Wednesday, August 31, 2011

tired explorer

There are few things as disruptive as the cantankerousness of a teething baby.

There are few sounds so pleasantly received as the tiny snores of said baby after he has been wrestled to sleep.

Little explorer in my tired arms, I lingered in the rocking chair long after he finally melted into them.  Too tired to be hurried, I smiled at the spiky flip of his hair, evidence of that angry mood that had finally been soothed away.  Flabby arms, Tylenol, and a few pats on the back had vanquished the evil foe.

Baby Tear Pictures, Images and PhotosA forgotten tear rested in the corner of his eye.  I used my smallest finger to wipe the tiny sadness away.

‘Tis but the beginning of pains, dear one.
Easily I soothe your physical pain, but what of the heart-suffering that this world will bring?  Oh son, our peace in this rocking chair is so brittle. 

His journey has started sweetly, but how far must he travel?  Through what dark and awful valleys?  Which arrows of suffering will pierce his precious body and soul along the way? 

Mere rocking soothed him to sleep, but what of my growing pains, Lord?
Are these beginnings? is it noontime? or might this old sun be setting soon?

I try to imagine life after the dying sun sets and the eternal sun rises. 

A real finish line for trials.  A sweet beginning of untainted eternal joys.  Peace unbreakable.  Pain silenced.  Fear destroyed.  Life abundant.  Life everlasting.

These concepts are so foreign to my experience that they sound like fantasy.  Yet, a foretaste of peace in a rocking chair, a tincture of grace from a chalice- these things make my heart and soul long for the day when God’s work is completed.

I will be the tired explorer, and He will welcome me into His arms.
And then, finally, He will wipe away the last drop of heart-suffering from the corner of my eye.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comfort us Lord

He leads, preaches, comforts, and teaches these things every day.  He has been in trenches that I cannot imagine, and surely I would faint if I were called to do the things my husband-pastor does on a daily basis.

He's the one with the degree, the experience, and the faith for all of this. 
And yet I am here, on the front lines, with these children. 

I am the one who hears the fear in the voice that tells me he's not feeling good.  I am the one that sits and gently pries the truth out of the crying little man.  It is my breast he buries his head in as he quietly confesses, "Mommy, I don't want to die."

I am wholly inadequate for this job.

Oh Father,
Some problems are too big for mere mommy-love.  We face terrors greater than our strength.  Lord, comfort your weak children.  We tremble under the shadow of death together, and there is no place for us to turn but to You.

My arms alone are not sufficient. Combine my embrace with Your strong Word, and make a balm for the soul of this young man.

Under His Wing

Comfort, O comfort us, Your people.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let the punishment fit the crime, and also, exhaust them.

I'm trying something new this week with these kids of mine, particularly the boys.

The state in our home has become such that nary a minute passes, it seems, without either an injury or an indignant wail of injustice.  They can point fingers faster than they can draw guns.  They loathe quiet.  They abhor peace.  They see an item of value intact and working, and imagine its mere presence beckons them to discover and destroy.  A game or activity suggested by this mother is instantly pummeled to bits by complaints as if it were a whiny baby brother.

I have a theory.  Their bodies are growing so quickly, it has become too much of a challenge for them to wield them properly.  The boys in particular are suddenly learning to work such large muscles, and carrying around such robust young-manly bodies, who wouldn't expect an accident or two?

In my motherly wisdom, I expect troubles and accidents, but for the good of society I know that I must accept the challenge presented to me by these young men:
I must help them learn self-control.

Accidents have consequences in this house.  So do the rest of the undesirable behaviors.  As fun as it has been to use a vast array of consequences depending on my mood and the time of day (lectures, harsh tone of voice, corner-facing, spankings, solitary confinement, privileges revoked, etc), I have decided to simplify:

They shall RUN.

Down the grassy hill behind our house, waaaay down there by the tree house, there is a bucket of acorns.  They are acorns for fetching, and quickly, by the rule-breakers.  One acorn for each infraction. 

I may make them into track stars.  I may get tired of standing there with my whistle.  But I will have five minutes peace this week.  They can't misbehave while they are completely out of breath.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

O Lord, Open my Ears...

I couldn't help but hope for a miracle up until the very last second.
Even when labor came, I hoped and I prayed. 
I thought, "If I had the power to change things, I would do it in a second..." and in my powerlessness I prayed to God who could change it.  Surely His compassion must be greater than my own.

But He said NO.  And it is a very hard NO to take.

On weeks like this, it occurs to me that our faith must appear quite strange to those who do not share it.

A child given no medical hope was instead given our love.
Her mother gave her life, what she was allowed of it, and she filled all of our hearts until they broke open.

And now, under the crushing weight of God's NO, under the severe power of God's sovereignty over life and death, we stand.  With unanswered questions, and heart-rending complaints, with trembling lips and tears, we thank God for her short life, and we persist with this wild notion that our God loves us, that He is good.

That awful "NO" is still ringing in our ears, but it is not the only thing we hear. 

It cuts through the noise and the pain, sometimes only faintly, but God's children hear it: Do not fear.  I am making all things new.


We cling to God's YES in Jesus.

Rather, His YES clings to us, 
and Jesus Himself holds us fast 
when our hearts are broken open with sorrow.

 Father welcomes all his children 
to his family through his Son. 
Father giving his salvation, 
life forever has been won.

Click here for more on grief.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My soul drops because of sorrow.
Strengthen me according to Your Word.
Psalm 119:28

bible Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, August 25, 2011

what can you say?

It is hard to be near someone in great grief.

Bearing a mere casserole or hug or word seems pathetic, almost pointless.  What good does one tiny drop of water do for an enormous desert?

The thoughts posted here, though they were written regarding miscarriage, still seem to me to be very appropriate today.

Today, we hug and cry, but we do not despair.  Our God will carry us through and beyond all of this.

Death, Be Not Proud

John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Uniquely blessed

I am uniquely blessed today.

While last night I wondered along with all of you, what on earth can be done to help our dear hurting friends through this valley, today I have been given something very concrete that I can do: watch children.

I am blessed to have Delia's sister Eliza and also four of her cousins here with us today (so the family can get a little rest.)  As I feed and entertain, I also get to sneak in a hug and a prayer here and there.  It is a sweet privilege for me to have something so tangible I can do with my compassion for this dear family.

She's tired from having been at the hospital last night with the family,
but she played cheerfully with the others all morning.

Three two-year-olds.  

She sat in Peter's swing when I put on a "song movie" 
for the little ones after lunch.
While the goofy-looking guy from the 80s sang about Jesus' love for her,
her cousin Eva put a blanket on top of the swing to dim the lights,
covered her with her own blanket that smells of home,
and gently rocked her to sleep.

Though sadness has come to near to this child,
she is right now resting in Your love.
Give rest like this to all who hurt today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

oh little baby...

Tonight I sit here and pray for a friend who is right now delivering a very sick baby...and of course the baby herself, Delia, the sweet girl having done nothing in this life but receive her parents love, who will likely depart from it before she will even be able to return one tiny kiss, one arms-around-the-neck hug.  I pray for the daddy, and the big sister too, and the whole family.

But oh, I pray for the mommy... Oh God, how can a mother's heart endure such a thing?

I lost a baby once, very early in pregnancy.  And a week later I heard the sweet words of comfort: "Children of the Heavenly Father, Safely in His bosom gather; nestling bird nor star in heaven, such a refuge e'er was given."

And as I pictured that, all I could think was....

Jesus love Pictures, Images and Photos
Why do you get to hold the baby this time?

My girls and I prayed for this family together, and my oldest daughter got a little teary-eyed.  (Oh, the blessings and trials of being a pastor's family!)  She said, "Mommy, I want to have fun, but it is so hard to have fun when your heart is so sad."  

Indeed it is my dear.  Love in this awful place hurts, doesn't it?  Sigh.  It will not always be this way.... but for now, we hug and cry together.

baby Delia, you are loved.
(Her blog is here.  Please visit and pray for them in their hour of trial.)

(And for the new folks, click here for more on our church blog.)

It's a problem.

Here's one reason it is so hard to teach children God's Law:

They know when you are breaking it.

When I teach children a rule that I break myself, does that make me a hypocrite?  
Yes, if it is my rule.  If it is God's rule, however, it must be taught.

We learn side by side, of God's Law, of our sin, and of His forgiveness and grace in Jesus.  How sad and discouraged must be the child and the mother that know only the Law.  

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth....And from his fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14, 16-17)

Father, for every sin and failing in this home, draw us again to Your promises.  Cover all the stains with the blood of Christ.  Let your steadfast love be our security, and Your forgiveness of sins be the constant rhythm of our lives.  In Jesus, and Him alone, is our hope.  Keep us safe in His hands.  Amen.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

If I were a porcupine

Rocking a baby, snuggling a big kid, wrestling ALL the kids- most of the time I truly enjoy all of these things.

But then there are those other kinds of days: when the forces of evil (hormones, depression, sin, weariness, anxiety, noise, etc) combine to create a perfect storm in my heart and my body, and I just really need everybody to BACK OFF!

And I think, wouldn't it be nice to be a porcupine?

porcupine Pictures, Images and Photos

If I were a porcupine..... then they wouldn't want to get so close to me all the time.
I wouldn't have to say "give mama a little space please," or "go sit on the other couch for a while," or "please just don't climb on me right now!" or "I said go OVER THERE!"

My quills would say it all for me.  I would be able to sit, just sit, and nobody would want to touch me.

My, wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reclaiming the cool factor?

Oh, the big van.  
It makes a statement alright.  
That statement is not "classy."  It is not "cool" or "hip" or "exciting."
It is is practical, oh so boringly practical.  And you know just by looking at it that it is full of sand and smells like chicken nuggets.

And yet, the kids still want to pretend this family is cool.
That is why they got so excited one day, when we saw this:

"Hey mommy! It's a monster truck.... I mean, a monster VAN!"

"WOW, cool!  Can we do that to MOBY?"

"Look how big and tall it is mommy!  WOW!!!  Can we do it? Can we please?"

"Oh kids, you will have to talk to your daddy about that one.
And I am pretty sure he's going to say no.

Plus, how would we be able to get the grandmothers 
inside Moby if he were that tall?"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

follow the peace

The craziest advice I have ever heard:  

Want to know what God's will is for your life?  Then just follow the peace!

Listen to this excellent podcast on "Discerning the Will of God," and rejoice in Christian freedom!

PEACE CLOUD Pictures, Images and Photos
Peace man.

Look to Christ, self.  Look to Christ, friend, and see that in Him alone is peace.  "Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)  Be encouraged, children of God, that the peace we have with God is strong and unshakable.  Under Christ we find forgiveness of our sin, comfort for our suffering, and security in His great love for us.  He promises to work all things for our good, ALL things, and His love for us is deep and wide and broad enough to allow us freedom, yes freedom, in those things upon which His Word is silent.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Song for the new Year

In all the changes of a new school year, it is good to be still and remember what a blessing it is to be loved by God, who changes not.

(from Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year)

His love abundant far exceeds
     The volume of a whole year's needs.
          Rejoice!  Rejoice!  With thanks embrace
          Another year of grace.

With Him as Lord to lead our way
     In want and in prosperity,
          What need we fear in earth or space
          In this new year of grace!

From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

For the full hymn click here

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The age of wonder

what next, brother?
Ah, age two, and age three.  The age of questions:
Exciting questions.  Messy questions.  Stupid questions.

I wonder what would happen if I dumped this?
I wonder what would happen if I threw that?
I wonder what would happen if I squeezed a tomato?
I wonder what would happen if I dumped THAT?
(Mom sighs.)

 I wonder what would happen if I hit the baby over the head with a pot?
I wonder what would happen if I colored on the counter? The table? A library book? 
I wonder what would happen if I turned off the TV during his favorite show?
I wonder what would happen if I hit my brother in the head with a train?
I wonder what would happen if I lassoed the baby?
(Ruckus ensues! Siblings react!  Mom gives a long lecture... sometimes worse.)

I wonder what would happen if I refused to come to dinner?
I wonder what would happen if I refused to eat?
I wonder what would happen if I refused to swallow?
I wonder what would happen if I refused to sit?
I wonder what would happen if I held a grape in my mouth for an hour?
(Mom decides whether to pick the battle.  If she picks it, I lose.)

I wonder what would happen if I pinched mama?
I wonder what would happen if I rode on the baby's back?
I wonder what would happen if I pretend I'm deaf?
(Mom wonders if I am aggressive, curious, or just unteachable.)

I wonder what would happen if I threw my plate?
I wonder what would happen if I throw my eggs at my fancy sister?
I wonder what would happen if I chew my eggs and then spit them on the floor?
(Mom will withhold food.)

I wonder what would happen if I tried to bite through the pack of hotdogs?
I wonder what will happen if I whine?
I wonder what will happen if we wrestle in a grocery cart?
I wonder what will happen if I grab something off the shelf?
I wonder what will happen if I grab a passer-by?
(Mom sighs, moves faster. Threatens our visit to "Chicken Nuggets.")

I wonder why mom goes to bed at 8?

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Years Day

My three children are traveling all the way across the back yard to school today.  It amazes me how such a short distance seems enormous.  They are leaving home, MY home, our little haven that we have shared all summer, and for years:  Home, where I get to love on them and care for them, where I feed them and protect them.; home, where mommy makes all owies better with a kiss, and life is sweet and simple. 

They leave home, the place that I imagine I control, and they go to school, a place that I know I do not.

Again reminded that I am a beggar, I beg for them and for myself: 

Heavenly Father,

You have called these children by name: they are Yours.  Be faithful to them as you have promised.   On the playground, protect their bodies.  In friendships, protect their hearts.   As they learn and embrace this new year, nourish their spirits with Your Word.  We do not know if this year will bring blessing or trial or both, but we do know that these are your children, and you love them more than we do.  May this school year be a year that each child learns more of Your great love and faithfulness.   In all things, especially in those things that threaten their faith and lives, hold them close to You. 

Be that refuge for them that I would like to be.

Father, sustain each of those dear people that have agreed to care for the children this year.  May they learn to see each child through Your eyes, and know them all as children loved and welcomed by You.  May they be the hands of compassion for those who struggle, and hands of correction for those who stray.  Give all who work with children abundant wisdom, patience, and love.  When the enormity of their tasks weigh heavily on them, sustain them with a word of encouragement or a glimpse of Your work in a child.  Uphold all teachers and school workers; be their refuge and wrap them in Your grace.

Oh Father, these children:  You have called them by name: they are Yours, not mine.  See, they grow and bloom as they should, yet it is hard for this mommy to keep on growing with them.  Forgive me, Lord, and do what is best for them even when it is hard on my heart. 

Grow me up as you grow them up, Father.

In the name of Jesus I pray,  Amen.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Years Eve

New Years Eve: A time for reflection, last hurrahs, and marveling at the swift passage of time. In mommy-land, it is New School-Years Eve that elicits the sighs, the tears, and the sweet remembrances. 

Happy New Year!

It is bittersweet, to see each one learning and growing so quickly. 

On a whim last week, Seth asked me to help him on the bike.  I did, and ran alongside of him.  It “clicked” immediately, and he was off.  “Good Seth! You got it! Go, go go go… wait, slow down!”   but whoosh, just like that he was out of my grasp,  free wheeling away from me.  He looked back at me with an enormous smile. 

It was a familiar feeling- Joy, delight, and “go go go!” and then suddenly, “wait!”  Wait, not so fast, you are getting ahead of me a bit!  Wait, are you sure you are ready for that?  I’m not sure I can keep up and it scares me a little and c’mon just wait!

Just wait for mommy….  I’ll catch up eventually.  But let’s just let down the anchor and stay here for a bit longer, shall we?

But here comes a new school year.  There is no anchor for seasons of life.
It's time to move along, mama.
Jesus, hold me steady.

...We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.  Hebrews 6:18-20

Friday, August 12, 2011

Not alone

Today I refer you here: to words from a pastor, comforting me as a child comforted by her Father.

Not alone.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

night peace

This was the view in my back yard the other night.  I ended the day with a sigh, and breathed in the peace of the world around me.  Some of it even soaked through to my insides, and I did praise God with a vague feeling of exhausted gratitude.  Sometimes, other people's words can better express a prayer.

"All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night"

By Thomas Ken, 1633-1711

1. All praise to Thee, my God, this night
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, oh, keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thy own almighty wings.

2. Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done
That with the world, myself and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

3. Teach me to live that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die that so I may
Rise glorious at the awe-ful Day.

My blessed backyard.

4. Oh, may my soul on Thee repose,
And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that shall me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake.

5. When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No powers of darkness me molest.

6. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Hymn #558 from The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 91:4
Author: Thomas Ken, 1695, cento
First Tune, Composer: Thomas Tallis, c. 1567
First Tune: "Tallis' Canon"
Second Tune, Composer: Charles F. Gounod, 1893, arr.
Second Tune: "Evening Hymn"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

on and on and on and on and on

Everybody just STOP TALKING!
Seriously, just stop. 

I don’t care who did what to your toy.
I don’t care who got to do that first last time.
I don’t care who was sitting there.
I don’t care who has that when she’s done with it.
I don’t care who took their shoes off in the car.
I do not care if that one is sandy or if that other one has chocolate on his face.
I do not care if someone is singing and you want to sing a different song.
I do not care if you have grass on your shoes.
I do NOT care if someone ALMOST hit you with something.

All I really care about right at this very moment is that you listen to my words:  Go to sleep.
Right now, no more talking.  I cannot handle another word.  Go to sleep.

Yzma headache Pictures, Images and Photos

God, give me a moment to inhale a bit of quiet. I need healing and rest.  

I need you to make me care again.  Amen.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

stop laughing.

The firm voice and the scowl used to work:  “Kids.  That is not an appropriate topic for the dinner table.” 
One look at mommy, and they see, yes indeed, she is serious.  I’d better stop.

But they are older now.  Louder.  They think things are funnier.  They see each other laughing and think THAT is funny too.  The noise escalates.  My firm voice tries to stop it, but alas! They think that is funny too!  And before I know what has happened, a deluge of out of control frivolity has taken over the dining room. 

Oh mothers, who among you can tame the wind?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

old injury

Aggie started her day off yesterday complaining of a headache.  She had sunken eyes, dark circles.  Of course, it is probably nothing.  Or she’s getting sick or something.  Yep, that’s it.  Just keep moving; worry does no good.

That old antenna went up again though, and I didn’t even realize that was what was happening.  Those tired eyes.  I must watch them. 

Wait, was that…?  No, it wasn’t a seizure.  Was it?  Just don’t think about it; if it was there will be more and you will know for sure.  Keep moving.

And suddenly the other kids were much harder to handle.  My eyes were on her eyes, and they didn’t want to be anywhere else. 
“What mommy?  I was just looking at that fly.”
“Oh, nevermind.  Are you feeling ok?”
“Yeah mommy.”
Oh I remember having this conversation a thousand times during that dark year…  Oh please Lord no.

We swam in the pool, and she played with us like normal.  Mostly.  I hung up towels and they helped me bring in vegetables from the garden.  She helped, and only got a little confused.  But of course that could be normal too.  I made dinner and boys wrestled and whined, and I wondered WHY do I seem to have no patience at all tonight?   I decided it was a good night for the lowering of standards, and I let them watch a movie.  I hurried through my kitchen jobs so I could sit next to her.

Sit next to her and what?  Stare at her head?  Look at her eyes and diagnose a tumor?  Stroke her hair and see her scar and beg God to spare us from another one?

I thought none of those things in words.  I simply worked in the kitchen with an ache in my arms for her.  Other demands from other children got in my way, to my immense frustration.  Why, self, are you so frustrated with these everyday little things?  Why are you working so quickly?  What are these emotions that bring up those old favorite hymns and prayers so loudly?

I finally realized what was going on when it lifted.
After the movie, two other children were complaining of a headache.  One had a fever. 

Praise God, thought this ridiculous mother, it’s just a bug!  Then, I cheerfully got them all to bed, hugs and Tylenol and compassion all around. 

Now I sit at the computer, facing what will likely be a weekend of cancelled plans and six sick children, and I feel relief.  Again we have been spared that thing I fear: a return of tumors and seizures, a return of the hardest trial I have ever experienced. 

I didn’t know it when it was happening, but obviously many of yesterday's problems can be attributed to that old injury flaring up again.  Those old fears and feelings; that scar that throbs sometimes and sends me so quickly back to my knees, reminding me that I am a beggar in all things for all things.

I beg this morning, for patience and health required to tend to these six children this weekend. I need grace and help to face even this smaller trial; yet I also thank God, and praise God, that it is only this trial, and not that other one. 

Friday, August 5, 2011


I realized there is nothing more astonishing than a human face.  
You feel your obligation to a child when you have seen it and held it.  
Any human face is a claim on you, 
because you can’t help but understand the singularity of it, 
the courage and loneliness of it.  

But this is truest of the face of an infant.  

I consider that to be one kind of vision, as mystical as any.

Gilead, p. 66

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I tried something new today

I tried something new today with the ankle screamer in my kitchen.

Normally, when the ankle screamer comes to visit, I say, "Hang on honey, I'm almost done with this and then I'll pick you up."  He has just grown past the age when he can sit happily on my counter and watch me work. He is now an EXPLORER of the busiest sort, and would explore the impact of the hard floor with his face if I let him sit up there with me.  So, I calmly explain to him that I will be with him in a minute, when my work is done.

As you may expect, he does not exactly understand concepts like "in a minute" or "later"or "just let me get this done first please."  He clings to my ankle or pinches my leg and screams, loud, louder.  
Then, my firm voice, "Honey, I cannot help you right now.  Go play."  
He screams.
Diversion: "Here honey look at all the cool magnets on the fridge."  
He looks, he whines, he returns to my ankle.
I yell for backup, "Lorraine, could you come get your brother please?"  

I have something new in my kitchen now: a rug.  My hard and dirty floors are now covered with a soft rug that appears to be a little less dirty.  

This week I was grating zucchini in the kitchen when the ankle screamer came to visit.  I tried something new. I allowed him to pull me to the floor, and I did my work there.

Wow. Zucchini.

"See honey, this is zucchini.  It grew in our garden.  Mommy is grating it so I can use it for yummy bread."
He sat with me.  He licked a piece of zucchini.  Then, he crawled away.  

Could it be?  Did he really learn?  Dare I hope that he will remember?  Oh may the boring pile of zucchini and the bland taste of the vegetable burn truth deep into his heart!  May he learn and forever understand that the mysterious work that mama does on the kitchen counter out of his little reach is really not that interesting!

Monday, August 1, 2011

all things to all people

He is still not sleeping AND he woke his sister?  RGH! The audacity of that kid!  The naughtiness, the selfish ingratitude of this child!  A child who has never wanted for a thing in his life, taking a vacation from his normal easy preschool life for even easier, more exciting days of vacation and family, not asked even once to wash a dish or change a diaper, sitting in his bed with a smirk on his face, refusing to grant me the one request I have made of him today- take a freaking nap!

 A transgression, and a smirking sinner; then, a mommy fit, and a child crumbling under law spewing from my mouth in anger.
Law he deserved to be sure, but rage he did not.  
I pause, pray, breathe deeply.  He cries.
“Just sit quietly while I figure out what I am going to do with you.”
 I want to storm out of the camper and tell his father to deal with him.

Jesus help, what do I do with this kid?
He has crumbled, and indeed he was wrong… and I was too but RRRGGGGHHHH…... 
He lay on his bed, staring at me while I prayed, pleading to me with his eyes for reconciliation between us.

I finally sat beside him, still angry but also humbled, and spoke to him of sin.  Naughtiness, sin, hurts us and those around us, doesn’t it?  He agreed, and though he was young he could easily see how his sin hurt, and he felt the sting of mine.  We spoke of the wages of sin, of the cross, and of grace.  We prayed and confessed together, and I reminded both of us of the forgiveness we have in Jesus.

We hugged afterwards, but I could see in his eyes that he was still worried.  He apologized one more time, and hugged me tightly, and one more time I told him that forgiven sin is not to bother us any longer.  Yet it seemed so abstract of a concept for this little guy.  He continued to grovel.

“Sin IS very bad son,”  I explained.  “Like … hm, something little boys care about… like yucky poop.  Have you ever seen a big pile of yucky poop on your toilet paper?” 
He nodded, his eyes were dancing all of a sudden, and he knew exactly what I was talking about.  His nose wrinkled and he giggled.
“Yes, it’s gross isn’t it?  Well, sin is like having a big wad of gross toilet paper in our hands.  But when we give it to God, and do you know what he does with it?  He forgives us: He flushes it down the toilet.  Now, do you have to worry about your nasty toilet paper once it has been flushed away?”
“NO, tee hee hee hee.”
“It’s the same thing with sin.  Once God forgives our sin, he flushes it away, and we don’t have to worry about it.  Isn’t that great?”
His smile was huge and relieved. 
His mood was transformed.  He hugged me one last time, and then skipped off to the next thing.

 I was left wondering about this conversation…  Is this a good way for a mother of little boys to be “all things to all people?”

And, will this child, for the rest of his life, ponder the grace of God every time he flushes the toilet?

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