I am republishing this post today as a reminder to myself. Anyone out there need some grace today?
My six-year-old is known for saying some dinner-stopping stuff, but this past week she let one fly that I will need to remember forever. She started by saying that she loves her daddy more than she loves me. Now that may sound awful, but I was glad to hear that one. Her daddy would have been gratified to hear it, if he had been there. He is always having to be the heavy around here so he gets the lower flow of the warm fuzzies. The reason she gave is what echoed in my head and still stirs around uncomfortably in my gut. She said, “Daddy loves God more than you.” …Ouch. Wow. Really?
Of course I had a ton of questions for her. Why did she think this? He prays with them every night before bed and I have them pray. To quote her, “He prays more than you.” Then my ten-year-old piped in with, “But Mommy reads her Bible more than Daddy.” Oh dear.
I have lots of explanations for why they think these things. That is beside the point. I was left wondering why my little one didn’t see me loving God. Do I not teach her right from wrong on a minute-by-minute basis? But…have I explained where I get all those standards from? Do I not talk to her about God and Jesus and love and sin? Yes, but…
I realized I was avoiding talking to them about spiritual things because I am afraid. I am afraid of doing the classic talk-the-talk without walking the walk. I know too many who have been burned by this hypocrisy. There is no way I could live up to all the ideals I want to teach them. It is one of the hardest dichotomies of parenthood. My children see me for who I really am. They see me get angry and tired and complain and make jokes at the expense of others. They see me dance like a fool to a Kesha song. They see me laugh my annoying laugh at less-than-spiritual things on 30 Rock. This is why I don’t want to preach to my children. I’m very prone to give up doing something if I can’t get it just right.
So God in His great timing has been teaching me about grace. Not just the work of grace that He did on the cross by reconciling us to God, but the constant state of grace that we live in every moment. I realized, through the work of the Spirit, and my great ladies group, that I have been trying to reach a place where I no longer need grace. I was striving for the ultimate sweet spot where I would live consistently and be transformed into some other kind of Christian who didn’t need to feel failure or darkness or doubt or defeat. This place is one we are all to look forward to, while at the same time realizing our inability to achieve anything but human-ness this side of heaven. Until that great day, we rely on Jesus as our righteousness. Not to teach it to us or help us achieve it but to BE it for us. It is our only peace.
So now my job is to be human and spiritual with my children. I will try to do this more each day, keeping grace in mind as the motto for me and for them. I can demonstrate love for them even when they fail. I can explain to them how this is possible through what God has done for me. I’m only sad that I learned this so late in the game. The beauty part is, His great grace will cover that too.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.