by Alisa Luciano
“Stop it, get down, take that out of your mouth, don’t blow bubbles with your milk, stop climbing on that, take the string off of your neck, stand still, sit still, talk quietly, don’t stare, please don’t eat dirt, don’t pick up the baby…”
“Yes, of course you can have a snack, yes, I am getting your snack, honey I am making your lunch right now, I promised we would have lunch, get out of the refrigerator, here is your lunch now…”
“Sweetie, there are no monsters in our house. No, none. The shadows don’t have to scare you; it’s just light reflecting in a funny way. There are no spiders in the bed, I promise. No, no monsters outside either…”
Do you ever feel like you have the same conversations about 6,237 times a day, at least seven days a week? I certainly do. Some days, I am so tired if repeating myself that I am at a loss for words. Nothing comes out, and I’m sure I have glazed over eyes as I stare blankly at the hazy figure that is my child.
I read a piece of child development advice that noted how preschoolers need instructions repeated often. This is because they are constantly learning. Once they have learned a new piece of information, they have to figure out if the old rules apply to this newly acquired knowledge. My daughter has this need for repetition. We tell her no, yes, not now, and later—over and over.
Night after night, we discuss monsters and shadows. I try to remember how the context of her world is so new and unknown. And as soon as I have that thought, I remember how often I forget or disregard God’s instructions and promises.
When I was young, I thought that the Israelites in the Old Testament must not have been that smart or spiritually astute because they had to learn the same lessons frequently. The longer I live the more I can identify with the doubts and disobedience of the Israelites.
Repeatedly, God gives us good promises and instructions that help us recognize those promises. Be anxious for nothing, but make your requests to God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). Do not be anxious about your life, God will provide what you need (Matt. 6:25). Those who trust in the Lord cannot be moved (Ps. 125:1). Fear not, I have redeemed you, you are mine (Isa. 43:1). There is no more condemnation (Rom. 8:1). God’s promises and instructions are given from the beginning of time to the end of the Bible.
Why did God give us the command to take part in Communion? “And when He had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Cor. 11:24). Because he knows we are forgetful children.
And like Israel had celebrations multiple times a year to remember God’s care, we have multiple occasions to remember his salvation and goodness. Because every time something new and scary enters our periphery, we tend to forget his promises. We take a new job, we move to a new country, we have a new baby, we suffer loss, we undergo change, and stress and we have to learn again that God’s unchanging Word always applies.
A new day dawns and my child figures out how to peel a banana and suddenly she doesn’t think I need to fix her meals for her any longer. But I am still there to buy bananas and make sure she doesn’t fall off the chair reaching them. Our lives may change, but God’s salvation, promises, and sustaining care does not.
We take Communion to remember the cross. We attend church to remember God’s grace in saving us. We read his word to refresh our wonder in his redemption plan. We grow and learn, stumble and fall, question and weep, but God will always be there to repeat his love, to remind us of his promises, to uphold his saving care for us. The blessing of repeating ourselves to little ones is that in doing so, we have a tangible reminder that our heavenly Father does the same thing for us so patiently and lovingly.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Alisa Luciano lives outside Providence, Rhode Island with her husband Nathan, and their daughters, Ava and Emme. They attend Grace Community Chapel in Seekonk, MA. Alisa is the Director of The New England Studio of Music, where she also teaches piano. In her free time, she drags her children to coffee shops and shares photography and written thoughts at Through A Glass.