It amazes me, really! I never would have known a six-year-old child was capable of losing so many things! From shoes to baseballs, golf balls to gloves, a half hour with Tyler, and the possibility of hearing, “I can’t find it”, becomes more and more probable.
The shoes are usually the first to disappear. To lose them is one thing, but what Tyler did with his brand new sandals that spring, really pushed the limits.
We had just plowed up the garden, but hadn’t yet had a chance to plant anything. Two-year-old Amy and her big brother, Tyler, found this to be a source for hours of entertainment. I enjoyed watching them as they dug. They were full of ideas and, occasionally, I would stop by the garden and listen to their plans of digging to Thailand so they could visit Uncle Luke and Aunt Amy, who are missionaries down there. Seeing that they probably wouldn’t be reaching Luke and Amy’s home anytime that afternoon, I returned to the kitchen to prepare supper.
The next morning, I told Tyler to get his sandals on, as we would soon be leaving to buy groceries.
“I can’t find them, mom”, he said. Groaning at the all too familiar words, I went to help him look for the missing shoes.
“Where did you have them last?” I asked.
“Uhmmm, I think it was out by the garden,” he replied. Out to the garden we went, where we found a shovel with a broken handle, a rake, a cup from the kitchen, one muddy sock that used to be white, and a sandal.
“Here’s one sandal!” he proclaimed triumphantly.
“Great,” I said half-heartedly, as I looked at the mess in the yard. “Now, where is the other one?”
Suddenly, his look of triumph changed to one that said “oops-I-might-get-in-trouble-for-this”, as his eyes shifted nervously towards the garden.
I turned my head to see what he might be looking at and I noticed that our one-way route to Thailand had been newly excavated.
“What happened to your hole to Uncle Luke’s?” I asked.
“Well, we got tired of digging, so we filled it in.” he said.
Hardly blaming him for giving up so quickly, I simply nodded, and continued to look for the missing sandal.
“Uh, mom?” Tyler said quietly. “I…I think I remember where my sandal is.”
”Ok,” I said slowly, wondering why he looked so serious, “where is it?”
“Well, I… uh… I buried it.”
“You what?!?” I asked incredulously.
“I buried it!” he replied. “Amy and I got tired of digging that hole to Thailand, so I stuck my sandal in there and covered it up. I think it should be about…uhmmm.. right… right there!” I stood looking in disbelief at my son, who was pointing in the general direction of the entire garden.
“Tyler, what on earth got into you that made you want to bury your sandal?” I asked. Shrugging his shoulders, he stood there silently.
I picked up the shovel with the broken handle and handed it to him.
“Start digging.” I commanded, “I’ll come back out after a while and help you if you can’t find it.” He dug for a while, and eventually I went out to help him. We finally gave up, went to find some other shoes for Tyler, and set out to buy our nearly-forgotten groceries.
The next day, Tyler and I again headed out to the garden to search for the sandal. Desiring to be a godly mother who seizes every opportunity to teach her children about God, I decided this would be the perfect time to tell him the story from the Bible of the man who had buried his talent. After the story was over, we decided we must be digging in the wrong spot, so moving to another corner of the garden, we again set to work.
Soon Bible stories were one of the furthest things from my mind. All the digging we were doing was producing nothing but a sore back, and an ever-increasing frustration with the foolishness of my child. Ignoring an inner prompting to pray about the missing shoe, I instead began to expound to my son that “these shoes cost money! And not only that, they were Nikes! You don’t just BURY Nikes! Where do you think our money comes from? Do you think we LIKE to spend money on shoes?”
Satisfied that my son had learned his lesson, we continued to dig in silence. Just when I was certain the next shovel full of dirt would, indeed, land me in Aunt Amy’s flowerbed, Tyler asked, “Mommy, don’t you think we should pray that we could find my sandal?”
With a sigh, I stuck the shovel into the dirt, “Yes, Tyler,” I said, “we should pray.” So bowing our heads, we offered up our prayer to the Heavenly Father, telling Him all about the lost sandal and our desire to find it. And as often happens, several minutes after praying, I pulled the missing sandal from the ground.
Several weeks later, I told this experience with some ladies at Bible Study. One of the ladies, Mamie, shared how this reminded her of an illustration she had heard.
“When we want to find a treasure, we have to dig. You can’t always expect the precious gems to just be lying around for all to see. You have to WANT the treasure, and DIG to find it. It’s the same way with the Word of God. Sometimes we read the Bible, and we say, ‘I didn’t get anything out of that’, but we have to DIG to find the real treasure, the precious gems. Those are the verses that become extra dear to us.”
As I thought about what Mamie had shared with me, I realized the truth in it. While I had to use the right tools to find Tyler’s sandal, I have to use certain tools to find the treasures God has for me in His Word. I began to make a list of the tools that I use. There are many other tools that we can use to find the treasures in God’s Word, but here are a few suggestions.
First of course is time. Since life gets busy, I don’t always have a complete slot of time to use to study God’s Word, but that’s where the other tools come in handy.
Next – a highlighter. I have come to love highlighting the verses that stand out to me as I read the Bible. Sometimes I jot a little note beside them explaining why that verse means so much to me. Someday, my children will be able to look at the “jewels” in my Bible, and that will be a way for them to see who God is to me.
Another tool is a three by five spiral notepad. I keep this “tool” above my kitchen sink with precious verses that I want to memorize written inside. The verses that I didn’t have time to ponder earlier are right in front of me to meditate on as I clean up my kitchen each day.
And of course, another favorite is a clear plastic sleeve taped to my shower wall. I just slip a verse inside there to memorize as I wash my hair. That idea wasn’t mine originally, but talk about “redeeming the time”!
The sandal episode unfortunately didn’t change my son’s habit of losing “stuff”. Just recently, he lost not one but TWO baseball gloves! So looking in my concordance, I grab my highlighter. I see there are a lot of “treasures” Ty could use that talk about the lost being found. On the other hand, “spare the rod…” keeps coming to mind, also! Hmmm...
©Lynette Carpenter 2006
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Lynette, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. I felt I could see you digging for that sandal. I was impressed with the time saving ways to read and think on Bible verses. One important gem I would like to leave with you: Sometimes we need to put everything else on the back burner and sit down and take the time to read and ponder on the Bible verses. Thanks for sharing. Thomas