So my wife and I were arguing. I had just spilt a little coffee on the computer because I am clumsy and was stealing my wife’s coffee (who is not clumsy) as she was doing some work on the computer. In my preeminence as a husband, I took this as an opportunity to ask her to put a lid on drinks if they are near the computer (yep, I actually tried to pull that one off). Then it was ON. We both had been carrying stresses that we were not inwardly dealing with and this was the perfect opportunity for us to “let off a little steam” at the other’s expense, though admittedly I was the primary instigator of this one. Even as I am writing this, I am thinking, “Really, Zach, asking her to put the lid on a drink YOU spilt? You’re a moron and now the world knows it.”
I was the primary instigator of this one. Even as I am writing this, I am thinking, “Really, Zach, asking her to put the lid on a drink YOU spilt? You’re a moron and now the world knows it.”
Overall the argument was a short one. I think we both realized we were tired and this was about much more then just spilt coffee. So we took a break and decided to revisit at a later date. When the dust settled, our three-year-old daughter, Grace, walked into the dining room and sat next to me. I sat at the head of the table and she at her spot on the bench that runs the length of the table. She was supposed to be having her “quiet time” (our attempt of getting her to take a nap after she had obviously outgrown the whole process of actually sleeping). Well, our house is too small to really hide any arguments, so her “quiet time” was anything but quiet. She was somber and I could tell she was trying to process all that she had heard.
Grace: What is going on?
Me: Mommy and Daddy are not making good choices.
Grace: Why not, daddy?
Me: We are choosing to not be kind to one another and that is a bad choice.
Grace: Daddy, Jesus rescues us from our bad choices.
Me: What did you say Grace? –A little bit dumbfounded at this point, I thought I had mis-heard her.
Grace: Jesus died on that cross to rescue us from bad choices. I will show you Daddy.
At this point she takes her toy alligator’s tail and her toy elephant’s trunk and tries to put together a cross and explains that she needs to put Him on the cross for me. Yep, that was an interesting way to be crushed by a 3 year old**. A range of emotions rushed through me, so proud of her while so embarrassed of my behavior.
I suddenly wanted to elevate our parenting techniques; our reading the Jesus Story Book Bible, our prayers, even the conversations we had been having about nice verses mean from her Sunday morning Bible study at church.
I suddenly wanted to elevate our parenting techniques; our reading the Jesus Story Book Bible, our prayers, even the conversations we had been having about what nice verses mean from her Sunday morning Bible study at church. Just as suddenly as those thoughts came flooding through, I was hit with the reality that she was applying and learning those truths in the midst of living in a house where her dad argued with her mom in front of her and blamed her mom for his spilt coffee. How amazing of a parent can I really be? I think I was disqualified for that award then as well as countless other times. And yet God is faithful. He was so graciously teaching me through my little girl, and even teaching her through her parents’ failures. What a wonderful God we serve. I think I can get caught up too easily in what the fruit of adoration should look like: how a parent ought to act and how a Christ follower ought to behave with the mindset that somehow my family’s and my own salvation is up to me.
That day He used my little girl learning about grace through my own failure as a husband and a father. Who knows when the next lesson will be?
I live in that unstable reality until God reminds me, by His grace, who is really doing the saving. That day He used my little girl learning about grace through my own failure as a husband and a father. Who knows when the next lesson will be? And the great part is, the more I see of His character in my failures, the more I honestly adore Him.
Do I deserve a little girl like Grace? Is it my parenting, church, or the books that we read to her that will ultimately save her? Christ is who holds this thing together and He can teach our kids through anything He wants to. I am in awe of Him. I love Him. What a great God we serve who is faithful to death for us and may our delight be to serve Him and tell His story, knowing that He is supplying our power to do so. Salvation is about Him, friends, so let’s live like it.
**Before you start thinking Grace is perfect, this morning I told her she was making a bad choice by not listening to me and choosing to not eat her breakfast. Her response… “It’s fine, Jesus died for my bad choices.” Her theology needs to be refined a bit – that’s for another day.
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