I’m a lunchbox communicator.
When my oldest girls started school, I slipped little notes of love and encouragement into their lunch bags periodically, especially for big tests or on project days.
I realized, though, that my one girl in particular would much prefer funny to sweet, so I started writing her jokes instead of love notes. She liked them so much, I ended up creating an entire collection of lunchbox-worthy jokes I found online so I’d always have something to share.
This was a big hit. If a joke was particularly funny, my kids passed it around their lunch table and shared with their friends.
When I started running low on material for my lunchtime comedy routine, my friend suggested I clip comics from the Sunday newspaper for my family. So, for the first time in my life, I’ve become a devotee of the “Sunday funnies,” cutting out my favorites and tucking them into lunchboxes whenever I find a good one.
My son just started school now and he’s an emerging reader, so he’s not quite ready for most of my go-to notes, jokes or comics.
So, one day last week I scribbled onto an index card and put it in my Andrew’s lunchbox along with his apple and goldfish. I included a simple (very simple) drawing (I’m no artist) of a cat wearing a top hat. I stuck to beginner phonics and wrote, “The cat has a hat” and signed it, “Love, Mom.”
That night, I ran through my “how was your day?” questions with Andrew, including, “How was lunch?”
He said, “I got your funny note.”
Simple and sweet. It made him laugh when he found it in his bag, he said.
The next day, I packed his lunch without a note inside, which I heard about when he got home. “How come you didn’t make me a funny card for my lunch?”
I just hadn’t thought about it. I didn’t know he was looking forward to getting a note EVERY SINGLE DAY.
That’s not so easy to do, by the way, if you aren’t great at drawing and you’re trying to stick to things your beginning reader can actually read.
But it made me happy that he enjoyed it, so I made a new card that said, “Batman has a red dog” and I sketched out my version of Batman and a red canine.
That was a win.
So now when I ask him at night what he would like in his lunch for the next day, he doesn’t ask for food of any kind. He says, “Don’t forget to make me a funny note if you have time.”
I’m in this for the long haul now, at least until he can read the comics in the newspaper.
And the long haul aspect of spiritual life is what I’ve been thinking about. What is it that I’ve begun that I need the reminder to stick with or even re-engage?
I’m usually a highly-energized starter, but isn’t it so easy to grow weary? Isn’t it so natural to slip into doing what I’ve always done without attention, care, passion, focus—without moving forward?
In the past few years, I’ve had many ministries and relationships that God has asked me to lay down. I’ve said goodbyes in some places so I could start in on something new. There have been endings and new beginnings.
I remain watchful and yielded, asking and praying often, “Do I continue? Do I stop? Do I begin? Do I move on?” I seek intently and purposefully to know what God would have me do or not do.
But there are some in-it-for-the-long-haul commitments where I need some intermittent reminders like Paul’s words to the church in Corinth:
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB).
Be productive—abounding in the work of the Lord.
The only way that steadiness and faithfulness a re possible for me is because I can remember this promise: that anything I do in the Lord is never wasted.
This i s Paul’s reminder in Galatians also:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9 ESV).
It’s the reminder of harvest that helps me not give up; the reminder that God has a purpose and a plan and a blessing; the reminder that I’m serving Him and loving Him and this is truly worship.
It’s the reminder of how He loves us so that re-energizes me for the race I’m running and helps me keep at it, day after day, season after season.