A couple of months ago our daughter memorized Psalm 136, which is wonderful but kind of “cheating” because every other phrase happens to be “His love endures forever”. We are however proud of her hard work (and her heart that desires to memorize the Scriptures) and had asked her to recount the Psalm to us during one of our Sabbath breakfasts. She did a great job of remembering it and we began to talk as a family about how it is a mini re-telling of two defining stories of Israel – creation and the Exodus. We talked about how important it is at times to look back and see where God has been seen and what He did. It gives us a strong footing for today and hope for the future. At that point, I suggested we use the pattern of this Psalm to write (or re-write) a psalm about our family’s experience of God.
Fast forward a couple of days…I was bound and determined to get us on our way to writing our Psalm. I had two kids who “had-nothing-to-do” so I told them to get pencils and paper and meet me at the table. I explained, once again, the concept and told them to begin writing all the ways THEY have seen God. (I was quick to point out that just because we’ve never seen God part a body of water in front of our eyes, it doesn’t make the small things we’ve seen any less valid.)
Our oldest needed to hear no more. She was off and writing – her little brain remembering and chronicling all her big and small encounters with Yahweh. Our youngest, however, was having some major trouble. He tends to be more pessimistic by nature and was having trouble with some neighborhood kids that day, so he could find NOTHING, NOWHERE, NADA where he had watched God do something. So, I began to slowly prompt him. “What about this time….?” was the phrase of the hour. Slowly, his pout curled up into a little sheepish grin as he had to acquiesce that yes…he had seen God do some things in his life.
By this time our daughter probably had two full pages of “God-moments” and my son and I had maybe…7. So in a flash of brilliance (actually, I’m sure it was the Spirit) I pulled out their babybooks and scrapbooks. We spent the next couple of hours looking at pictures, laughing, telling stories….AND relating it back to what God had done and where He was during those times of their lives. It was one of the best evenings I’ve spent with my kids in a long time (and I walked away in awe of God and so thankful to be a mom!).
Needless to say, our son’s list wasn’t as long as his sisters, but we did fill up a page and a half. A few mornings later at our Sabbath breakfast, we re-wrote the Psalm. We began by reading the first 9 verses (I read the first part and we all said “His love endures forever”) and then each kid took turns saying one of the items on their list. After they shared it, we paused a moment and repeated “His love endures forever”.
It was a neat exercise to do with our kids. For them to see that God doesn’t just do BIG things (like part the Red Sea) but He also provides friends for us and opportunites to attend schools and small amounts of money when we have none. It was wonderful to say out loud many times “HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER” together as a family. If we didn’t believe it when we started, we were convinced by the time we were done.