Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 061 Seeking and Seizing Teachable God Moments
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #061 – Seeking and Seizing Teachable God Moments
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Before we start the podcast today, I’d like to mention the upcoming Who Is Carter Foundation third annual Gala fundraiser on April 9th at 6:00 PM. The Brain Possible Podcast is fully funded and operated by this wonderful, nonprofit organization. Who Is Carter would love for you to be there in person or online! Your support at the gala ensures the ability to continue to bring you their podcasts, resources, and more into the coming year. There are two ways to attend: If you live in the Kansas City area, attend in person at The Bardot Luxury Event Space at 1616 Grand Avenue in Kansas City, MO. There will be great food, an inspiring program, live music, and unique auction items such as a stay at the Ritz Carlton, Cancun or a Guatemala fishing resort trip, and even a VIP meet-and-greet with Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill! Of course, every available COVID-19 precaution will be in place to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance.
If you don’t live in the Kansas City area, or are more comfortable staying in, you can join the activities virtually! Tune in online on the evening of the 9th; you’ll even have full access to bid on silent auction items online! Visit whoiscarter.org/gala for more information and to purchase tickets. This wonderful organization I have mentioned on the podcast before looks forward to being with you on April 9! Thank you for considering attending the Who Is Carter Foundation Gala.
Now, on to this week’s episode. Have you ever wished you knew more about Jesus? His days growing up? Imagine if He had kept a diary for us to read. I would treasure reading His day to day thoughts. At least we can learn so much about how to live through reading Jesus’s words recorded in the Bible and I am incredibly thankful for that. Of course, the more we study His words, really dig in theologically, the better we understand and can model our lives after His. Jesus must have sought and seized simple daily opportunities as teachable God moments. Just as I am sure our Heavenly Father would like us to do.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Capture all moments of life for Him. Loving Jesus is like breathing; He is the air we need to survive. The Lord cannot be compartmentalized; Jesus flows into every area of our life. As we shift our focus to continuous living with an eternal mindset that is aware of how we respond and how it affects others for Jesus, we live with a gentleness and respect for the Lord, people, and the world around us. We desire to share the hope that is in us through the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of Jesus.
Today I simply want to share a few stories of everyday life with you. I often get comments from people saying they enjoy these glimpses into our life the best. I think people just like to see how other people use daily moments to love and honor God. I would love to hear your stories, as well. After listening to the podcast, feel free to email me through the link on my website at terrihitt.com. I would treasure hearing your stories of seeking and enjoying the teachable God moments with your children or of how God has matured you personally in your walk with Him. He tenderly and intimately personalizes special moments with each one of us who have eyes to see and hearts to experience and believe.
This first story happened with my youngest about three years ago. I’m going to read it as I originally wrote it, almost in a diary form.
Brooklyn admired my rings as I was putting on jewelry today. Remembering that I have other rings I don't usually wear anymore, she went to my jewelry box, hoping she could wear one of them. I've never been one to want big, fancy, expensive pieces, but what I have has sentimental value. She pointed to a blue ring and got it out to look at. With excitement, she discovered that it fit her middle finger.
"Oh, that ring is special," I told her. "You picked out a good one. Bring it over to the light," I said.
She followed me to the bathroom and we stood under the vanity lights. Still not quite bright enough for what I wanted to show her, I swiped my phone screen and brought up the flashlight. Shining it toward the top of the ring, we looked again. The blue surface now had a brilliant white star on top.
"Oh, pretty!" she exclaimed.
"That's a star sapphire," I said. "That ring is the first gift Daddy ever gave Mommy. He gave me that ring when we were dating,"
We went upstairs to a skylight and looked at the ring again in the bright sunlight. "Another reason that ring is so special is that it reminds me of Jesus," I said. "When the ring doesn't have light on it, you can't see the star inside. When you flash the light on it, the beautiful star shines."
Brooklyn looked at me as I continued talking. "When people go out in the world, we all look the same. But when Jesus shines His light through us, other people can see it. They see Him in us, just like we see this star in the ring."
She smiled, absorbing more truths that were unspoken to her for too long. We left for speech therapy together - a mommy with one of her special daughters and a little girl wearing a ring that will never outshine the beauty Jesus is growing inside of her.
When I was driving later, tears gathered in my eyes as I thought about how God knew long ago that the ring Dennis gave me for Christmas when I was 17 would be a tool in our future daughter, Brooklyn's life to help shape and grow her in Him.
We will continue looking for miracles and living in His grace.
I deeply appreciate the way God goes before us. How beautiful, merciful, and good His ways are. We simply cannot fathom the love and care He has for us. I did not know Jesus when I was a teenager, yet God knew me and loved me enough to use a gift from my boyfriend to set a plan in place for our future youngest child to learn of Him in a special and deeper way over half a century later.
Psalm 139:5-6 says, “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”
Psalm 136:16 says, “Give thanks to him who led his people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever.”
This next story is one I shared on my blog. I will read it as I shared there.
Earlier this week I heard words that I knew might one day be said. In 15 years of adoptive parenting, they had never been spoken to me.
“You’re not my real mom.”
Instead of pain, my first thoughts were “How can I help her? What is going on inside her mind and spirit?”
Always so good with eye contact, my youngest did not meet my eyes this time. Even when we received her as ours after meeting for the first time in China, she had perfect eye contact.
In fact, her gaze was so impressive that I knew we had a fireball in our family.
I remained calm and kept my voice gentle. “Why do you say that?” I asked. “Why do you say I’m not your real mom?”
“Because you are wearing make-up today,” she said.
I began to laugh. I couldn’t help it. My youngest loves to stay home. Her perfect day includes me waking her up in the morning wearing no makeup and my “stay home” clothes.
Yes, there is a distinct difference in the way I look at home and when I go out in public.
Comfy clothes are all I wear at home. Not pajamas, but close – soft and warm clothes.
Brooklyn wears her pajamas all day – every day, unless we go out.
This was her unique way of telling me how dissatisfied she was with me.
After hugging, I explained to her that I knew she didn’t like to go to the doctor. I promised her it would be an easy visit and that we could stay home – without makeup – the next day. The next morning after awakening her (of course in my no makeup, stay home attire), I asked her if her “real mommy” was back.
She smiled and told me, “Yes. Mommy likes to stay home with me.”
It’s so important for us to dig deep into the messages we hear.
This world sends so many false messages.
As I have matured in my walk with Christ, He has enabled me to get better at letting Him discern what I believe and how I control my responses. It is so important for us to read and study His word daily so that we are not controlled by our flesh.
We can make time for what we deem important, and even fifteen minutes of study will increase our desire to know and follow where God calls. As we make His word a priority, we establish Him as a priority.
Life can be so difficult and confusing. The only anchor we have is Jesus.
Our responses, desires, and attitude, as well as actions are all a direct result from the time we spend with Him.
We have to know our beliefs in order to live them. Our Savior must be alive inside of us in order for us to reflect Him.
Things are not always what they appear to be. Words are not always defined by our interpretation.
Let Jesus be the One to guide and influence what you prioritize, believe, and how you respond. He alone will keep us from being deceived in this world full of lies.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
So often we think we know what others mean or we project our thoughts onto them. Children teach us how beautiful simple conversation and honesty are. No wonder Jesus wants the children to come to Him.
I remember writing this next piece because I was deeply touched by how God ministered to and taught me through my middle daughter.
Before I begin reading it, let me share that I’m the kind of person who wants to help people. When I know someone is hurting, I immediately want to help them find a way to make things better. Yet, God often needs to do a work in or through us before pain can be erased. Often, our trials may not be just for us to learn and grow, but for the others who will see or participate and learn and grow through them. Our Heavenly Father is sovereign. God used a dishwasher to help me remember that sometimes we just need to stand in the pain with others as we trust and allow Him to work.
Here’s the next story:
Our family washes dishes by hand (after our dishwasher stopped working several years ago). People actually get anxious when I admit that we didn’t run out to replace this appliance immediately. They say they couldn’t imagine living without a dishwasher. Do I miss it? Sometimes I definitely do! On the days we are in and out of the house with just enough time to eat and spread dirty dishes everywhere, I really miss it. Most days, no.
I cherish the time spent with my family while completing chores together. We have a system.
Usually, I wash and rinse dishes, and Marissa dries and puts them away. Many times, my husband will join in to help dry and put the dishes away, too.
While we take care of dishes, Brooklyn folds and puts away the laundry we washed that day (she brings it to the kitchen to work on). May I share that she doesn’t just fold it. The items look professionally pressed. She “hand irons” pieces as she folds, lovingly forming soft creases in the fabric that express her deep gratitude for us, her beloved family.
My mother’s eye observes and treasures special qualities God blessed us with in our home, and the way we commit their use to one another in His honor. We usually have the best discussions while everyone is gathered together without distractions. Often, we sing and dance while music is played and we always find something to laugh about. Even the dogs join in. Can you believe our Mini Schnauzer loves us to sing to her?
One day last week, the girls and I were listening to a variety of songs as we worked. Naively, I chose one that I had not listened to in years. Instruments sounded the opening chords of a piece I used to enjoy with my oldest daughter, Jaime in her teen years.
A realization pierced me. I have officially lived twice as long as Jaime.
My age is 58 years. My beloved daughter died at age 29.
Then, another thought occurred. Jaime was born when I was 18. It has been 10 years since she passed away. That means I have now lived a total of 28 years of my life without her.
Now I have lived a little over half of my life without her. My heart seized at the realization. I wept.
My pain wasn’t expressed in a loud, sobbing cry, but with a quiet, resigned sadness that understands I cannot change anything, yet accepts that sorrow will always line my soul with the painful loss only God has carried me through. Soon, the years will begin adding up so that I have lived more and more of my life without her.
It’s not supposed to be that way.
Children are supposed to live longer than parents.
The imperfections in this world could rip apart our relationship with God. Yet, He doesn’t desire it to. “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.” Psalm 91:4
He created us to desire Him. Not only in the good times. A best friend cradles and carries you. They never leave your side in the hardest moments. That is Jesus. My best friend.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
As my silent tears exposed my grief, Marissa tightly hugged me. We shared the longest embrace I can remember.
Wishing she could erase my pain, yet understanding that I had to embrace this season of it, my daughter simply and bravely stood with me in it. She acknowledged my grief and loved me in it.
Just like Jesus does.
Our broken dishwasher was a catalyst for the continued work the Lord was crafting in my personal journey, as well as in our family connection.
The multi-faceted mystery of God is so much more than we see or imagine. Faith continues growing in our home. In our lives. In our hearts. In the actions of my children.
I am immensely thankful for the love we share each day. I’m also grateful for the tears.
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35
Just like me. Just like you.
“You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8 Jesus is so concerned about our pain that He lovingly keeps track of what we do and what happens to us, storing our tears in a bottle, personally and intimately caring about every single event that occurs in our lives.
Beautiful examples are modeled for us to follow for others.
Marissa couldn’t store my tears or pain in a bottle, but she could stand with me.
In the pain. No words needed.
Just like Jesus.
Living with eternal perspective means that we must condition ourselves to look for Jesus in the ordinary pockets of life.
Hopefully, the more get accustomed to living that way, we get better and eventually live more with that mindset than without.
My next piece exposed my desire to protect my daughter, but without the mind and heartset that Jesus would have me model for her. We must strive to adjust and keep all areas in our life focused on Him properly. Yet, even through our mistakes, Jesus knits good together despite the tattered threads of our unraveling attempts to be like Him. Let me expose my mistake and the way God redeemed it through working a good work in me for my daughters to see.
Last week, I specifically asked God to humble me and allow me to become more like Him. As I whispered the words I truly meant, I knew that I was “asking for trouble.” Sometimes the prayers we offer to God can be scary.
Just like when we pray for patience, I knew I would encounter both “painful” and “blessed” experiences ahead. I forgot to add the adjective, “embarrassing” to my list. As my Creator, God knows exactly what I need to become more like Him.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10
It didn’t take long.
Just a few days later I went to the county fair with my family. God was at work. I often reflect on my calling as a Christian and how that pertains to how I act and react to others daily. But, as at the fair, sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and we don’t think before we react.
In Ephesians, Paul reminds us to walk worthy of the calling with which we are called.
Sometimes, it’s hard. Obviously, it was for me that day at the fair.
“Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1b-3
I had a few frustrating things happen, but the incident that triggered me to react the opposite of how I wish I would have…was…at the kiddie airplane ride.
I’m not proud of my reaction.
We stood in line while the multi-colored airplanes twirled, lifting small children high and low into the air. I watched my youngest daughter as she waited first in line. This was her fourth full summer with us. Almost four years of her life had now been spent in the company of a forever family who adores her instead of in a tiny crib with no human interaction.
She adores family time. Absolutely treasures time with us. Going to fairs and carnivals is a delight for her.
After waiting for the planes to stop spinning and letting other riders out, the operator opened the gate for her to enter the ride area. Then he stopped and asked her to measure her height at a sign near the entrance to the ride. A sign we had not seen. My girl was about an inch taller than the maximum height requirement.
“She is wearing tennis shoes that make her about an inch taller,” I informed him.
He shook his head. “No ride,” he said in limited English.
“But she’s not really that tall,” I insisted. “The shoes make her taller.”
“No,” he insisted as he continued shaking his head.
“Are you serious?” I asked. “Whatever,” I remarked with frustration. “Let’s go,” I told my daughter as we got out of line. I couldn’t believe that he had let us wait in line all that time and then told her she was too tall, when she really wasn’t. Also frustrating was the fact that he wouldn’t admit that it was clear her shoes made her taller.
My kids (and my husband) watched me as we left the line. They were a little surprised at my reaction. Actually, I was too. No one else was as frustrated as I was. Immediately, I thought about what a bad example I was being to my family and to the ride operator.
“When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
I had a choice as to whether I wanted to be frustrated or to realize that this silly airplane ride didn’t really matter. I was acting like foolishly. My frustration began to evaporate. How could I remain frustrated when God was already speaking to me? Of course, the conversationalist that I am, I discussed the experience and my reaction with my kids while we were still at the fair.
I want to think about how what I do affects others around me. My responses can draw someone to or push them away from Jesus.
Drawing others to Him, just by allowing Him to shine, means everything to me.
I’m so glad I prayed to be humbled. I wonder what is next…
My prayer is now that I will handle being humbled with more visible grace and light as I allow Jesus to continue transforming me moment by moment.
How often do you jump in to rectify a situation or protect a loved one without waiting to see what God may have planned? His mercy is never ending. I am incredibly thankful for the work He has done and is doing in me.
I’ll share one more story today. I hope my mistakes and joys allow you to cling more closely to God and perfect your ability to see His grace, wisdom, and provisions in each moment of your day.
When I gave birth to my two biological children, I never considered bonding and attachment. The gift naturally occurred.
In my defense, I was not a seasoned mother. I was only 18 when I delivered my first child and 21 when my second child was born. Yet, I wonder if all older mothers give much consideration to the fact that not all babies have the same beginnings in life.
Even when a child stays with their birth family, there is still a need for intentional and purposeful bonding and attachment.
When we adopted an infant from China 26 years after having our second child, we had obtained many years of parenting experience, as well as ongoing early childhood education on trauma, bonding, and attachment.
Our eyes and hearts were opened wide by our innocent baby girl and the needs she carried.
Then, we adopted again ten years later, and brought home an older child. We were as prepared as we could be.
That doesn’t mean we had all the answers, but we knew where to go.
God has made all the difference. Each child is unique. Each family is unique. Each situation is unique.
But I knew; God is always the same. He has carried us every step of the way.
Our eyes and minds have been fixed on Him for wisdom, guidance, understanding, peace, love…everything. He makes all things possible. But not all things are easy.
What undeserved blessings we have received! We've witnessed miracles. Loss and grief have mingled with new beginnings that only God could orchestrate.
What brokenness we have watched God heal.
Shortly after our youngest child was home, she was overwhelmed by emotions that could not be expressed, except through tears. Although she was unable to tell me what she was feeling, I wanted to stay near – and I sat on the floor of her bedroom with her.
Our language was strange; she had never heard it before coming to America. Everything was completely different: the language, smells, foods, sounds, home, people, animals, and even the way we responded to her. Used to no attention, she was now cherished by strangers. Her emotions told me she was frightened, overwhelmed, and she was grieving all that she knew and understood.
Although I knew this was completely normal for the situation we were in, I just wanted to be close to her, for her to realize that I wouldn’t leave her in the hard places. She would never be abandoned. She was treasured.
It was hard. She wouldn’t let me hold her. She didn’t want to hear my voice. But she did let me sit near her. In fact, if I tried to move away, she wailed louder, confirming my instincts to stay.
As I stayed close, the lyrics of the Casting Crowns song, “Just Be Held,” flowed through my mind, intermixed with fervent prayers as I begged my Heavenly Father to help her.
“Hold it all together. Everybody needs you strong. But life hits you out of nowhere and barely leaves you holding on.”
Yes. Both of us were trying to hold it together. She was struggling to find a way to keep her control. I was definitely praying as I sat with her or I would not be able to hold it together for her. It was extremely difficult to sit through all the wailing and not be able to do anything. My heart was breaking for all she was fighting and going through.
I thought of how God sees us when we hurt and struggle.
Song lyrics continued in my mind.
“And not a tear is wasted. In time, you’ll understand. I’m painting beauty with the ashes. Your life is in My hands.”
“Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held. Just be held. Just be held.”
If only she could just let go and be held, I thought. But there was no way she could understand the changes her life was undergoing or the depth of our love for her already.
I had to make sure I let go and let God handle the situation.
I had no answers.
I had to rely on Him to comfort her, unique to her needs, and individual to the plan He had for her life.
I wanted her to realize that she was safe. That she could trust me - trust us. That with time, she could trust our love. God's love.
Our family didn’t even know the way our love would deepen and evolve as we all bonded, attached, and grew together.
Just as we cannot possibly fathom the love our Heavenly Father has for each one of us. He has a special love and relationship with each of us. We need to just let go and simply be held. Just accept.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1
How many of us resist God and struggle for years? How many still do not release control and allow themselves to be held? How many do not realize their worth through Him?
As we believe we have released control in one area, there is always another to work on.
Nothing we experience in life is wasted. Not even one tear.
“Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll – are they not in your record?” Psalm 56:8
“Jesus loves the little children.
All the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black, or white.
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
Just as he adores them as grown-ups. No matter what we think or do.
Let yourself be held. Experience transformation through Him.
He truly is (more than) enough for all of our needs.
Seek and seize the teachable moments God places before you and your children. Wear His eyes to see and experience His heart to believe.
Father God, we thank you that you love us through our imperfections, but You don’t leave us there when we seek You. Thank you for offering a bridge for us to come straight to You through Jesus. Father, help us be more aware of Your presence in our life daily. Without You, we are nothing. God, we need You desperately! Help us to please You more each moment as we see and show You more clearly in our lives. Thank you for revealing Yourself through daily life, in the large and small moments that speak to us so intimately. Help us use those times, hard and easy, to cling more closely to You and shift our behaviors and thoughts to match Yours. In Your Precious name we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. I’m thrilled to share that my latest free resource, “Scattering Seeds: Planting Character and Faith in Your Child” has released! This eBook is an excellent encouragement and support for mothers or grandmothers of young children. I encourage you to visit terrihitt.com to access and download it soon.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.