A Fistful of Quarters

Yesterday we engaged in our community garage purge sale. It actually felt like a purge and at one point I thought that it actually looked like my house vomited into the garage (so gross!). But it was also cathartic. We found so many artifacts from our lives it wasn’t even funny. The fluorescent yellow and purple Aspen Extreme ski jacket had me cracking up and had my husband in ski goggles for most of the night. We sold that sucker with matching neon ski pants for fifteen bucks. Holla! The old laptop and dining room table got snatched up before 6:00 a.m., the two side tables and turquoise lamps (why, oh, why were they ever in my house?) found a new home for thirty bucks, toys, clothes and a mountain bike all lived to see another day with another owner. Everything else got donated or tossed.

Once we tallied our total, we set aside the ten percent for the church. We also told our son that we would like him to give ten percent of his earnings which came out to about a dollar twenty-five. Five quarters. He declined and said he was not interested in doing that. I continued on with the lesson saying that God wants us to be cheerful givers and that when we give cheerfully, he blesses us. “The blessing doesn’t only come in the form of money or a toy,” I continued, “but God will always returns the blessing in some way.” Our family is no stranger to God’s blessings. They have not always been what we may have expected or even wanted, but they have always blessed our family in ways that cannot be measured. My son declined again. It was clear that he was not interested in parting with his newly earned cash. I told him that was okay, I would rather he give cheerfully than begrudgingly and left it at that.

About a year and a half ago, our Pastor shared with us some very touching news. He had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and had a three to nine-year prognosis. Their family has inspired us so much over the past five years that we have been at our church. We have been supported, prayed for, brought meals for and blessed so much by our church family. We love giving, serving and praying for our church and we do so every night with our children and oftentimes during the day. We pray often for Pastor Greg, his wife Lori and their four kids. To our son, we usually say that Pastor Greg is sick and try to help him understand how God is a healer and can work miracles so we must pray always. He doesn’t understand all the medical terms, but he understands what sick means and he has experience with doctors and even the hospital. So he knows that being sick is not fun and certainly not ideal.

Most of the time, I feel like I speak into the abyss of nothingness and that all my bits and nuggets of motherly wisdom are cast into the air like a dandelion on the wind. Sometimes I get moments where I can breathe in and be thankful that maybe, just maybe, they are learning something. About forty-five minutes after my “ten percent” discussion with our four-year old where he declined investing into any kingdom that was not his own, my little boy comes to me with a fistful of quarters. “Mommy, is Pastor Greg still sick?” he says. “Yeah, baby, he is…(lump forming in throat)” I say. “Oh, well I want to give these quarters to the church so that maybe God will heal him and do a miracle.” I tried not to fall into a puddle on the ground and sob in front of my kid (I did that when I retold the story to my Pastor). But through that lump in my throat and my eyes which were full of tears I squeaked out the words “Babe, God will see your heart and he will return a blessing to you.”

I pretty much have been on the verge of tears ever since. You see, kids hear everything. They hear it all. Even when you don’t think what you are saying or what you are teaching is being heard or being absorbed, IT IS. I go through most of my days wondering what the wiping down of the counters is doing to impact anyone’s life, what folding laundry and putting it away is adding to anyone’s day, what do my words mean and why does it feel so futile sometimes? Don’t get me wrong, I am completely capable of saying ridiculous stuff to my kids that make me frustrated at myself. Today, in fact, I actually said this to my son after he put a small hole in the wall from opening to door too quickly “Son! You are writing checks your body can’t cash!” Yes, it’s from Top Gun…talk about subconscious, actually, let’s not.

But, seriously, when my kid brought me well over five quarters to give to God, it made me think that what I have to say just might bear fruit someday. It made me realize that even when he isn’t speaking (or even looking at me), my son is listening and so is his baby sister. It makes me realize that he cares about people and he believes that a fistful of quarters can heal Pastor Greg. I WANT FAITH LIKE THAT! I want to believe like a child believes and I want to feel like losing a part to a toy is the toughest thing in the world. I want to protect that in my kids for as long as I can and I want to speak words into their life that draw them to the only source that perfects their faith. I want to be sure that what I say is impacting them in a powerful way and that they will be kind, caring and loving individuals who give back and serve God. I want to say the stuff that means something to them, because they.are.listening.loud.and.clear.

Published by pytallman

Wife, mother, Christ follower.

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