The second graders stood in two facing rows. One side huddled and then a name rang out – “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Betty come over!” Betty broke hands, backed up and then ran as fast as her legs would carry her, and tried to break through the line. Oh, oh. The line didn’t break and Betty was taken into that line with a stigma of failure.
Emily watched as more and more children were called. The bigger boys easily broke through the line, choosing carefully where they would try. Success meant bringing someone back to the line where you began.
Then Emily heard it, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Emily come over!” She had been chosen twice! Could she break the line and be a heroine? Being chosen twice was enough.
I don’t know who chose my best friend – suddenly we just were -- friends – Gladys Barrett and I. When my family moved to another town when I was sixteen, that friendship was broken. Sometimes I think about Gladys and wonder about her and what she choices she made in life.
When my dear husband and I chose each other for marriage, we had no idea that it would be a 60 yearlong decision (so far!). What joy, what learning we have shared.
Being a mother began decision-making in a big way. Four children, each one is a blessing and each one is different. Those years were busy. 1952, 1954, 1955 and 1956 were important years for both of us, for each of those years, the dynamics of our family changed. The decisions each day became so important. Discipline, planning meals, clothing them, and attending church – school – all required choices. Life-altering decisions accompanied with laughter and love.
Then our four children grew up and made their own decisions with their own families. I still remember learning in a college psychology class that children should be able to make decisions. I let them choose the cereal for breakfast…. not realizing that their decisions in life would not come from a cereal box.
For six years I stayed at home until the children escaped the diaper stage. Then one day I made another decision. I went back to college and became a teacher. One workshop I attended talked about all the decisions a teacher has to make during an eight-hour day. No wonder I was exhausted at the end of the day. For 31 years I taught school. The day I retired I drove home, wondering just who I was. Now I had more choices to make. What would I do with my time? Who was I really? Those familiar butterflies still flew in an unsettling formation inside me.
When I was eight years I made the choice that underlined for a lifetime. I chose Jesus. It was Easter time and I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. I remember the peace that flooded my heart seventy-four years ago. Throughout my life, I remembered that decision -- to know Jesus and to live for Him.
Recently I realized that the verse I learned long ago is so true. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19) Jesus chose me first, before I chose Him. Jesus chooses all of us. We are chosen and His chosen people.
But to complete His choice, we choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Our decision completes His choice. When we choose Him that completes us. Can you imagine the joy Jesus experiences when we choose Him? No wonder that the angels in Heaven rejoice when each one has chosen Jesus. (Luke 15:10)
While researching genealogy and reading the words written long ago – I understand more clearly than ever – how my parents and grandparents prayed for us to know Jesus and to follow Him. That desire is now my prayer for my children, grandchildren and beyond. This consistent and continuous thread of choosing Jesus makes our choices easier. It isn’t a multiple choice in life – it is just choosing Jesus!
Jesus is to be our Chosen One. If not now, when? It is a choice we all make at one time or another. When I see a butterfly, I think about how Jesus reminds us always, in different ways, about His love and His choice! We are chosen! That is enough.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, I Thessalonians 1:4
He (Jesus) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. I Peter 1:20