I love my girls. They make me laugh. They tell great stories. When they all start laughing together at the dinner table? There's nowhere in the world I'd rather be. They also love others well. I hear so often from others how helpful one of them has been. How joyous they were in serving. How quick they were to jump in. It is music to my ears to hear that they are showing off Christ so well in their world.
But if you're a mom, you know how it can be. You get more of the laughter than anyone else hears. But you also tend to see more of them when they are really tired...or really ticked off...or really...well...sinful. We're not different as parents (which explains why we can be snapping their heads off one minute and then answer the phone with a cheerful hello the next, right?). They may get our best, but too often what we say to our kids, we'd never say to someone else...at least not in that tone! There's something about being at home that tends to make us feel like we can just let loose. We're so careful with others...but not those who live closest to us.
No wonder that sometimes the home can be the place where service in the name of Christ is found least. Wayne and I have wanted that to be different and have had lots of conversations about it over the years. But we're no better at it than anyone else, but we long to try...to have hearts to serve our girls with the same intentionality that we serve those boys in Wayne's life or the women in mine.
But today I learned this lesson in a way we don't usually think of...from my girls. Today they gave us the gift of a weekend away...on them. Hotel room...envelopes with money for meals and gas and an extra envelope we've never had in our house..."Fun!" It came with instructions that said if we bring home any money, they'll lock us out of the house. Hilarious.
They wrote a note to explain. It's not for Christmas or anniversary or either of our birthdays they said...
...we're thankful for the representation of Christ in the home we have grown up in...You've both blessed us in countless ways and we'd like to try and show you a little blessing of our own! You work so hard to make sure that we are raised in the best and most God-like way and for that we know we are blessed! We love you so much!Yes. I cried and cried. But I say this to you not only just to publicly thank them for thinking of us and showering us with love...but also to encourage you that God gives two unbelievable graces in our kids...really short memories and the ability to forgive their parents' sins. There have been countless times where we have needed both. But aren't little ones a model to us of this? We turn on them in frustration and five minutes later have them run to us with joy to show us something they've just discovered. Or you're whole attitude just screams when is bedtime! But instead of walking away harmed, they just lean in a little closer to snuggle...or even sweeter, wrap their arms around you and say Sorry, Mama. And I'm cut to the bone from the conviction of the Lord.
God gives us an amazing gift when He gives us kids...time for us to grow up as they grow. Your toddlers will remember almost nothing of our day to day activities...only big moments. It's not until they're much older that they will be able to remember whole conversations. So, those moments when you felt such guilt for your words, attitude, actions which fell so far short of what you know you could have given the Savior? There's such grace waiting for you. Turn around. Just say you're sorry and stand once more for Him. He will do such a good work in both you and your kids.
I've got a little more gratitude within me, but I'll start another post for that one.