I love the theme of this chapter! The premise is to engage in all “elements given into our hands,” and to help our children see and experience the glory of God as evident in our surroundings. This is something I have had to learn. To see and recognize little evidences of God’s handiwork that we take for granted is truly an awesome way to cultivate thankfulness and an awareness of His character.In nine subsections, this chapter is dedicated to helping us a mothers think on how we can creatively help acquaint our children “with tangible evidence of God’s nature, creativity, character, as well as helping them to express their God-given creative nature.
Responding to God’s Creative Handiwork
“Our children were designed by God to receive pleasure through their senses, their hearts, and their minds, because of all the wonderful things he made for us to enjoy–also to come to know their Creator through the works of His hands.”
All of these things, our senses, the pleasure that we derive from them was ultimately meant to point us to Him. What an awesome opportunity we have to recognize and teach that these things are from Him and for Him!
Experiencing God’s Creation Through Our Senses
To take in the sights, sounds, smells, touch of the many beautiful things God has created and to praise Him for His handiwork is another wonderful way to cultivate a grateful heart. I love that Mrs. Clarkson mentions cozy flannel sheets on a winter’s night…all of these things have the potential to draw us nearer to Him as we recognize that He is the Creator!
Experiencing God’s Creation Through Words and Ideas
“…God’s creation, like the Lord himself, transcends the limitation of sensate reality. His creation includes not only what we can perceive with out eyes and ears and nose and tongue and skin but also what we can think, imagine, and feel.”
Have you ever read something that is just beautiful? I am so thankful that God has given us the intellectual ability to perceive Him and then to articulate and give back to Him what we think and feel. Everyone is gifted differently and I’m so thankful for the people in my life who have pointed me to the Lord through their articulate speaking, writing, and even dancing. I am in awe of the Lord when I hear my husband articulate another revelation he’s had. He is an amazing communicator who has insight into things that many others don’t. It’s a gift of grace and it draws me closer to the Lord.
Encountering God Through the Natural World
Recognizing God’s handiwork in creation is something I have learned much from my mother-in-law. I have never known anyone to more readily audibly praise God for something beautiful she sees in creation than her. This has been a gift to me and has taught me to have an eye for the marvels of His creation. My husband and his brothers, I believe, are able to experience God’s creation and praise Him because of her example to them. What a great example to me as I strive to do the same for Tara and Brant!
Filling Our Homes With Beauty and Inspiration
“…I have filled out home with items that appealed to their senses and fed their understanding of God’s beauty and their appreciation of human creativity.”
I struggle in the decorating department. First of all, I just don’t have an eye for arranging things. But secondly, I am a minimalist (not in the extreme sense you may be thinking). I like to keep things simple. So, I’ve not spent a lot of time or money decorating each room, partly because of the lack of funds, but also because I need help!
One thing however, that I have done since we’ve been married, is to decorate our home with Scripture. Pretty paper and nice (and even inexpensive, plain) frames make a beautiful background for putting the Word of God up around our home. I want to hide God’s Word in my heart, to always turn to it for guidance, comfort, help, etc…having it around our home has been one way to remind us of what is most important to us and has brought help and comfort to me many a time.
I love that Mrs. Clarkson also mentions homey, cozy smells. I have always simmered cinnamon sticks on the stove in the fall and have a lovely candle for the winter time. There is nothing like freshly baked bread to fill the house. Fragrance is a wonderful way to offer comfort and calm to our families.
Encouraging a Creative Response
“Creativity is such an integral part of the image of God within all of us. Creative expression isn’t just limited to those who happen to be adept at arts and crafts or home decorating. Being creative in God’s image encompasses a wide range of activities–from storytelling to house construction to cooking and crafts to basic problem solving. And being creative isn’t limited to original ideas…”
I think this aspect of the chapter is very important! I am learning, in my later years how and when I “feel God’s pleasure,” to borrow the words of Eric Liddell. I love belting out songs (but wouldn’t necessarily want you to hear me) that focus on the character of God, what He has done for me, and the Truth about who I am in Him. I love to dance. I love expressing myself in these ways. I would love to write eloquent, beautiful words that help others to see what I see. But, I’m not a gifted writer.
This is another topic for another day, but these ways and more are ways in which we can respond to God with praise, adoration, and worship. I want to encourage my children to offer their little creative expressions to the Lord as worship, however it might be expressed.
“I have often heard mothers say, “I’m not the creative type. I don’t know how to bring such creative elements into my home. How do you think up all of those ideas? I’m not very artistic!…We must remember that being made in God’s image means we are like him–each of us. If he is creative, then we also have that potential–all of us. As mothers we have been privileged to be involved in one of God’s most amazing acts of creation–bringing new life into the world. And we are involved in a task that requires us to improvise, try new things, and contribute to the development of the human soul. How can we say we’re not creative?”
“A wise and creative woman isn’t necessarily that way all on her own. A wise woman has learned to imitate lots of other wise women; the creativity comes in adapting their ideas to her needs.”
Breathe a sigh of relief! My stick people are not really going to help my children learn more about the glory of God. But the candle I light at dinner, the sudden break into song and dance when nerves are high…these are things that meet demands in a manner that is more creative than eating dinner without a beautiful ambiance or a mama who snaps when frazzled. This is encouraging!
Bringing us back down to earth at the end of the chapter, we are reminded by Mrs. Clarkson that all of our mothering goals take time. Through the reality of sibling squabbles, complaining, messes, disobedience and training, we are shaping their souls with everything we do. Patience and commitment to our goals will pay off in the long run. In the meantime, we need to remember the end goal: shepherding their hearts to the Lord.
Taking Joy in God’s Creative Gift
I appreciate the reminder that we as moms need to keep our own souls nourished. Taking time to enjoy the creative hand of the Lord in His creation is such a balm to the soul and a reminder of the greatness and splendor of our God.
What is your favorite way to enjoy creation? And what is a favorite way of encouraging creative response in your children?