Sunday, May 9, 2010

Drawing Closer

"Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child." --Ann Voskamp

I read these words tearfully. This is how God loves on me! How often do I wallow in sinful thoughts and words, or cower in self-condemnation?  And yet God, the Prodigal's father, is always there, arms open wide, drawing me to Himself, unrestrained love in His eyes. It is not God who causes me to struggle or suffer, it is myself! I always have the choice to run to Him, and I am always forgiven: no need to condemn myself or shame myself or hurt myself first...I can simply, boldly, approach the throne of grace.

I read these words, and the next day I had the chance to put them into practice. My normally happy little boy woke up feeling sick and acting very negative and grumpy. Where he normally is happy to comply with just about any request, this day was a "NO!" day for him. When the first "NO!" flew out of my son's mouth, my internal reaction was "NO...don't talk to mom like that" back. Instead of saying these words, I started to pray. Then, like a gentle whisper, I heard, "Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child." This would be a day for me to give a little of the grace I had been given. 

So, the next time my grumpy little guy said "NO!" I scrunched up my face, and in a very silly voice said "NO!" and giggled. He stopped in his tracks and looked at me quizzically. "No!" he repeated, more softly this time. "NO!" I said again, scrunching my face and giggling. Two more repeats, and then, my baby boy was giggling himself. "Come here and let mommy give you a hug," I said, arms open wide. Diapered bottom waddling, my sweetie bounced into my arms.

The day was not perfect after this. My little boy even had a few meltdowns before I was able to tuck him in for an early bedtime. But I saw every issue that day as a chance for me to give a little love, to extend a little grace. Instead of climbing into bed that night a frazzled grumpy mess myself, I laid my head on my pillow rejoicing because I had an opportunity to practice what God does for me every day.

I also had a chance to watch my husband practice grace with my little boy that day, and it warmed my heart. We are selling our house, and there was a showing that day. My husband asked our little guy to put away his toy vacuum cleaner. What do you think little guy did? He said "NO!" and threw a whopper of a tantrum. My husband had just woken up (he works nights and sleeps through the day), so he was caught off guard by our son's behavior. But this is how he reacted:

"What's wrong, Aydon?" stated in a tender, kind voice.

"!" Aydon says. 

"He's doing his silly no thing," I explain to dad. Tantrum stops. 

Dad asks, "Aydon, would you like to put the vacuum cleaner away by yourself, or would you like me to do it with you?"

Aydon says, "Ayna do it," and happily picks up the vacuum cleaner and puts it in his room.

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