When I was 15, my mom came up with a grand idea, which I was sure would scar me for life.
One of Mom’s best friends was Dixie Hazen. Dixie was the Spiritual Jedi Warrior Knight of our neighborhood. She was in her bible constantly and had the biggest collection of Kenneth Copeland teaching tapes on the planet. She would bring wonderful potato soup to our house when my mama was so depressed she would cover her head in bed for weeks at a time. Dixie would come to sit and listen. What a wonderful and trusted friend she was.
Dixie also had twins that were my younger brother’s age-6 years younger to be exact. It had been laid on Dixie’s heart that everyday should start out with her 4th grade twins saying “I’m God’s Happy Child!”-heavy on the exclamation point. Blessing her children was working with great results at her house. Although it is in the 10 Commandments not to steal, Mom chose to steal this idea and try implementing it.
I was not a fan from day one.
Mom and my Mexican stand-off would start the minute we walked out the door to head to school. She would start priming the pump being so darn cheerful. Thank goodness we only lived about 6 blocks from the school. She would pull the car to the crosswalk. My brother, who had not one ounce of pride, would spout off the “I’m God’s Happy Child” phrase and smirk a smile at me as he slammed the car door. He knew what was coming and relished my discomfort. I would watch him run across the street and fly into the school. Oh, no, I was not such an easy sell as Clay was.
I was not about to cave on this stupid mom-sense. I was much too old and this was way beneath me. I would set my jaw, fume and pout. Mom was like the Rock of Gibraltar. As we could hear the bells going off in the school, I would force through gritted teeth, “I’m God’s Happy Child!” Then I would bang that car door so hard, I can’t believe the windows in the Monte Carlo didn’t shatter. Grrrrr!!!!
Not long after that my 16th birthday hit and I was surprised by a car. Freedom! Sweet Freedom! I was in the driver’s seat now. No more parental oppression when it came to school mornings. No more dorky “God’s Happy Child” sentiments was coming from this girl’s Buick. I still had to transport the creepy little brother, but the sacrifice was worth being relieved of the unreasonable torture.
Through the years I have started to understand what Mom was doing and respect her for having faith even when blessing us looked like an epic fail. I compare her resilience to Hebrews 11:8. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Mom, by faith, invested in Clay and I, even when we were not thrilled about the avenue she was taking. She obeyed and trapped us in the car with our families being her inheritance eventhough she did not know it at the time.
While I never forced the “I’m God’s Happy Child!” phrase on my four, I would do things that caused them to be looking for the nearest hole to crawl in. I did cheers in the front yard to send them off on big test days. This tended to cause huge embarrassment at times, but they all survived and can thank me for the improvement in their circulatory system from their faces flushing. I did open-eyed prayers over them as I took them to school, which weren’t as humiliating unless we were giving someone a ride. The blessings continued to be only limited by my creativity. Now the nest is empty, so I picked up texting them bible verses to bless them and encourage them.
The texting thing has turned into a ‘blessing ministry’ of sorts. On my daily list is my 4 kids, my son-in-law, a staffer for a Kansas congressman, a young guy who has wormed his way into my heart, and 2 young moms who are being wow-ed by God. I was floored when my husband requested to be added on the list, because “you’ll text everyone else…” He is the first to remind when the day gets away and I have yet to do it. Last night a friend asked me to put her two kids on the text list, because she doesn’t have a cell phone. I sent them both a pre-scripture warning email this morning and assured them their mama kind of liked them. That’s why she asked. Mom’s investment keeps reproducing in ways she couldn’t have seen coming, as well as Dixie’s investment and the person Dixie stole the “God’s Happy Child” idea from.
Yes, I am proud to be one of many that can say I’m ‘God’s Happy Child!’