Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cleaning Rage, Garbage Bags, Law & Gospel Part 2

This is part 2 in the series. If you missed it, read part 1 here.

As I angry cleaned, I fought with the children in my head.
And I fought with myself.

Come on, Emily, what are you really so annoyed about?
How much junk we have and how they treat it!  They have NO idea how blessed we are, or how many other kids in this world would love to have even ¼ of what they have.

How much junk you have- your abundance? That’s what’s got you angry?
Well, not the abundance but the way they TREAT it. They don’t take care of anything, they break stuff, hide stuff, ruin stuff just for fun. For FUN!

Oh I see. They have not learned gratitude, or stewardship.
Right, and they have NO idea.

These lessons--Gratitude and stewardship-- are harder to learn, and harder to teach, when living in abundance. Kids who live in want learn these things more quickly. Your kids want for nothing.
Right, nothing all. And they don’t appreciate what they have.

So who will teach them? Whose job is this, Emily?
I pushed the broom around angrily.
I threw away another junky little toy just because I didn't want to walk across the basement and put it where it belongs.

As I cleaned and complained, the law laid down heavily on my back.

I can’t teach them.
I don’t know what we have either!
 I’m just as whiney as they are!
I whine about this, this having TOO MUCH, because it gets in my way!
I get mad when managing it takes time and effort, when it inconveniences me.
I get mad that they have not learned to be grateful, and then I get even more mad when I remember that I am the one whose job it is to teach them!

I want to throw it all away. Why? Because it inconveniences me. It is in my way. THEY are in my way.

I have better things to do than to teach them how to live in abundance.  If I could just simplify our stuff, I could simplify my life, and my job, and I could finally have time to breathe again. Time for ME.

And the mirror of the law again revealed my lack of love. My infraction list was long, longer than theirs, and yet...

There I stood in a basement, now clean. I stood surrounded by God’s provision, poured out on ungrateful hearts, theirs, mine. The toys, the hand-me-downs, the abundance of material blessings.  God didn't burn it all up to teach our ungrateful hearts a lesson. Instead, He gave, grace upon grace, stuff upon stuff.

And as for this mothers sin-list, He gave grace upon grace for that too. He gave me Jesus.  My sins again I hid in His wounds, the only place they can go and be swallowed up forever. And his bloody grace washed the anger, the sin, and the guilt off of me.

Under the relief of His grace I found air to breathe again, and I exhaled gratitude.

My God is gentle with sinners. He is kind, and He is good.

I must tell the children about this, I thought.

And so, the angry cleaning of this day, this time, did not end with a mere lecture, but with a passing on of grace.

Come back to hear how I shared both law and gospel with my children in the basement.

I’m curious to know if you think this strategy was a crazy one.

Do you ever find yourself angry about the blessings in your life because they inconvenience you?

1 comment:

  1. I love the conversations we have on days like that! The brokenness always ends in grace.


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