These are notes from week 3 of our fall 2012 Spiritual Parenting class, using the book “Opening Your Child’s Spiritual Windows: Ideas to Nuture Your Child’s Relationship with God” by Cheri Fuller. This week focuses on the theme, “The Wonder Window.” Please refer to our class schedule for links to notes from other weeks of our study.
When was the last time you deliberately took time out of your “normal” schedule to experience WONDER at the amazing universe God has created? Cheri points out in this chapter that children seem to naturally “experience wonder” much more than adults do. Have you ever been overwhelmed by number of WHY questions a young child can ask? Kids often wonder about stuff because they’re experiencing the WONDER of living in an amazing (and often confusing) world. We need to connect with this experience of WONDER and use those moments to share how we look at the world “through our God lenses.” This is an important part of living life as spiritual parents.
Here are some verses which Cheri highlighted in this chapter about “The Wonder Window.”
Worthy, O Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power! You created it all; It was created because you wanted it.
For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels-everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.
Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God: “God looked out from his high holy place; from heaven he surveyed the earth. He listened to the groans of the doomed, he opened the doors of their death cells.” Write it so the story can be told in Zion, so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets And wherever people gather together along with their rulers to worship Him.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.
In this chapter Cheri encourages us to think about and use all our SENSES to experience wonder at God’s world and His creation. Many of the activities she suggests are most appropriate for younger children, but many can be experienced together with older family members too. A big part of Cheri’s encouragement, through stories she relates, is to take time to NOTICE and FOCUS on different elements in the natural world. The feel of tree bark or whiskers on dad’s face, the smell outside after a rainstorm, the beauty of the clouds as they float by on a summer afternoon. Each season has unique natural wonders to observe and enjoy. Too often, Cheri points out correctly, we are so BUSY with our SCHEDULES and hectic lives that we fail to make time to experience wonder.
Don’t make this mistake this week. Your homework, should you choose to accept it, is to intentionally find a time and a place in the next week to experience the WONDER of God’s world together with another member of your family. Then come to our meeting next week prepared to discuss and share what you experienced.
Cheri shares a good story (on page 40) about a family who created some special shirts after experiencing an abundance of floral color on a trip to the mountains one year. Those special tie-dyed shirts became a reminder for everyone in the family not only of the trip, but also of the amazing colors God uses to paint our world… because that was something they discussed and focused on together on that special trip. I really like that idea of creating symbols and articles of clothing that we can wear which will serve as physical reminders of these intangible lessons we want to continually remember and highlight. God created an amazing, WONDER-FILLED world for us to experience, and we should live our lives with our eyes wide open to His glory.
One of the activities Cheri mentions is stargazing with our kids. This past summer I learned about and bought the 99 cent iPhone app, “The Night Sky.” It’s been awesome to use it for identifying planets as well as stars in the evenings. Another iOS stargazing app I have, but don’t like quite as much, is “Distant Suns.” There is a free “lite” version as well as a $10 fancy, 3rd version. I have an older version so maybe I need to try the new one. Whether or not you download and use apps like these, it’s a GREAT idea to get out and stargaze together. Looking up at the heavens together is a great way to experience the WONDER of living in God’s amazing creation.