It is officially fall here in Tennessee, and hands down my favorite time of year! I had to run an errand last night and spotted three deer on our road so I snapped a quick picture to show Levi. Later I looked at it and couldn’t help bur marvel at the beauty in the photo.
Covid has officially made its way to our small county! Jake’s school is very small, with around 120 in a graduating class. As of Friday they have 89 students in quarantine in his school alone.
Due to the sudden increase in cases we are keeping the boys tucked in as much as possible, but we did have to make a trip to the dentist this week to check on Malachi’s tooth for a suspected cavity. Thankfully it was just a wad of discolored plaque built up on the tooth and we were able to simply get a cleaning. This was the first time Malachi had this done outside of the operating room, and he handled it very bravely. He was super proud of himself afterwards.
Levi didn’t handle it so well, breaking out in sympathy cries for his brother. His medical PTSD is a real thing, and seeing his brother have to go through medical type things gets to him too.
He has been extra sweet to Malachi this week, helping him play without us asking him to. I love watching character and kindness develop in him.
On Saturday we celebrated Levi’s 3rd birthday! Here is a sweet video from the night before:
We changed our plans last minute in an effort to avoid people/covid and decided to go on a drive through the mountains and a family picnic by the river.
Levi got to enjoy some birthday brisket and mac and cheese! We also stopped by Sonic and got each of the boys a slushee in the color of their choice instead of traditional cake.
Both of the boys were very excited to get out of the house, and Malachi was all smiles listening to the fall noises (leaves crackling underfoot, etc).
After our lunch we went to the playground at the campground by our house and let Levi play until he crashed. He was so brave, trying the big boys slides for the first time.
Jake and I always try to be as inclusive as possible with Malachi, but the larger he gets the harder it is to get him safely into the fun. He got to go down the slide at least a dozen times and our muscles are certainly feeling it today.
Levi got a special birthday gift from his grandparents that has kept him busy! He likes to ride it backwards for the extra thrill.
And so does daredevil Malachi with a little bit of rigging!
And we finished off the night with some late night pizza for Levi. As you know, he is not able to eat most foods, but he can do pizza broken off into tiny pieces. He wanted a whole slice to himself and since it was his birthday we obliged.
I stood close by and watched him bite off pieces that were way too large for him to eat. He would chew each bite, thoroughly enjoying the taste and texture. After about thirty seconds he would bring a napkin to his mouth and spit out the mashed pieces and grab the slice for another bite.
I’ve watched him do the same thing over the last few weeks with Doritos. He truly loves them, but his body just isn’t ready for them yet. He goes through the motions, popping in a chip and breaking it down, then trotting over to spit it into the trashcan before reaching for another delicious bite.
I don’t know if it is the youth pastor in me or just the way my brain works, but as I watched the Dorito scene unfold one afternoon I couldn’t help but think there were some spiritual parallels hidden in there. And the more I have watched Levi eat the more my heart has connected with his weird little habit.
When he first started to eat “adult” foods I would stand cautiously by, breaking the large item into tiny pieces for him to easily enjoy. But then one day he snuck into the pantry and I heard the sound of a bag popping open. I watched, horrified, as he shoved a whole red Dorito in his mouth.
But then I watched him start to chew. His eyes which were typically panicky when eating such large bites, were suddenly calm and pensive as he processed what to do next. That’s when the nasty trash can spitting habit began.
I instantly felt foolish as his mom, realizing that when I broke everything down into smaller, manageable bites for Levi that I was not giving him the practice he needed to learn.
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
In the same way that Levi is training himself to break down solid foods, we are supposed to be reaching for the larger and harder pieces in the word of God. It is so easy for us to find the manageable, bite sized pieces of God’s word to digest. There are so many things that are in the Bible that we naturally do as humans, like loving others.
But the Bible is also full of solid pieces that we don’t even want to attempt. When there is work involved we shy away, choosing to stick with the easy milk and not challenge ourselves. It would be like me continuing to teach the same stories about the Bible characters to the youth without progressing the story into what we can learn from them.
That verse also uses an interesting phrase of “constant use”, reminding me that once you start on solids you have to continue on solids. In the same way that I don’t expect Levi to revert to drinking baby formula once he has tasted a grape slushee and daddy’s unsweet tea. Our taste should constantly be growing as we develop in Christ. Once we taste the solids we crave more, searching for new pieces of hard truths we can apply in our lives.
The final purpose of all of this training is to distinguish good from evil. Without a base founded on God we will never be able to develop that compass the verse is referring to.
When was the last time you allowed the word of God to challenge you, and not just tickle your ears?
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
If the Bible is always saying things that make you feel good about yourself, I want to challenge you to read with fresh eyes and a fresh heart. It may just be that all you are looking for is the milk when you open it’s pages…take some time this week to search for the meat, and don’t be afraid when you find it as you recognize that it is training you for greater things.
Try to find one verse this week that makes you uncomfortable, as it highlights something that is a struggle in your own life. Talk to God about that and ask Him to help you in it.
You might be like Levi and have to chew on it and spit it out, not ready to take it in quite yet. But the practice of the chewing will eventually lead to swallowing those pieces and growing a little deeper in our faith and abilities in Christ.
On a side note, I have received so many messages this week regarding cutting back on the blog posts. Thank you to each of you who reached out. The words in them have rocked me to my core and helped me understand that God is still very much working through this silly blog. I will gladly continue writing these if it brings even one person closer to the Lord!
I am so thankful that we have a group of strangers and friends that are so invested in following our story. It helps give more purpose to our pain to see that our authenticity and honesty is helping others.