Yesterday I received something precious – a note from my daughter.
It wasn’t just any old note. It was an expression. It was an admission that she could never have given verbally. In fact, it was something I asked her to give verbally a couple of weeks ago. But all she could say was, “I don’t really know.” She did know, but she just couldn’t put it into words until she had a pencil in her hand. Then the words flowed. She stashed the note, and I found it yesterday.
It’s all rather ironic. I think better through written word than through spoken word. I can articulate more clearly. When I speak, sometimes I forget even the most basic vocabulary. When I write – or even when I think about writing – words that I would never say explode in my mind. Why am I so surprised that one of my children would be the same?
Yet it does surprise me. In fact, it is such a surprise that I never considered encouraging her to write out her feelings when she couldn’t express them verbally. I know now. Why didn’t I know before?
In the homeschool world, one of the most oft-repeated bits of advice is to pay attention to how our children learn. Yes, there are things they have to learn. Period. But they don’t have to all learn it the same way. In fact, they cannot all learn the same way. I have heard this advice. I have given this advice. But sometimes I still miss it. Why? Because there are always things I neglect to pay attention to.
This is an important thing to remember spiritually as well. None of us are exempt from the command to go out and declare the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all expected to make disciples. But can we really accomplish this if we do not form relationships? Just as people learn differently academically, they also come to the faith from different perspectives. One Savior. One Way to the Father. But different mental approaches.
One simply hears a gospel presentation and is moved.
Another sees the power of healing and believes.
Still another must process and sift through the proof.
And yet another must see the proof through the life of a friend.
I could go on and on and on with stories I have seen through the course of my life. A child has a dream and knows that she must learn more about this Jesus from her dreams. An atheist looks at the world around him and cannot help but believe that there is a Creator. A middle-aged woman has been a church member all her life when she suddenly realizes Jesus desires that she know Him personally. Oh how the stories grab my heart in a powerful way!
Yes, each person is so different, but if we do not take the time to get to know each person, we will instead hand them a cookie-cutter path to Jesus. A path that might never mean anything to them.
I have to chuckle a bit at the revelation from my daughter. God opened my eyes before the teen years hit! Thank You, Lord! Only He knows what challenges this understanding will avert! I cannot wait to see what parts of her heart begin to unfold as she shares her thoughts through the written word. And I’m more than a little proud that she is at least a little like me.
Now I pray that this little lesson will keep me open to the hearts of others as well. May I really get to know them. May I see what makes them tick and what appeals to their understanding. And through that, may I truly be able to make disciples in Jesus’ name.