It all started with Amelia Bedelia.
This past weekend my mom took my two older kids for the afternoon with an interesting challenge in mind: make a lemon meringue pie from scratch. After reading the first Amelia Bedelia book - where she makes a mess of everything except her famous lemon meringue pie - my oldest daughter was enamored with the idea of making that same dessert. And since making pies isn’t foreign to my mom, she requested that Grammy buy lemons, pull out her recipe book, and start baking!
My son decided to join the adventure because it meant going to Grammy’s house! Of course he wanted to tag along! So it was with excited smiles from the kids that I dropped them off on an autumn Saturday.
Several hours later, my dad dropped them back home with the words, “It took three hours to make two pies but they did it.” And for the next hour my son explained to me how he had been the only one strong enough to squeeze the juice from the lemons. Sister tried and gave up but he could do it. And he had squeezed every lemon. My daughter talked about rolling dough, eating pie crust cookies (Mom bakes the bits of cut off crust with cinnamon and sugar) and homemade lemonade, and spending the day with Grammy.
From an adult perspective it was a fairly unremarkable day, made a little more difficult by ‘helping hands’. But for my kids it was an event. When we finally tasted the pies after church on Sunday neither of them liked it - too sour, too tart, too yellow - but they were very proud to let everyone know how they had contributed to the making of the dessert.
I think sometimes in life we want to do grand gestures for and with others. Invite them for a five course meal, go on a weekend trip, buy the toy our kids are begging for. But sometimes the efforts that seem the smallest to us are the ones that make the biggest impact. Sending a card on their birthday, taking time to listen, texting a greeting if they’re sick, making time to bake.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Have you ever thought of building others up and showing them grace merely with your words? Both written and spoken words have such power, to build up or to tear down. It might seem like the simplest thing we can do - to speak loving, encouraging words - but we so often overlook it. It doesn’t take money or special skills. It just takes time and a little effort.
When my kids came home bursting at the seams with excitement and pride over their pie making afternoon, they were obviously delighted with the day. My mom had fun too, although probably of a different kind. But isn’t that the way of doing for others?
Photo by Anvision on Unsplash