My 3 year old wants to go outside to play. I am happy for him to go outside but I am in the middle of homeschool and I don’t want him to get his clothes soaking wet as is his usual custom. I tell him – “sure you can – but no water!”. He can play with sand, soil, grass, cups berries, sticks, spades – but no turning the tap on – no water! “Do you understand Mommy?” “Yes Mommy.” “What did Mommy say you shouldn’t do?” “Play with water”. “Thats right – no turning on the tap. If you turn on the tap, you are disobeying Mommy.” “Okay Mom.” The two boys run outside to play.
20 minutes later I call the boys in. One is dry and my 3 year old is completely drenched from head to toe and covered with mud. It is smeared all over his clothes and caked on his face. Normally, I would be tempted to laugh – but because of our conversation where he understood me and promised to comply, the frustration rises up inside me like a volcano. How could he so defiantly disobey me and stand there with a happy smile on his face. I quickly turn away and go inside so that I don’t shout angrily at him.
“Help me Lord. I feel so angry, I don’t know what to do – how do I respond? How do I help Him to learn to obey. I need grace Lord.” The Lord calms my heart. I go and start the bath running. The anger feels like paint inside me – slowly running down the walls and getting less and less.
I step out in faith – He give me His grace in the moment – now its not just me, its me and the Lord.
I have grace.
I can give grace.
I call my child to the door, still not saying anything for fear I say something in an angry tone.
We take off the muddy clothes, wipe his feet and head for the bath. I gently sponge him off. He is subdued. He knows – but he was overwhelmed in the moment by the fun of it all – he’s only 3 years old after all.
Finally I take a deep breath. “Mommy is not angry with you, sweetheart.” As I say it all the last anger flows away and is replaced with love for my little sinner – a little sinner who needs grace just like I do.
He looks up hopefully. “but Mommy wants you to learn to obey. Did you disobey Mommy?” “Yes” “What did Mommy tell you not to play with?” “Water.”
We talk – his heart is open – and so is mine.
We deal with the disobedience and God is able to work in his soft heart and in mine. We are closer together as a result.
We talk about the consequences – wasted time – missing out on what we had planned…
He is such a precious blessing – worthy of the time it takes to teach him this.
At times I have despaired over this child – over whether he will ever learn to obey.
While God has never despaired over me – as I sin in my angry responses.
He is there waiting for me… to ask for grace.
We are sinners – but we are also children of grace.
It is only as we surrendour to God each day in our imperfection that he gives us His grace.
Do you have any encouragement to share about God’s amazing grace?
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10