Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tending the Garden

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 03, 2008

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. –Psalm 118:24 NIV

I love spending time with children because of their joy and gladness. This week my granddaughter is staying with us. Her morning cheerfulness and evening laughter warms our heart. As with most children that visit grandparents, she has come with her best manners, is very polite and aims to please. We are thrilled to have the company and love hearing all about her life, thoughts and dreams. Each day we have something planned, but she has learned this week, that before we set out to do anything, we first have our prayer time with God. Her shyness about praying out loud has given way to making an enthusiastic list of things to talk to God about. She is like a flower that is blossoming before our eyes. She recites with pride the Bible verse we learned in the morning to her grandfather over dinner in the evening. We are witnessing her faith growing stronger each day. Our special time will end when she returns home in a few days, but hopefully with each visit, we are building that spiritual foundation that will support her in her journey through life.

The cheerfulness and gladness that children bring into our adult world are not just reserved for them. We can have it, too! It is about making a choice. We can greet the day with a good attitude, happiness and a heart that is grateful …or not. The opposite of happiness is grumbling, complaining, murmuring, and feeling discontent. (Philippians 2:14) Then before long, negativity and a critical spirit joins in too. This past week, I was given a collection of stories that were good, funny and entertaining. I passed them on to another to share. That person chose to remark on the misspellings and seemed to miss the content all together. The critical spirit that lives within her prevented her from fully enjoying the stories. It is not God that gives us a critical spirit. He doesn’t cause us to become negative. “Well” you say, “That’s just the way I am and I have always been that way”. Criticalness and negativity are like weeds in a beautiful flower garden. There is no place for them. We must tend our own garden and yank out the weeds each day. With God’s help, move out of the negative and into the positive. Spend time with a child and see the joy that bubbles up from them. It’s contagious! Sometimes, I think we believe as adults that we are teaching the children, but often times, the children are teaching us!

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