Coyotes and Jesus

Dear Lindsey,

Years ago, at the soccer field with my older boys, I heard this exchange between my daughter, then 4, and another parent on the sidelines:

Parent: ”What’s your name, little girl?”

Daughter: “Christine, after Jesus and Daddy”

Parent: “Oh! Well what’s your daddy’s name?”

Daughter: “D-A-D!” 🙂

Once when my children were young, I took them up onto the back deck after sunset, so we could behold the amazing sky of stars God had displayed that night. As the breeze swept across the surrounding woods, the leaves sang and animals scurried. In the distance, an ominous howling reminded us of the nocturnal hunts occurring, while we simply enjoyed a peaceful moment as a family.

“I’m sccccccared,” my 3-yr-old said, crawling into my lap. “I don’t want the coyotes to get us.”

I was amused, since the coyotes were clearly far away, and we were clearly 30 feet off the ground on the upper deck. Before I could console, Nathaniel (then 6) said, “It’s ok, Christine”

His tone was so comforting. I smiled at the irony that he was probably the one who had introduced her fear, but I was thrilled that this time he was being so kind.

Then he continued in the same joyful tone: “You believe in Jesus, so you will go to heaven when the coyotes are done eating you.” 🙂

The talk of Jesus in our house is evident in the language of my children. But a few months ago, our pastor here in North Carolina, Stephen Davey, asked a key question that I thought I would bring home to my kids, now 14, 11, 8 and 6. “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being 100% sure: how sure are you of what happens to you if you died today?”

I thought this heaven/hell question would be an easy one for the Brady Bunch in my house. We have read the Bible together, attended church, have sung hymns, and prayed together; but their answers took my pride right to where it should be – in the Lord’s hands. They didn’t know.

I am not here for a theological discussion, but I AM here as a mother who loves the Lord, and wants the same for my children. Do you know the answer to the question, on a scale of 1 to 10? Do your children? Shouldn’t we ask? Their answers that morning were eye opening; I realized I had improvements to make in my most-important job. Feeling tugged in so many directions, I tend to look for perfection, but I know that my children’s answers to that question shook my attention forward. I love to serve at church, business, and in the community, but my priority is teaching my kids the answers to crucial questions in life.

Love you, girlfriend!

12 thoughts on “Coyotes and Jesus

  1. My answer to that question when asked of me in college (a meekly spoken “75%”) is written in my testimony. Thanks for sharing today! It reminds me to do a check-up from the neck-up on my family and our thoughts about salvation. In the works for the near future…family retreat weekend for discussions such as this, but shhh…it’s a surprise.

  2. I can relate to your situation, Terri, when you said, “their answer took my pride right where it should be – in the Lord’s hands”. I realize that I can only do so much in transmitting the faith accd to where my faith is too and the rest, I need to learn to leave it in the Lord’s hands. I have a 15 yr old and a 20 yr old girls. Praying for them everyday and lifting them up to the Lord has been an assurance for me that whatever it is that I lacked teaching them the faith, the Lord will complete, as I continue to grow in my own faith journey. Thank you for this post.

  3. Terri, I have always loved this coyote story. Your candidness in this morning’s blog reminds me that we are all sisters in our journey on earth. I am comforted to know that you too sometimes find yourself pulled in varied directions, yet you remain grounded in your greatest priority. I admire this example you set for myself and all the ladies involved with LIFE! Thank you. Love ya!

  4. Wow Terri. Thanks for bringing me back to what matters most. When you know what you believe and why you believe it as an adult, it’s easy for forget our children are such infants in their faith and we constantly need to nurture that with truth and love. Thank you for who you, knowing who’s you are and the example you are to all of us.

    • Ha! The question was never answered, so don’t think you are the only one who doesn’t know! Lindsey is a great friend who encouraged me to write a blog. I knew it would be easier for my melancholy personality to press “publish!” if it were a letter to a friend, than if it were something posted on a wall, that I would edit and edit and edit and edit. So I publish it as a letter to a friend,


      ! and any other Lindseys or girlfriends who would like to read. Thanks for asking:)

  5. “A common misconception of education comes when the definition of education narrows to the intellectual. The child is compartmentalized. He is not seen as a whole person, fully integrated with physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual capacities. Thus, if an educational program attempts to address the child’s intellect while ignoring his spiritual and emotional development, the approach is sadly ignoring the true reality of the child.” -Kevin Swanson ….I love homeschool!! Thanks for helping me lead my family in LIFE!!

  6. Had an amazing conversation with Cal tonight on this question! Thanks so much for giving us such a valuable question to ponder and chat about tonight! He told me “Oh Mom for sure you’re 100%.”
    “Why do you say that?” I asked.
    “Well because you are always doing nice things for us.”
    And the Jesus versus works discussion began……

    Love you and miss you!

  7. Terri,
    I well remember the coyote story from CD, and loved it. Thank you for reminding us of the important things in life.
    I can delightedly say it was my greatest of privileges to lead both of our (now adult) children in an assurance of their faith. I now pray my daughter and her husband have the same wonderful honor with our granddaughters. (Though Nana won’t miss the chance if it happens to come up . . . )

  8. It always comes down to our priorities. And even if we aren’t job optional, yet, we still have to be sure our choices reflect our priorities. Thanks for the “mom” perspective!

  9. Thanks Terri, for bringing up this thought provoking discussion topic! I know what we will be talking about at our next family Bible study:-)

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