking not at myself, but at those around me. Look, really look. Watch– stop thinking about my needs, my wants, my circumstances, my feelings and open my eyes to the joy and pain that surrounds me.
Thankful. When I do regard myself, let it be from a place of contented gratitude- lest I reduce the God who spoke the universe into existence into a literal Santa Claus, approaching Him as a bratty child with a laundry list of petitions accompanied by empty promises of good behavior (should he make good on my requests).
To my sister’s raised eyebrows (she was not a Christian, herself, at this time), I decidedly stated that I was going to memorize this profound scripture, and promptly hurled my Bible at her to correct me as I recited (butchered) it about eighty times along that long stretch of otherwise quiet Canadian highway.
“Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders, make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so you will know how to answer everyone.” Colossian 4:2-6
This poignant scripture has become a focus of parenting/shepherding my children. I desire for them to be others-focused, quick to joyfully give and serve, while content with their own lots in life and grateful to God who has abundantly blessed them. As a child, I was constantly reprimanded for my negative and self-centered attitude; there was even a period when I earned the nickname “Queen Bee”. Ignorant, I was actually proud of such a regal and important title. I think I was missing something…
Rather than simply correct my girls’ behavior, I hope to instill in them an eternal perspective: to be heavenly-minded. “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) In teaching them, I am repeatedly reminded of my own sinful patterns and habits. How thankful I am that God spells out His best for us in the Bible yet freely offers forgiveness for our incessant shortfalls.
Each of our girls has a verse of scripture that we have dedicated to them. We are working on one for New Sister, but like so many other details are waiting until we know who she is before finalizing our selection.
Do you have a favorite verse/passage from the Bible? A “life verse”? What does it mean, to you?