One area I was NOT gifted in parenting was potty-training. Our precious, strong-willed children seemed to be perfectly comfortable with their current diaper situation and had no intention of moving on. When my fourth child was finally potty-trained, I threw her (and myself) a "Panty Party." We invited all of her friends and their moms over for lunch. Everyone brought a pack of panties in any size as a gift. The party was a huge success, as we celebrated the fact that I would never purchase diapers nor pull-ups ever again!
A different type of celebration occurred in the Bible called a "blessing." In the Bible there are many examples of the patriarchs passing along a blessing to their children. These blessings were usually more prophetic than complimentary in nature. However, they often bonded the giver of the blessing before his death (I don't remember seeing a woman give a blessing to her child.) to the receiver, no matter what the nature of the blessing. The blessing was seen as the very words of God.
When our Bacon children turn 16 years old, we give them a Blessing Ceremony instead of a traditional birthday party. This past weekend was Nicholas' Blessing Celebration. He invited nineteen godly men he respected to come give him advice on how to be a successful man of God. The men were diverse in their backgrounds and ages, but they all have a strong faith in Jesus. We laughed and cried as each manly man praised Nicholas' strengths and pointed out possible traps set by Satan along the way. They gave him sound advice that many of us needed to hear as well. The evening was holy and wonderful.
My husband (John) ended the blessings with reminding Nicholas of how proud he is of him. Every child, no matter the gender, needs to to hear from his or her father these types of words. John listed specific areas that Nicholas is gifted. He also praised our son with unabashed love. His words made every person in the room cry.
Recently I heard a wonderful lesson on Exodus 15:19-21. Right before this passage, Moses had led the Israelites across the parted Red Sea on dry ground. Then the Israelites witnessed their Egyptian pursuers' drowning as the waters came down on top of them. (Exodus 14:21-31)
For when the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them, but the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea. Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them:
“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
Exodus 15:19-21 (ESV)
Ray VanderLaan mentioned in his lesson recently at Saturn Road Church of Christ that one of his students had raised a great question about the above passage. Where did the tambourines come from? The women had to have packed them! Those women were prepared for celebration along the journey, and they had made room for those tambourines when they fled with everything they could carry.
How prepared are you and I each and every day to celebrate the blessings God may bring our way?
Recently I was looking for a tambourine to have so that I could be ready to celebrate like Miriam after a dear family member's brain surgery. I wanted to be able to shake that tambourine the moment I found out he was safely out of surgery and that the tumor was out. My cousin suggested that if I really wanted to be ready at a moment's notice, I should get a small toy tambourine for my purse. Great idea! So now I carry around a pink princess tambourine in my purse. I am ready to celebrate like Miriam at any point.
I believe that celebrating how God takes care of us is the ultimate form of praise. In those moments I am honored to share how He has blessed me with others.
I am still looking for that cool used tambourine that needs to be repurposed at thrift stores. The moment I see it, I will know it is the right tambourine to hang in my home as a reminder to celebrate God's blessings. However, each and every day I want to make sure I have packed my tambourine so that I am prepared for the celebration that is coming my way.
When I am ready to celebrate, I am looking for the blessings. In this way, I hope to be more actively looking for God.
How do you make sure you are looking for God's blessings each day? What keeps you focused on God's work in your life?
Comment below to give other ideas for reminders.