The Black And White Horse Behind Those Trees

Scout and Sierra“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  Luke 18:16

     If you have ever driven kids in the car anywhere then you know it can sometimes be hard on the nerves.  Even just one kid!

     I grew up the youngest of three.  I was always stuck riding in the middle back seat, sandwiched between my sister and brother.  If I so much as leaned in either direction there was an eruption from one of them.  And, did they ever love to make fun of me!  One of their favorite things to do was to sing in unison, in a very annoying way, over and over, until I would be in tears, “Martha is a prevaricator!  Martha is a prevaricator!  (aka liar)Most of the time my Mom’s reaction was to tell us to be quiet, to stop it!  And then, hand out sticks of Wrigley’s chewing gum!

     When my three kids were young, I came up with all kinds of things to entertain them and keep things going smoothly.  One summer, when I was seven months pregnant with my youngest, we took a trip to Maine.  I spent most of the trip riding backwards reading, playing cards, and singing with our daughter and son.  I had even created homemade car bingo sheets for us.  Somewhere in Connecticut, after bouncing for hours over potholes made by the winter salting of the icy roads, I had a meltdown.  It was like riding a bucking bronco backwards with a big basketball under your shirt!  I told my husband he could stop the car, let me out, and I would gladly walk back to Florida!   Well, we did make it to Maine, and it was a wonderful trip.

     Our kids were normal kids.  Overall they were very well behaved, but at times they could poke, prod, pull, make faces, and make fun of each other with the best of them.  And, be proud of it!  While game playing and singing worked well on long distance trips, the short jaunts to school everyday could be trying on my nerves.  Three of the days I taught Art at their school; the other two days, their Dad drove them.  At times, they would antagonize each other all the way to school, then jump out of the car happy as larks to greet their day.  I, on the other hand, would have become a frazzled mess, a nervous ninny, from trying to keep control of them while driving.  Their Dad shared that he was also experiencing the same.  Then I remembered the old adage, the family that prays together stays together.

     Thus, I implemented prayer time on the way to school.  Problem solved?  Not quite.  When we would finish praying, it was back to antics the rest of the way to school.  First, we prayed together, out loud, in unison.  Then, each of us would offer up a few special intentions for our day, such as help to do well on a test, or for friends, teachers and family members who might be sick.  Just like Mom, they also noticed, and prayed for, the animals we would see regularly along our route.  Hence, the black and white horse behind those trees!  (To this day, I still look for that horse, but he was old then, and it has been many years, but still …)  There was also Pizza Pup, a cute little black dog that lived in a fenced yard, and was once seen mauling an empty pizza box.  His house burned down, and we prayed for a long time, until one day he was spotted at a nearby home safe and sound.  God is good!

     All was going pretty smoothly, except for that last stretch of time before arriving at school.  I hated ending our nice ride together on a negative note, so I decided, I needed to stretch the prayer time.  While special intentions were nice, I sometimes wondered if they could leave us focused on fears of taking that test, or worries about sick people.  I needed our time to end on a more positive note, so I came up with the following.  After the special intentions, we would each share three things we were thankful to God for.  It was amazing to me to see that sometimes this was harder for them than ‘asking’ for intentions.  However, they soon caught on, and I am happy to say it was happy trails for us, and for that black and white horse behind those trees who was prayed for everyday!

    My special intentions for today are that each of you feels the love of God in your heart this day, and I truly thank God for my loving husband, my children, and all the special people in my life!  God Bless you all abundantly.

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