Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

Growing Servants

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, NI)

Evening drapes the little cabin in the Michigan woods. We rent this place every summer. We’re all close, the seven of us, enjoying a board game before bed. Isaiah is at my side, and when the room is rich with chatter, he leans over and whispers in my ear.

“Can we get up extra early tomorrow? To make breakfast for everyone? You and me?” His hand cups his mouth, and he speaks in low tones.

I do a mental inventory of the fridge because the grocery store is miles away.

“Yes,” I whisper. I cup my hand, too, as if to protect these words. “We can do that. Can you get up crazy early? Before the sun starts to shine?”

Isaiah nods. It’s his turn to roll the die, but before he does, he winks. There is a secret between us. This little man and me.

Morning comes and I climb the stairs to the loft. Isaiah is curled tight against the morning chill. But when I whisper in his ear, he wakes. Anticipation is joy that settles on his small, summer-brown face.

“Is it time?” he asks.

“It is. It’s time to bless Dad and the boys,” I say.

Shawnelle's son cracks eggs into a bowl.A few minutes later, we’re at the rustic dining room table. Isaiah has a bowl and a carton of eggs. I show him how to tap the egg against the bowl’s edge to crack the smooth, cold shell. He gives it a mighty rap.

“Good job,” I say.

The egg slides from the shell to the bowl.

We continue on that way for what seems a long time. We whisper and fish around in the raw eggs for a fair amount of fragmented shells. I decide that breakfast may indeed hold an unexpected crunch.

But it’s okay. Watching this boy learning to serve others moves my soul.

Serving others is a key component to our love relationship with the Lord. Jesus tells us to shine our lights, and that others will see our good deeds and be drawn to our Father in heaven. Serving others in love honors God. Loving others gives Him glory.

Lord, develop hearts to serve others. Thank you for the family, the perfect training ground for serving. Compel us to stretch forward. To reach others with your life-giving truth. Let us have the eyes to see and the desire to serve others in your grace and love.

I hand Isaiah a whisk, and he’s beating the eggs wildly as Gabe comes, rumple-headed, down the stairs. I’ll put him on bacon duty, and he can be part of this serving, too.

One day I hope that these boys will be men with a passion for serving their own families, churches, communities, and the world. That serving will be second nature to them. We’ll encourage our sons to grow in that way.

But for this morning, closed in this cabin, I’ll enjoy the blessing.

Glory to God!

Serving is a beautiful thing.

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.

Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications.  She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward.  But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.