Thirsty Little Elephants

We had been in the middle of a difficult discipline week.  You know those weeks when your kids are obedient, it appears as though you’re really making progress, and you feel like a super success as a mom?  Yeah, that was definitely NOT one of those weeks.  I knew I was in a great battle for the hearts or my boys and felt fearful that it was one I was losing.

One particular morning I turned on “Zooboomafoo” (the “Wild Kratts” of the previous decade) for my little guys.  I was working in the kitchen when Chris Kratt’s voice stopped caught my attention…

“And if the matriarch or  leader elephant doesn’t remember where the waterholes are, the whole herd could be in danger.”

And I felt the Holy Spirit’s gentle, yet forceful prodding…

Megan, it’s YOUR job to daily show them where to drink.

And I don’t mean where to fill up their sippy cups or lunch thermoses.  I mean where to find the Living Water that they REALLY are thirsting for.  Not just the saturation they need for their bodies to survive, but the saturation of their souls that they need to thrive.

You see, elephants are huge animals in a hot and dry climate.  They must stay hydrated and cool and often have to travel hundreds of miles to find water.  And it’s the mama elephant’s job to smell it out and get her herd into position to drink.

And my calling as a mom to my little herd?  Show them they are thirsty and tell them where to drink.

I need to strive to help my boys see their sin – to show them the law and where they aren’t measuring up.  In doing so I need to show them their need for a Savior – the only One who was and is good.  Ultimately, I need to help reveal to them their thirst and where to get a drink.  I NEED to give them the Gospel.

“Dazzle [your children] with the message of Christ’s love and welcome, and then when you think that they surely must be tiring of it, go back and drench them with it again.  Steep their little parched souls in the blessings of the good news: Jesus Christ has already done all the work that needed to be done.  When in great relief from excruciating agony of soul he declared, ‘It is finished,’ it really was.  This is the message that we and our children need to hear over and over again.”

After all, without showing them where the waterholes are, my whole herd could be in grave danger.

“Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another.  You cannot raise good kids because you are not a good parent.  There is only one good Parent, and he had only one good Son.  Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction.”

And I’m sure those big ol’ mama elephants can’t get their children’s thirsts quenched unless they are first putting the the herd into position to drink…and then drinking from that same watering hole themselves.

“Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good.  Give this grace to yourself, too.”

– Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (Give Them Grace)

Jeremiah obviously needed to remind God’s people of the same thing – to reveal to them how their adulterous hearts were running after insufficient water sources to try to satisfy their thirst.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

– Jeremiah 2:13

They had forsaken the Fountain of Life – the only constantly replenishing Source that could truly save, satisfy, and sustain – and tried to quench the thirst of their souls with temporary, man-made, and faulty cisterns that would eventually break and leak and, in some cases, eventually become prisons.

I would suggest that as moms we can often do the same things.

I can focus on behavior modification and external “goodness” and outward appearances.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I can focus on building their self-esteem and self-righteousness and nurturing their pride.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I can focus on high GPAs and athletic accomplishments and filling up their schedules.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I can focus on feeding them the “right” food and choosing the “right” schooling and orchestrating the “right” sleep schedule.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I can focus on only making them happy and giving them stuff and entertaining their socks off.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I can focus on trying to become, myself, their hero, their friend, and their wanna-be-savior.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I can focus on protecting and sheltering and hovering and holding.  But it’s a broken cistern.

I’m sure the mama elephant has many other roles and meets many other needs of her herd, but if she doesn’t take them to the watering hole, her herd ultimately won’t thrive in the ways that truly matter.

And neither will mine. Because if I’m missing the Gospel, I’m missing the point.

As moms, may we remember our highest calling.  May we consistently taste of the Lord’s goodness and drink of His grace ourselves.  May we lead our children to the Cross and tell them the story of a relentless Father Who freely adopts rebels, clothes them in His righteousness, and transforms them into beloved sons and daughters.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

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