We are one
Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. — Mark 10:15
Earlier this spring, Jack refused to participate in dinnertime prayers. I shouldn’t have been surprised by this development—family dinner had been haphazard since the baby arrived. Nevertheless, I wanted to get us back to acknowledging our source of daily bread, so I asked him why he didn’t want to pray with us.
“We say a different prayer at school,” he told me, eyes glinting with defiance.
“Oh” I said, raising my eyebrows at my husband. Jack’s Montessori school isn’t affiliated with a particular religion. Some teachers are Muslim, other staff and families are Christian and others still are agnostic. Curious, I asked, “Can you teach it to us?” Jack began to clap. Then he sang about looking around the room and seeing a family. He described his classmates as brothers and sisters—as one. He finished with a word of thanks for the meal. As my son’s voice grew from soft to louder and more confident, I imagined him praying these words alongside classmates and teachers whose beliefs and skin color are both different from and the same as his.
When he finished my husband and I sat quietly, spellbound by the moment. “Wow,” I finally breathed. “That was beautiful.” From that night on, we’ve been integrating Jack’s prayer from school into our dinnertime rituals. Thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes as I consider the horrific acts of violence in the news that regularly confront us, many motivated by the sin of racism. It makes me sick to my stomach with rage that we live in a society where such hate exists.
I want to raise my children in a place where everyone can grocery shop and drive and worship without fear. Where we realize our daily bread is abundant and share it with others. Where unity isn’t a far-fetched dream, it’s a reality. What the children pray is true: We are all God’s children; we are one. May I do all I can to live it.
God of grace, accompany me now as I aim to raise peaceful children. Guidemy words and actions, and teach me to see my neighbors as beloved siblings in your big, beautiful family. Amen.
By Erin Strybis
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. — Ephesians 2:10
Many afternoons the light pours through our living room window cascading rainbows on our carpet, walls, and dining room table. During the after-school-before-dinner hours (when everyone is tired, hungry, and could use a nap) we either take a walk or do some creating. My kids love to create—painting, coloring, cutting paper, tracing, or sculpting Play-Doh.
One afternoon, at the table with paper and pencils scattered and brushes of paint ready, I overhear Isaac telling his sister, “Come on, Charlotte, let’s make our masterpieces.” Isaac grips a marker with his left hand making a truck with a crane on top to do its important work. Charlotte starts with a rainbow and ice cream cones. They fill up sheet after sheet and soon hunt for the tape so they can hang their masterpieces in our hallway. Kids have an innate sense that what they create is good and worthy to be seen. Before even the first stroke of the marker, my kids know that they can and will create a masterpiece. Creating in and of itself is the gift, the masterpiece.
And so are we.
When we’re in seasons where we don’t know what day it is and are unable to remember the last time we took a shower or sat down for a meal, we are the ones who need the reminder that we are God’s masterpiece. Nothing more and nothing less than God’s beloved child. As mothers it can feel like the work we do is tedious, and it may be hard to find meaning in preparing food, changing diapers, and building blocks with our children. Yet, all we do from conjuring stories at bedtime to helping with homework and shuttling to and from practices is an act of creation. We’re creating community and inspiring the hearts and minds of our children.
I’m learning from my children to first and foremost remember the masterpiece I am, and from that knowledge to simply create; to do what brings me joy and to look upon it with eyes of appreciation.
We are all God’s masterpieces. We have been created in love to love and to be loved. There’s nothing we must do or be—only rest in the name God places on us, beloved child of God. Clothed with this knowledge, basking in this love, go out and see the world in all its infinite beauty and goodness. Go out and dream, create, and splash beauty and hope across all you meet.
Creator God, you fashion me from your image and call me good. I am the work of your hands. I am loved. I am beautiful. Help me to see myself as you see me, and to then go out and bring forth beautiful creations. Amen.
By Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Excerpts from The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis. Reprinted with permission. The Beauty of Motherhood©2023 Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016. Read more and pre-order here.