I've been thinking about babies this past week. I've thought about the sweet blessing of innocence. I've thought about the struggles and frustration. The ways that the Lord chooses to bless us and bring us joy. The heartache and pain and how He expects us to rely solely on Him. How He asks us to come to Him with faith like a child and how He loves us like the one and only in the world.
I look at the sweet faces of my children, three that are here and that I'm trying to raise with a legacy of Christ, and one looking into His striking face, and wonder sometimes, "WHERE DID THEY COME FROM????" They are crazy and volatile. I mean, I have kids with personality, let me tell ya. Happy and then screaming. Playing and then in a puddle of tears. "I chose this??" I think when they are fighting constantly and S is screaming at the top of his lungs. "WHO do these children belong to?" I ask when they scream at the grocery store for tortillas, to look at the lobsters in the tank, and for samples of deli ham. These kids are so spoiled... they don't act grateful for anything... they are just mean to each other... THEY HAVE IT OUT FOR ME!
And then, just like *that*, the tables turn and I see how babyish and child-like I can be... ungrateful, screaming, mean... Sweet smiles and laughter can turn into fits of frustration in a matter of seconds. Honestly, if I could lay on the floor, face-down in a pile of slobber and pound my legs on the ground like my recently-turned 9-month-old does, well, I probably would. I often say things that my 2-year-old and 5-year-old say like "that's not fair!", or "I waaaaant it!"but just in a more grown-up way. I'm sure the Lord glaces at me in my fits of comparison and says "Who does this child belong to?"
All the ugliness that I see in them, that I try to correct, to consequence, to discuss, and to work on, suddenly comes back straight on my head. Do they see all those behaviors from me regularly? I sure hope not, and I don't think so. But, what is the difference between them doing it to me in a grocery store and me doing it to God at a gathering of neighbors? My child's behavior, whether it should or not, directly reflects on me when we are surrounded by people that don't know us intimately. My behavior, whether it should or not, directly reflects on the Lord when I profess to be a Christian. Why do you think that people say all the time that Christians are such hypocrites? It's because we say and expect one thing and yet often act in a way that contradicts those same beliefs. It's just ugly. And yet... we are sinners.
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ...So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." Romans 7:15, 25b
Just like our children that we continue to instruct and love through the chaos, embarrassment, questions and tantrums, God does all the same things for us. We are sinners, plain and simple. And isn't it funny that some lessons we have to teach to our children over and over and over are the same ones that God continues to work on with us as well. Patience. Fear. Trust. Discipline. Contentment. ...I mean, not that those are mine or anything! ahem. Just examples.
I just love how, when I get so frustrated with them, God can open my eyes to see the truth. We all have ways to improve, things to work on, areas to grow.
Love and grace definitely have their place among the discipline and correction. We get grace from Him, just as we give to our children (or are supposed to), and all the while He tells us that in many ways we need to grow up. I know that I sure do and I'll take the not-so-gentle-nudging.
Faith like a child... not acting childish... and a spiritual maturity that can only come through an intimate relationship with Him. While I expect my children to act "mature" in certain arenas in life, I am also understanding that I need to lead by example.
"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:13-14