There is a special kind of humility that comes with driving around in a used, powder-blue minivan. Especially when said minivan also has a glitter finish. I know, because I’ve been doing it for the past few months.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for my minivan. And I wouldn’t trade it, glitter and all. It just doesn’t scream cool. There was a time when, through a series of opportune events, I drove a Mustang GT. It was a short time, because through a series of not-so-opportune events, I crashed it… but there was a time.
Something tells me the powder-blue glittery minivan will be with me for a long, long time.
Anyway. I’ve done my best to become fully committed to this less-cool phase of life. In fact, I like to enhance the overall minivan experience by playing loud children’s songs, often on repeat. (Truth: I don’t actually like to do this, but I do like when the kids aren’t screaming, so if they want to hear a song on repeat, I figure it’s a small price to pay for peace.)
For the past—I don’t know, three years it feels like, but probably eight days or so—we’ve been driving around with a certain song on repeat. It’s from a cd we received as a gift, which is really a great thing, because it takes simple Bible verses and puts them to a catchy tune, so you can get the tune stuck in your head and have the Bible verses memorized. My kids have memorized lots of verses this way. The one they’ve been into lately is Philippians 4:13—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If you want to step into my world and listen to the song, here’s a link. Just play this over and over for about thirteen hours, and you’ll get an idea of how many times I’ve heard this song lately.
At some point over the past several days, I think I tuned it out. Moms can be really good at tuning things out. It’s a survival skill. Not the kids, though. They sang it enthusiastically every time it played. And every time the song ended they shouted, “Again!” Then they cheered with delight when it came back on.
One morning this week my little girl woke up and asked for a piece of paper and a pencil. She was determined to write down those words—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me—first thing in the morning.
And then the craziest thing happened. I went to drop this precious girl off at school, prepared to engage in the usual routine of peeling her off my leg and gently pushing her into the classroom while she’s desperately clinging to me. But I didn’t have to. For the first time in her life, she walked away from me with complete confidence.
She looked over her shoulder, gave me a smile, and said, “Bye, Mom.” Then she was gone.
I was stunned. When I picked her up, we celebrated a little and I asked her about it. I said, “You had so much courage going to school today! Where did that come from?”
She told me, “I just thought about the words in that song. And I thought of them so hard that nothing could distract me. And I knew I could be brave about going to school.”
Every day since, she’s walked right into the classroom with the same confidence. There’s been a drastic and remarkable change in this child.
A few days later we were out at a play place, and there was a tall green tunnel slide there. The thing about tall green tunnel slides is that they seem dark inside, so my kids avoid them. I asked my daughter if she wanted to try the slide, and she said, “No way.”
After a little while, out of nowhere, she climbed the stairs and went right down. Then she did it over and over again, squealing with joy each time. This went on for at least thirty minutes. At one point her little brother joined in the fun.
We were recounting the experience that evening, and again she told me how the words in the song gave her courage. Then she said something I will never, never forget. It’s something I just have to share with you.
She said, “That song changed my whole life.”
That song changed my whole life.
It’s adorable, of course, when a little kid talks about something changing her whole life. Because the giants in her world are small right now; preschool drop-offs and tunnel slides. Nevertheless, those words did change her whole life. I saw it happen right before my eyes.
She didn’t do these big brave things because I talked her into them or bribed her to do them. She did them because God’s Word settled into her heart, and she was changed.
God’s Word changes people. That’s what it’s done for thousands of years, and that’s what it will continue to do until the end of time.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)
I suppose there’s no better gift I can give my kids than the gift of letting them listen to God’s Word over and over (and over) again as we cruise around town in our glittery minivan. To the person who introduced my kids to these songs in the first place (you know who you are), thank you.
I don’t know what the giants are in your world right now. If I had to guess, I’d say they’re probably bigger than tunnel slides and preschool drop-offs. All I know for sure is this: God’s Word changes things.
If you find yourself in need of a change today, my prayer for you is that you’ll have the courage to look in the one place where true, lasting change can be found.
…and you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32 ESV)