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.
(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.
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.
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.