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Posts Tagged ‘making play dough’

Jo 12This week, our oldest grandchild turns fifteen. Fifteen!  How did that happen? Surely there’s been a mistake, I think to myself—she must have skipped out a few years along the way somewhere. Surely it wasn’t fifteen years ago that we rushed to see her in that hospital, just after she was born?

I remember well those growing up years of our little blonde-haired mite with the grey-green eyes. Each Friday during her preschool days, we had many adventures when we minded her until her father picked her up in the afternoon. We became well acquainted with all the nearby parks and soon worked out which had the best play equipment for whatever age our granddaughter was at the time. And we also came to know which shopping centres provided the best spots to have our important morning tea of juice and donuts!

We enjoyed endless games at home too—card games like ‘Donkey’, where somehow Nanna, with great skill, always ended up with that tattered donkey card left in her hand! We played Snap and memory games and later, Uno. We played Snakes and Ladders and others such as Charlie and Lola’s Pink Milk or that aptly named game Trouble. We watched old videos of The Fairies and The Wiggles and Hi5. We made pretend cakes and biscuits with play dough—but we baked yummy, real ones too, always keeping some for Mummy and Daddy.

Recently, I listened as our granddaughter groaned about the many school assignments she currently has to complete. Her life is so full—she is an excellent dancer, with classes and performances consuming many of her spare hours. Right now, she cannot even think much past these school years, with all those assignments and tests. Yet soon they will be over. And soon those university years will be over too. Soon, she will be a young woman, finding her own way in the world.

Will both my husband and I still be around to see her life unfold? I hope so, with all my heart. Yet none of us knows how long we have on this earth—not even our fifteen-year-old granddaughter. We often think we have years ahead of us, but nothing in this world is truly certain, as James warns us:

Now listen you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

Even if we all live into our nineties, that is such a very, very short time, isn’t it, when compared to eternity? Of course we have to plan and ‘carry on business’ in life, but how easily we can take our eyes off God and allow things that don’t matter in the end to consume us!

When I am about to vanish like that mist, I don’t want to find myself saying, ‘Where has the time gone? How did that happen? I know there were things God had for me to do, yet I chose not to do them.’ Instead, I want to use those God-given gifts each day as best I can—and I hope you do too.

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Jo 12I was glad no one else could see me. There I was in my kitchen, kneading my latest batch of play dough into a lovely, squishy ball. I had coloured it bright blue for our grandson and knew I should put it in a container to keep it from drying out. But it was okay to play with it for a while … wasn’t it?

Later, I went to my study, where I had stored some toys our older granddaughters had bequeathed us for their younger cousins to play with. Now I decided these toys needed very slow and careful sorting … well, didn’t they? Oh, look—here was a whole playground to assemble, with ‘Little People’ who fitted in cars and on swings and little tricycles! And here in a box was something called an ‘Imaginarium’—a miniature wooden village, with train tracks leading here and there and a little pink train with carriages that joined together via magnets and some tiny cars and some people and trees and … And there was ‘Mr Potato Head’, with eyes and noses and arms and legs to attach!

Hmm.

I had such fun. I ignored all those other tasks awaiting my attention and allowed myself to enjoy the moment. No grandchildren to interrupt my play and want whatever it was I had. No grown-up children around to laugh and shake their heads at their mother. Not even any other adults in sight to wonder—and perhaps be a little jealous?

Was it a waste of time? Definitely not. Because, in the midst of my play, an answer Jesus once gave in response to a question about who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven came to mind.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

I have been a Christian a long time. Yet I am still called to have that childlike faith that simply believes and trusts and enjoys the company of my heavenly Father. I need to recognise his voice and listen to what he says. I need to talk with him and laugh and cry with him—perhaps even play with him a little? Maybe then, I will become more like him.

This week, I read again the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Zacchaeus was a wealthy, important, grown man. Yet he was so eager to check out Jesus that he did something quite childish and climbed a tree to get a better view. Imagine how he felt when Jesus stopped right under where he was, called him by name and informed him he needed to come to his place! At once, we are told, Zacchaeus, in full view of everyone, came down from that tree and welcomed Jesus gladly. And the result?

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:9

I might be past climbing trees these days. But I hope I will always be that child at heart who will do anything to see Jesus more clearly and continue to trust him in childlike faith.

How about you?

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