This is a reprint from an article in October of 2006, so you'll notice the kids are much younger! The principle still holds true today, even though they are now 12, 10, and 7. And yes, they are still right with me all the time…and I love it.
I was going about my usual business last week, and I noticed something. It was not an unusual thing I noticed; it was something that happened all the time. It is a normal, everyday occurrence. What I noticed about this thing was something that God was speaking to my heart: I have my very own disciples, my little children.
I went outside to hang out the laundry, and my 7-year old, 5 year-old, and 3 year-old followed me out to play. As soon as I went in, they followed me inside. When I went to the store, they begged to come along. When I go to church, they are following me everywhere, to the point that if I turn around, I often trip on one of them! I must admit, regretfully, that I have often wished they could just "go play by themselves for awhile," so I can get something done. But this past week, as we were at a missions conference and the Lord was working in my heart about the lost around the world, He very gently showed me the little ones in my home.
"These are your disciples," God seemed to say. As I sat in my pew, with the preacher going on and on, I realized what potential I have been ignoring. Here I have with me on a daily basis, a small group of young people completely dedicated to following me in whatever I do. They love me and want to be with me. They want to do what I do, and learn from me. What an opportunity! I can pour good things into their moldable little lives right now that I will never be able to get in later on.
I asked the Lord for forgiveness for taking such a grave responsibility for granted, and asked Him for help to teach and direct them in the right way. I soon had my first test!
Saturday morning, it was time to clean the van. Now, you have to understand a little bit about us to understand the enormity of the task of cleaning the van. We have a large 15 passenger van, and it was extremely dirty on the inside from remnants of our 4 ½ month trip. I had cleaned it a few times during our trip, but it had been awhile, and if you can imagine a family of 8 living out of their van for a few months, you can begin to imagine the disaster which we called home for awhile. It was going to be a big job, and I knew it. This job would only be made bigger and more complicated if I added some small children to it. But I knew that not only did the van need cleaned, but also the children needed to spend some time helping me clean it, so we could work together. They need to learn that work is a daily occurrence.
So, we set out to clean the van. I had four helpers: all the way from the 11 year-old on down. It took all morning, and was lots of work, but in the end, we had a very clean van, and some happy kids! I told them I would give them a few caramels if they worked hard, and they sure did work to get those things! And my, did they enjoy them when they ate them! And what a clean van we have now! I made sure I told everyone how the little ones and I cleaned the van out, and all the big kids, and even Daddy oooo-ed and aaahh-ed over such a clean vehicle! How good that made those little kids feel!
They are learning each and every day. I try to drop little bits of wisdom, and now I am trying to have them work with me as we go about our days. How wonderful it is to serve God by investing of myself in my little ones! They are my disciples.