"You do it, Mom."
I picked up the naked jumbo sized red crayon. Titus prefers to busy himself with taking off the crayon wrappers instead of actually coloring.
"Do it with me buddy."
Titus put his hand on top of mine and slowly we filled in the spaces between the large "A" I drew on the medium weight large post it paper pad for his first unofficial preschool lesson. I've committed to do some purposeful preschool work with him at home. Simple stuff: letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. You know, the basics.
I don't have a degree in preschool education. I did not for a second even peek at pinterest. I've been using the alphabet my entire life so I figure we will just start with what I know. l put Matthias down for his morning nap and called Titus over to the table. He is into anything that gets one on one time with Mommy, so he loved every part. The "lesson" was about 30 minutes, easy light and fun. We colored A together, learned there was big letters and little letters, ate an apple because it started with A, and found all the A's in a book from the library. Titus' favorite was "vrooming" a matchbox car over his big A and little a.
I've been remembering resources I forgot I had. We have a few alphabet toys, Elmo letters and that annoying "alphapup" that won't shut up. Titus has new interest in these toys now, maybe because they have new relevancy for his dining room table preschool adventures. Before all the sounds and shapes were random, now they are another connection point for us to talk and are opening up new avenues for his understanding. Then I remembered my ABC scripture cards that we've been learning and have been reviewing the corresponding verses with the letters. Titus knows his "A" verse, "A friend loves at all times" Proverbs 17:17.
I never realized how much God had given me to teach my son until I sat down to teach him. And even in this simple lesson, I felt the Holy Spirit revealing to me gifts of preparation I didn't know I had. I know my letters. I've been taught. And I've been given abundant resources to teach.
Over the past month, I've been studying Romans, getting a head start for Bible Study Fellowship which started this morning. The phrase "do you not teach yourself?" has been resonating with me. After a summer of teaching the Bible, my friend leaned over to me during this morning's lecture "How nice for you to get to sit back and be taught for a change!" I leaned back with a smile and said, "I know. It's awesome."
At some point, I began to think of our Teacher, capital T, our Father. Abba. Like the day in and day out teaching of parenthood, I know that the greatest work God does in us is usually in those secret or everyday places, throughout the week, in the mundane, in the seemingly unimportant moments. Once a mom, always a mom. We never stop momming. This reminds me that God is always at work, always meeting us, always teaching us.
And the things He teaches us over and over again are basic, the alphabet of the Christian life. Romans is all about those basics. Essentials. The Gospel.
When we are called to teach, we seek fill in the gaps in understanding, like Titus and I filled in the dashes that made the capital A. We take others hands and we hold the crayon together. But! That picture is incomplete. We can't be the only one who holds and guides the students hand. We need God to hold our hand as we hold another's. He is holding both of us, teaching both of us. As we trace even the most basic points of the gospel of Jesus together, to my delight, I will always have the privilege to receive God's truth as well. And no one can change oneself or another, no matter how good a teaching. Only God can stir hearts.
Oh how I need His teaching. Oh how I need Him to change me. I need to hear the gospel, the good news, every single day of my life. I will never be taught enough. God is always teaching the teacher. His hand on my hand on my sons hands. His hand on my hand on the women in front of me's hands. We can never know the depths of the knowledge of him, and our hearts will never get too full of the gospel. We get to become like little children, sitting in His presence, learning and growing in the classroom of Christ. And oh what a joy to seek Him together.
One requirement we have of guests we invite on the DWITW podcast is for them to tell us the gospel, in their own words. It is weird asking someone who you know has been a Christ follower for years. It feels elementary. Like, are we wasting their time? Are we wasting our time?
That is a big fat NO.
IT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST GIFT TO ME TO HEAR AND READ THE GOSPEL OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Now I'm begging for it. Tell it to me again and again and again.
The Lord has reminded me through these women, who are all teachers in some sense, stating in their own words, from their own hearts, what Jesus has done for them, for me. And it has brought us to tears, softening us again to the unbelievable truth of the GOOD NEWS.
I will never tire of hearing the gospel. And I will never tire of telling it.
God never needs taught. He is the greatest teacher. He never needs our hand covering his, but we will always need His hand covering ours. It is such a comfort as both the learner and as a teacher to know He always covers us. When we walk with Him, He covers our parenting, He covers our ministries. He even covers our mistakes and turns them into opportunities for His glory.
Like my preschool session with Titus, I didn't know how prepared I was to teach until I took the leap. I don't have formal training, but I do have the gospel, something I've been dwelling on these past 20 years. It reminds me a lot of my Dad, who stepped into a teaching/preaching role after years working in business. God's hand was on him in that move and many have been blessed by his boldness for the gospel.
Formal teaching is SO wonderful, a gift in many ways. I'm seeking it out myself! God will hold teachers to a different standard (James 3:1). But you do not need formal training to share the gospel! Recently I've come to understand that here in the United States we have way more resources and opportunities to know God's Word than MANY other places in the world. You may be more trained than you think! You have the Holy Spirit. AND! If you can read God's Word in your own language, have access to multiple translations, know what a commentary even is, sit under a Bible believing pastor, then you have it MADE. But I think the most important of all those things is understanding how God saved YOU, yes YOU, a sinner from your sins and gave you the unmerited gift of eternal life with Him, then yes, you can share THAT. You can teach THAT. You know your alphabet. You know Jesus. And that person next to you? They need Him just as desperately as you do. They need to hear from you.
I love my son. I see His need for Jesus. I've been walking with Jesus for 20 years. It would be unloving for me not to teach him about Jesus.
This is Paul talking here. The guy who wrote Romans, basically the foundation for much of what we believe. But what does he say? He knew NOTHING except Jesus Christ.
So. I'm going to continue listening to the gospel and seeking it out in every single book of the Bible I study and teach. Jesus, show me, where are you in this passage? I'm begging God to teach me, change me, make me like Him. I'm going to keep sitting under other's teaching and allow those giftings to inform my view of Jesus. I'm going to ask for others to show me how to write my letters and I'm humbly going to offer to help others learn as I have learned. He has told me, through Paul, to teach myself as I teach. And to soften my heart for the deep work of a transformed life. All along, I know He is the one teaching, changing, and holding all of us in His hands.
Teacher, teach yourself. So, if you are like me and you need to hear the gospel again.
I can't do anything about my sorry state. I don't have my stuff together, no one does. Nothing I can do can make it right with God. But Jesus. God's son. He did it. Because He paid the price for my sins on the cross. He died. But death was not the end for Him, and neither now will it be for me. Jesus lives again and now so do I. And now He is doing a new thing in me. I can't explain it, but He is changing me. And I'm sharing how He is changing me and now I get to witness how He is changing them. And I see brokenness all around me, but we are promised this is not the end. He is going to come again and restore everything. I trust Him to do it, because He always keeps His promises. And in the meantime, I don't want, because He has given me Himself, everything and more. I am His creation, His treasure, the showcase of His radiant love. He chose me to be His child and to show His glory in this broken down world. Nothing can separate us. With God, I can overcome evil with good. With God, all things are possible.