Monday, January 27, 2014

The Cookie Jar of Grace

Happy Monday, everyone!

Just when you think everything is running smoothly, you make a quick run to the grocery store (which is literally 30 seconds away from your child's preschool) right before drop-off time. 

Heading to check-out things were still going well; I had only gotten three items...

My little guy is always mesmerized by the candy display right next to the checkout line (I strongly dislike the person who decided to put that junk right at munchkin-eye-level!), and he loves to stand and stare at all the different types of gum; he picks them up and sniffs them and crinkles the plastic around the gum box. Sometimes I let him pick a pack if I know that his stash is low at home. (He LOVES gum!) 

Right after I signed my name on the credit card box, I look over to him to say, "OK, time to go!"--- and he enthusiastically rips open a packet of gum after I had repeatedly told him that we were not buying any on this day. So I say, "Now that you have ripped open the packet, we have to pay for it. But you are not going to be allowed to have any of the gum and you will not have any for the rest of the day." I instruct him to walk around and hand it to the cashier so that I can pay money for the gum. (At this point, I'm thinking that he is understanding the seriousness of what he has done...) But then he walks back around to me and completely changes the subject, asking about something totally different, but still trying to fulfill some desire of his. I'm also trying to have a conversation with another cashier now, who I know personally, and he is interrupting over and over. I say a quick goodbye to my friend, and hurry the little guy to jump onto the cart so that we can go back to the car to get to school which we are now three minutes late for. 

Feeling negative about the way that I handled the whole situation, (Why do I question my mom skills so much?!) I get in the car after getting the kids buckled and handing them a snack, and the feeling of defeat just washes over me. (It did not help that I somehow caused the panic alarm to go off on my van, and I could not figure out how to get it to stop. There's nothing like feeling defeated and then drawing attention to yourself in the grocery store parking lot with your blaring car alarm to work you up to tears.) Ah, motherhood...

There is a point to this story, and it's not that Rush is a typical four-year-old boy, or that I am a typical mommy. It is that we are all gluttons of grace. 

You know... we decide to go forward with something that we know in our hearts God has not given us "the go" on. We do it---> it doesn't go well---> God smooths it over for us---> and we immediately start asking him for the next thing without really asking for forgiveness and repenting of our indiscretion. 

"God help me to find the right new car." You find one just slightly over your price range and somehow justify that you can make it work. All the while there's a twinge in your stomach reminding you that it was not the best decision. But you quickly move on to the next thing: maybe asking for success in a new deal at work, but using a slight un-truth to entice the potential customer. And we continue this pattern of asking for God's help, knowing what's right, but straying a bit from totally obeying, and then pretending that all is OK (remember, there's no pretending with God). All the while, God is trying to get our attention with his "panic alarm" (conviction). We may regret our choice to "slightly" disobey or even feel embarrassed if others see the result of our mistake. But we do not get serious about repentance. We are over-indulgent partakers of God's grace. We've been caught up in what God can do for us (get us gum), but rarely admit our mess-ups. We continually go to Him with our problems and requests with unconfessed sins. 

I do not love my little boy any less when he messes up. But I do want him to realize and talk about the mistake when he makes one. God does not love us any less when we sin. But he asks us to confess our sins to Him so that we can grow. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

I do not want to be guilty of regretting a sin but never confessing and taking action against that sin (repentance). I certainly do not want to be guilty of gluttony. God's grace is a free gift, but I cannot expect to continue to receive it if I continually overindulge. 

Obviously, a four-year-old cannot be expected to understand the gravity of these things, but I can be setting an example by talking through these types of situations. It's only with God's help that I (alongside my husband) will be able to have the wisdom to instruct my children in these principles. But in the meantime, I am amazed at how much God is using mommy-hood to teach me, mold me, and grow me. His grace really is amazing, and I don't want to take advantage of it. 

"The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty." Numbers 14:18

And for a little comic relief:


  1. Excellent, enjoyable, encouraging post! I'm one of the "older women" praying for you!