Words to Grow Into

(written in 2007)

Like many first time parents, Andy and I received an almost embarrassing number of baby gifts. As I tried to sort them before Ian was born, I found the clothes to be of every size imaginable. It was the tiniest ones that seemed the most adorable to me, but my mom held up the bigger sizes before we put them away. “You won’t believe how quickly he’ll grow into these!” she said.

I didn’t.

Now I do.

Such can be the case with spiritual understanding.

This week I encourage you to explore God’s glory. “Why did God make you and all things? For his own glory.”

May I continue to share personally?

I am the only child of a man who was the eleventh in his family. Had I been male, I doubt still there would have been any reproductive expectations of me. The Dyer family had already been fruitful and multiplied.

I married into a different experience. Andy learned early in life that it was his duty to “carry on the McGehee name.” Several days after our son was born, handing him over into the arms of Andy’s father was one of the most emotional moments of my life. The pride was obvious.

But Ian is not just the McGehee’s glory.

He is certainly his Grandpa Dyer’s glory, too. And, he is my glory. For you see, in many ways he is made in my own image. Admittedly, there are moments when I see that image and cringe. But there are other moments when I see that image of myself and giggle with pride. No doubt, he is mine.

No doubt, it has happened to you with yours.

So, how do we teach them to show God’s glory? How do we nurture them in their image of God?

With prayer, because the Holy Spirit guides hearts.

But also with training, because the Bible commands. Just take a look at Deuteronomy 6.

In our house, we train by teaching the habit of giving glory. Like most families, we give thanks before meals. Ian has learned this habit. I know this because when Ian is ready to eat (and supper is not,) he runs to his high chair and with hands folded, begins saying, (yes, in my Southern accent,) “G-A-A-W-W-D.”

He has done this at the grocery store in the checkout line, sitting in the cart, angry with me because I will not open a bag of Goldfish crackers for him. Yes, echoing through Publix can be heard, “G-A-A-W-W-D.”

And, when it happens, people turn to see what they think is a sweet cherub with hands folded.

The cashier once asked me, “Does he think if he prays that the food will appear?”

I was too p—– at my child that day to answer her. But, after regaining my composure, I do remember thinking to myself, “I hope so.”

I hope that Ian will always believe that blessings follow prayers, that God acts when we speak to Him, that He always hears.

It has been in this setting that I have realized that we teach not only the habit of glory, but we teach the vocabulary. When will Ian really know that we are thanking the Creator, presently invisible to us?

We say things to Ian all day long that he probably does not understand. So, when he began to actually repeat words like cup, cat, dog, car, keys and toes with obvious recognition – well, I started the habit of saying “God” with “good.” I secretly wanted Ian’s first sentence to be “God is good.”

It wasn’t. It was “Don’t go Da-Da.” That was months ago and we haven’t heard another sentence from Ian yet.

But Ian hears them from us.

And so does yours. So, talk about God’s glory to your five year old. You won’t believe how quickly she’ll catch on. One simple definition that I have given in class when we sing “Glory, Hallelujah” is this basic – “Glory is God’s beauty.”

Books have been written about it. It is more than I can understand. But that is no reason to put the word away. Sometimes, I show God’s glory. It’s a word I’m growing into. And, you are, too. What a gift. Go show it!