Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#26- Growing Pains

A Character story about tolerance.

On the way home from church the next day, Julie was unusually quiet. "Something wrong, Julie?" Mrs. Jensen asked her.
"I'm just disappointed. Karen skipped church today."
"Are you sure she skipped?" Mrs. Jensen asked. "She might not be feeling well."
"But she promised me she would be there and she wasn't. I thought that she would really want to be in Sunday school now that she's a Christian."
"So," Mr. Jensen mused, "it appears we have a baby who is not taking nourishment properly. What is the mother going to do about it?"
Julie grinned slightly, and then sighed. "I don't know. I wish she didn't live so far away. Any suggestions?"
"I have an idea." Mrs. Jensen said. "Why don't you invite Karen over on Saturday to spend the night, and go to church with you on Sunday. That way you can have extra time with her and make sure she gets to church."
"Oh, can I? That's a great idea. I'll call her this afternoon."
But when Julie called, Karen only hemmed and hawed and said she'd tell her later. It wasn't until Thursday that she finally agreed to come over, but only if she could go home right after church. When Julie hung up the phone, she was very discouraged. What could have soured their friendship so quickly?
After Julie and her dad picked up Karen on Saturday, she said little more than 'yes' or 'no' all the way home. By the time they arrived, Julie was already beginning to wish she had not invited Karen over at all.
"Oh, good. You're back," Mrs. Jensen greeted as the three entered the kitchen. "I forgot to ask you to get me a cup of plain yogurt while you were out. I need it for a starter for this yogurt recipe."
"I've got to start working on the lawn mower," Mr. Jensen answered. "Julie, could you ride your bike to Lander's corner store? It will only take ten minutes or so."
"But I'll have to leave Karen here alone."
"Oh, that's all right," Karen assured her. "I can just look at books or something."
Julie departed, leaving Karen standing in the kitchen with Mrs. Jensen. "Would you like to have a seat?" Mrs. Jensen offered. "I'm cooking up some milk for yogurt and I have to stir it while it heats."
"Thank you," Karen responded and sat at the kitchen table.
"We were all so glad to hear that you accepted the Lord at camp." Mrs. Jensen remarked. Karen gave only a slight grin. "We missed you last Sunday at church."
Karen hung her head. "Yes, I wanted to come but when I told my dad what we did at camp he said, 'sounds like you had enough religion for a whole month. You can just sleep in tomorrow.' I didn't know what to say, so-" Karen stopped talking.
"So, did you think Julie would be mad at you for not going?"
"Well, wasn't she?" Karen asked.
"Ah-h, I'd say she was disappointed, but she wasn't mad. She wants to get together with you to study your Sunday school lessons and help you learn more about the Lord."
"Really?" Karen looked up in surprise. "She didn't say much in the car coming over here. I thought she was mad."
"That's funny, because Julie thought you were mad at her about something," Mrs. Jensen remarked with a smile.
Karen looked down again. "I . . I guess I wasn't very friendly, but I didn't want to disappoint her."
"About what?"
"Well-" She paused, laboring over her words. "At camp it was so neat. I asked the Lord to save me and everything was going great and I had this really neat feeling. But then when I got home and told my dad and mom about it, they said, 'I'm sure it will wear off by next week.' I was so discouraged. It was like floating along holding a balloon and then someone breaking it all of a sudden."
Mrs. Jensen smiled understandingly. "Yes, I know exactly how you feel. And I promise you it happens to all of us. It would be nice if the excitement of camp would continue, but it doesn't." Mrs. Jensen took the pot off the stove and sat down next to Karen. "Now let's hope it doesn't get too cool before Julie returns with the starter."
"Are we having yogurt for supper?" Karen asked turning up her nose.
"No, it won't be ready until tomorrow. But don't worry, I'm the only one who eats it. The doctor says it is good for me and the baby so I eat some each day."
"You mean you eat it even though you don't like it?" Karen asked.
"Oh, yes, because my food, and exercise, and even my attitude all help to make a healthy baby. If I only think of myself, it could mean a sick or weak baby."
"Huh. I wonder if my mother did that too."
"I'm sure she did. And you know, Karen, what you take in during these early days as a baby Christian will have a lot to do with how you act and what your father and mother see in you."
"You mean my dinner?"
"No, I'm thinking of spiritual food. This new spiritual life you have is nourished by the Bible and prayer. If you read and pray each day, you will continue to grow, and eventually your parents will have to admit that the change in your life is there to stay."
"But I just don't feel as excited about it," Karen confessed honestly.
"And that's OK, Karen dear. God did not plan for us to live on daily excitement, but on faithfully seeking to obey Him."
Karen sighed. "But it's so hard to act right all the time." Just then Mrs. Jensen doubled over in the chair and groaned loudly. Karen jumped up. "Are you all right, Mrs. Jensen?"
Mrs. Jensen smiled and sat up again. "It's OK. The baby just likes to kick and exercise and sometimes his kicks hurt."
"Really? Do babies really kick before they are born?" Karen asked, sitting down again. "I thought they just lay in one position."
"Not hardly. They turn, kick, and stretch quite often. It's all part of the growing process." Mrs. Jensen paused and looked at Karen. "Karen, what do you think of a baby who kicks his own mother before he is born?"
Karen grinned. "I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt you."
"Of course he didn't. And I don't think your parents meant to hurt you when they said it would 'wear off.' They have probably never seen the Lord really change someone's life. You must be patient with them, and be the best example of a Christian you can be."
"Well, I would like for them to have the joy I had at camp."
"I'll tell you what. Let's work together as a team- you and our family. We'll pray for them every day. And when you feel discouraged or defeated, you promise that you will call us or come over to talk out the problem. And don't expect to be perfect. A big change will be noticed when you do wrong and admit it, and ask their forgiveness. How about it? Is it a deal?" Mrs. Jensen offered her hand.
Karen grinned. "OK. It's a deal," she responded, shaking Mrs. Jensen's hand. Then they gave each other a big hug.
Suddenly Julie bounded in the door. "Sorry I'm late," she panted. "There was a big crowd in the store."
"You couldn't have timed it more perfectly," Karen beamed, jumping up. "Come on, let's go over our Sunday school lesson for tomorrow. And maybe you can catch me up from last week too."

Quiz: Read the first part of First Peter chapter two. 1) According to this, what should those who are born into God's family (newborn babes) desire? 2) What will it do for them?