Thursday, February 28, 2013

He Spilled The Beans.

Each season of my life has driven me closer to the Lord and the deeper I get in the wilderness of this journey, the more I find myself not looking forward for the next step, but looking up.  In adolescence He taught me the importance of having a love relationship with Him.  In college He taught me total and absolute reliance on Him.  In early adulthood He taught me to trust Him.  And in between and during all those stages, He has taught me countless lessons on His goodness, His everlasting love, His sovereignty, and I could go on.  All of my life experiences bring about a new truth about my Jesus.  My God.

But Motherhood.  Motherhood drives me to the cross like nothing I have ever experienced.  It gives me a truer understanding of God's love, and a deeper longing for His wisdom.  It is the single most humbling role I've ever had and the most challenging journey I've ever embarked upon. "God, breathe through me" is my unchanging prayer every single day.  

Levi, by nature, is a very rule-following, sweet natured little boy.  He wants nothing more than to please his Mommy and Daddy, and he truly tries his hardest to keep peace and do the right thing.  Having a child with this nature, we are praying that he will live his life not seeking to please us (his parents, or anyone else for that matter) but living to please God.  I am a very "yay mom" in that I encourage him all the time.  And that may be a reason he tries so hard to please us.  He likes the "yays" - who doesn't like the "yays"?  While still being the ever-encouraging mom (it's just how I am!) I am working on telling Levi that I love seeing Christ work through him by the way he shares his toys.  Or that I love seeing Jesus shine through his personality by how sweet he was to his friends.  I am working on showing Levi that HE is not innately good - but Jesus.  Always Jesus.

(Moms, please read Give Them Grace - it is absolutely amazing, and has been magnificently eye opening for me.)

Living out the gospel before our children is tough.  It's tough because, if you're an at-home parent, they are with us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  They see ALL of us - everything from the "supermom" days to the "superawfulineedhelp" days.  And I think because of that, we as their mommy's have such a great influence on our children.  When we're sweet and happy - we're showing Jesus!  When we're tired and snappy - we're showing our desperate NEED for Jesus.  And I think it is so important to talk through and about those times with your child.

For Instance.

(Da Da Daaaahhhh....)

The other evening we were expecting company, and I spent the whole day picking up toys, cleaning bathrooms, picking up toys, vacuuming, picking up toys, dusting and ... picking up toys.  Not 5 minutes before the guests arrived, Levi went into the kitchen to throw something away.  I told him "be real careful, because your tub of beans is sitting on the trashcan."

I heard him creeping quietly in the kitchen and then .... CRASH.

Beans.  Everywhere.

I jumped up ran in there and there stood a wide eyed Weebie looking like he saw a ghost.

"LEVI! What did I tell you?!?! Ahhhhh!" I groaned loudly.

He stood there quietly and said, "I'm sorry, Mommy."

Frustrated, I grabbed a broom and hastily said, "Please go in the other room.  I need to clean this up."

At this point, the guests texted me and said they were almost here.

Perfect.

I got the mess cleaned up, felt an awful tugging on my heart and went into the living room.  Levi was nowhere to be found.  I peeked into his bedroom and there he was - kneeling in front of his little toy bins, just sitting there with his head down.

Dagger. In. The. Heart.

"Levi?" I quietly said.

He turned around and had tears streaming down his eyes.  I almost lost it then and there.  What am I saying, I'm bawling now just remembering it!  Ugh.  Seriously.  I hate this story.  I hate it.

I proceeded to hold him in my arms as he cried and I told him I was sorry.  I told him that Mommy overreacted and I shouldn't have raised my voice at him - that I knew it was an accident.  He cried harder when I apologized and he hugged me tightly.  I told him that I make mistakes, just like everyone does, and that I was wrong. And, I asked him to forgive me.

(I'm not saying we shouldn't get on to our children if something like this happens.  But in this instance, I knew my heart - and it was ME, not Levi, who needed the correction.  It was a true mistake on his part, and I overreacted all for the sake of "what my guests might think".)

(And if my guests think I typically just have beans strewn about everywhere and take offense to that, well, then let them be offended.  It bothered me that I let what they might think determine my attitude and my reaction to my child.  Of course, had they walked in during the midst of it all, they would have understood. This is another part of my sin nature - worrying about what they might think/say and putting on the facade my kitchen is always as spotless as it was moments before the beans spilled.  Psshhh, they should have seen it 3 hours before that!)

This was such a reminder to me that it is so important to show our children that we aren't perfect, and that just like them, WE NEED JESUS.  Seeing us make mistakes, seeing us own up to those mistakes, and seeing us ask Jesus for forgiveness for those mistakes are some of the best lessons our babies can learn from us.  We are showing them the meaning of salvation through Christ!

Salvation is not perfection.  Salvation is grace from our imperfection.

I think so often children see their parents as "perfect", since we are the ones who set the rules and we are the ones who correct and discipline.  And because they never see us get disciplined (by God), they think we never do anything wrong.  What a horrible thought for our children to have!  And such a misconstrued conceptualization of salvation for such young minds.  They need to know that we sin and fall short of the glory of God - they need to see us make mistakes and come to a point of humility before God ... they need to SEE us live out what true salvation really means if we ever want them to understand it. 

As much as I hate this story, I know God orchestrated it.  It was a little incident, but a huge lesson for me.  And hopefully, for Levi, too.

I pray I always remember this "bean story" in the future when I inevitably overreact throughout the years of my childrens' lives.  Or, when I just flat out mess up royally!  And, I hope that through those experiences, my children see me always go back to Jesus.  If I show them anything in my lifetime, I want them to see me driven to the feet of Jesus. 

And their precious little lives lead me there every single day.

Lord, help me give them grace.




12 comments:

  1. I'm reading that exact same book and JUST yesterday, I was talking about that same thing with my husband what you just said here about having very obedient, pleasing children and how we need to remind them too that it's Jesus who's working through them because too much pride isn't good either as they might start comparing themselves to eg. siblings or friends that they are "better". Because I can totally imagine I'm gonna be a "yay mom" too because I'm like that, which in itself isn't bad but I'd never thought of it that way. It's the balance that's important because praise IS important too, of course, because then again, you want them to have a good self esteem and a humble sense of pride of themselves. (We don't have kids yet but will have a boy in a month :) I am very grateful that you shared this story with the beans. It's hard to admit it when you're wrong and it's so wonderful you were able to do that with Levi. I think that truly is giving them grace.

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  2. Well, I just teared up reading this at work...imagining little Levi sitting there by himself crying. Thanks for letting us peek into you and your family's lives. :) Sweet post.

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  3. Thank you so much for this, Whitney!

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  4. I should probably read this post every morning as its all too familiar in my life. Loved "salvation is not perfection. Salvation is grace from our imperfection" And in thinking about it I realized salvation is grace from our imperfection, and despite our imperfection. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Sometimes seeing how big our sin nature is makes us realize even more how much bigger God's grace is.

    Levi is blessed to have you as his Mama.

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  5. Beautiful post! I am so guilty of this far more often than I would like to admit. I am a perfectionist and very much a rule follower and having children has ROCKED my world. I love it, and it has been so, so good for me to experience life this way, but it is tough. I am snappy mama often and I hurt feelings when I am. I am so thankful that God gives me grace and I try to remember that in my care and discipline. Thanks for the book recommendation! I'll have to pick that up for sure

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  6. I am a rare commenter, but I am in the middle of the same Elyse Fitzpatrick book and it is changing the way I think about parenting. My husband and I are totally rule followers and I know we have a lot to learn about what it looks like to parent by grace.
    Thanks for sharing this story!

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  7. Oh mama, I have been there. All I can say is that this was beautiful and true and Amen.

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  8. I cried like a baby !!! I feel so ashamed when I let my temper get e best of me in front of my baby boy. I like what you said about children seeing their parents as perfect.. I feel like I need to work harder to set a "perfect" example.

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  9. I have been trying so hard to own my sin before Riggins and ask for his forgiveness when necessary, always mentioning how much mommy needs Jesus. I have been amazed that at just (almost) 3 years old it is so evident that my confession to him softens his little heart (Riggs is more strong-willed so he tends to harden rather than cry in these kinds of moments!) and instantly restores our relationship.

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  10. *tears*

    I never realized how astoundingly enormous God's grace is, until I became a mom and realized how ugly my sin is. I struggled with pride so much before I became a mom, but as one commenter said, motherhood has rocked my world. What a humbling journey it is! It's funny how I thought I would be the teacher, my children the "students"....but I'm pretty sure I've learned (or am trying to learn) waaaay more than I'm teaching them. God is so good. Even on my horrible days, His grace is always there. And His love for me is never lessened by my failures. Amazing.

    I love the book you mentioned and am going through it right now. I also just recently started "Desperate" by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. So good. I'm thankful for these mentors,even though they are in book form =)

    Thank you for posting this---for being honest. Mothers need that. We need to know we aren't the only ones who snap and hurt the feelings of our babies. We're all in this together.

    Praising God for His abundant grace!

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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