“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”
I Chronicles 22:19 (NIV)
Last time we were together I spoke about how God nudged me to change up our yearly tradition of anointing the house with oil before beginning the new school year. However, I wasn’t sure what He wanted us to replace that tradition with… until the night of our spontaneous bonfire, two days before school officially started.
While our teens were gone, God used our eight-year-old to begin a new, possibly favorite tradition for this time of dedicating ourselves and our household. He asked if he could gather sticks, one for everyone, and then once his siblings got back, if we could go around and share one obstacle in our life we wanted to give to God. After everyone shared, we could all throw our sticks into the fire symbolizing giving the problem to God and not being able to pick it back up.
My husband and I thought the idea was great, so our little one went off in search of the perfect sticks while we waited for our teenagers to return. I wasn’t sure how they would react to this sudden serious turn of events during a night set aside for fun, but prayed and thanked God for the heart of a little one bringing us all together and our hearts back on Him.
They arrived with S’more ingredients as well as everyone’s favorite candy bar and I invited our youngest to share his idea. Having just returned from church camp a few weeks ago where they encountered God in very real ways using a bonfire, they were receptive to the idea and ready to begin. We all went around sharing one thing we wanted to give God this year, to hand over and not take back. It was a time of truly connecting as a family because we were choosing to be vulnerable and get closer to our Father. Then we all threw our sticks in the fire and the moment was over. However, I’m still touched by that simple family activity which took maybe 15 minutes but has remained in my heart all year long.
Come back next time and I will tell you what two valuable lessons I learned that night which strengthened my faith even more.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017