And I got pretty darn good at pretending!
I kept my room tidy, got straight A’s at school, combed my hair every day, acted respectfully toward adults…
Hearing, “You’re such a good girl,” was one of my greatest delights as a child. I mean, who doesn’t love a nice pat on the back??
The problem was when “You’re such a good girl,” planted seeds of pride and self-reliance in my heart.
I started to think that I was a good girl.
Which led me to believe that I didn’t really need a Savior.
I literally cannot make it through a day without depending on His strength, grace, wisdom, power to survive! Seriously the other day the Happy Buddy had left a yogurt cup on the table in the living room and the whole couch got a paint job courtesy of the Happy Baby. On top of that, the two brothers were fussing at each other about every 8 seconds. I was walking around our house shouting, “Lord, give me patience!” to try to keep from losing one of the few marbles I have left.
These are the words I long to hear spill out of my Happy Buddies’ mouths as they grow and learn about Jesus.
I long to see my boys clinging to God and living in His presence every minute of every day.
I don’t want them to think that their good choices or obedience come from their own strength.
We are sinners in need of a Savior.
I want them to know that God helps them grow. God causes them to choose rightly.
So I recently decided to rephrase some of my words when I see one of my boys obeying.
Instead of saying, “You’re such a good boy!”
I try to say, “I see God working in your life.”
Because any fruit, any goodness reflected in our actions, is a result of Jesus’ work on our behalf.
I want to point my babies to Jesus so that they will come to depend on Him for everything.
The kids were all playing with these fun squirt gun things.
One of the boys playfully aimed his at the Happy Buddy’s face and blasted him with water.
Ohhhh boy. I didn’t realize that my boy was part Hulk! He squinted up his eyes, glared so hard I thought his head might pop, and shouted at the boy, “STOP THAT, YOU MEANIE!”
I took the Happy Buddy aside and we spoke briefly about his reaction. He’d been learning about 1 Corinthians 13 at school, so a “Love is kind” reminder seemed appropriate. He apologized to the boy.
A few minutes later everyone was running around having fun, but he got some water in the face again, and this time, I watched him closely to see how he would respond.
I saw the torment on his face – the struggle to keep his mouth from spurting angry words.
And I saw him choose to stay silent.
Later when we were in the house alone, drying off, I rested my hands on my boy’s shoulders and spoke to him.
“Precious boy, I want you to know how proud I am of you.”
He kind of looked at me in surprise.
“When the water was shot in your face a second time, I saw how you chose not to get angry. I know that must have been a hard choice because your flesh wanted to yell and scream. But I saw how God gave you the strength to do the right thing. I want you to know that I see God working in your life, my darling. I am so excited to watch you grow in His ways!”
Well, you should have seen the look on the Happy Buddy’s face after that speech!
I feel like I spend more time fussing at him for obedience, but my goal is to be more intentional to look for the ways God is working on the Happy Buddy.
I pray that he will come to know the love of Christ that way.
That His love is less about rule following and tidy rooms and good grades and more about His amazing grace.
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8