The Grace Response

The Grace Response - learning to respond to our people in love instead of anger.One day last year when I picked up the Happy Buddy from school he immediately burst into tears.

He informed me that he had not gotten a sticker that day because he had been caught eating mulch on the playground with another boy.

Another day when he climbed into the car after church he confessed tearfully that he had been given a time out during Sunday School because he was goofing around during the Bible story.

Then there was the time we got our seat belts on and he let me know that he had gotten a ‘little wild’ at the end of the school day and had to walk laps during recess.

And I can’t forget the time he informed me that he had kicked another boy where it counts (shall we say) and then lied about it to his teacher.

Most mornings before my children are released from my care into the hands of another, I try to remind them that they are little ambassadors for Christ as well as representatives of our family and that it is important for them to do good, respect well, obey quickly, and listen attentively.

I will even often pray a blessing over them before they race to their respective classrooms.

So you can imagine that when my child comes home from school and tells me the stories of failed attempts to listen, obey, and be respectful – my flesh gets a teeny tiny bit mad.

Probably because I know the depths of wickedness in my own heart and how easy it is to fall into the trap of judging another mama based on her child’s behavior.

My kid was making me look bad.

(As I typed that sentence I felt my computer giving me a disgusted look.)

Truth is, my anger is linked to my own pride and sinful desire to have people think I am perfect and can produce obedient, excellent children.

So when I get angry at my kids after they confess their sins to me, I am really just reflecting ME and my selfishness instead of the sweet grace He tenderly, patiently, and lovingly extends to us every. single. day.

God has been working on me in this area.

He has helped me to see a few things more clearly – the first being the precious gift that it is to have a son who doesn’t want to keep secrets.

Because if I want to encourage my child to be a TRUTH SEEKER – to not be content in the withholding of his wrongdoings – to openly confess and experience the freedom of a life lived in truth-soaked light, then I have to get better at responding with grace.

And God KNOWS I want my boy to be able to confess his struggles to me as a teenager so if I am putting him down, punishing him, and making him feel bad now in his openness – it’s looking pretty certain that he won’t trust me with that info in the future.

What does the ‘grace response’ look like, then?

When Happy Buddy gets in the car and rattles off his behavior, instead of scary eye-balling him in the rearview mirror and saying things like, “How could you do that?!” or “That was a horrible choice!” or “No dessert for you tonight, young man!” or “You know better than that!”

I listen quietly and then carefully and gently ask questions.

“What made you think mulch would taste good?” (I admit, we got a good laugh out of this one.)

“Why was it hard for you to sit through the Bible story?”

“Why did you feel you had to lie to your teacher?”

“Would you want someone to kick you in the jimmy?”

Asking questions helps us reflect a little more on the poor choice so that hopefully in the future he will be a bit more discerning and a bit less impulsive.

And then I get the opportunity to say, “Thank you, son, for sharing this with me.  Nothing you  do will make me love you less.  You are a precious boy.  Now let’s pray and ask God to help you make a better choice next time.”

This same response works in our marriages too.

I remember one time the hubs and I were at a busy store with the boys and he motioned to the woman in front of us wearing some incredibly form-fitting work out pants.  He whispered to me, “Let’s walk a little faster so we can get past this woman.  It’s hard to not be tempted to look.”

As a woman who struggles with weight and body issues and the general feeling that I will never be pretty enough (again, all about me), I can take his honest, precious plea as an opportunity to get angry.

I could say things like, “Why can’t you control yourself better?” or “Why am I not enough for you?!” or “Are you saying I am FAT?!”

But if I want him to remain in open communication with me and help him feel affirmed in his honorable desire to be pure, then I have to respond as Jesus would.

“Thank you for sharing that with me, my love.  You are a good man.”

And then I may or may not have grabbed his hand and bolted so fast out of that store you would have thought there was a fire.

How do you respond when your husband confesses that he spent too much money this month?  Or when he calls to say he won’t be home for dinner?  Or when he realizes that he forgot to get the one thing you asked him to go to the store for?

The grace response consists of 2 things – the first is that it recognizes that YOU are a sinner ALSO in need of a Savior.

The second is that God is loving, forgiving, compassionate, kind, and good to YOU, so now you get the opportunity EVERY DAY to be a reflection of Him to your people.

Which will hopefully spread to the world and inspire less irrational kicking where it counts, less judging other mamas, deeper, richer relationships with our children and spouses, glory to God, and more grace, grace, grace.

A few Sundays ago we sang this line, “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.”

I like the sound of that.

– Julie :-)

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

Will You Lent With Me?

LENT

Based on the photo above I would imagine that some of you are wondering if I converted to Catholicism. :-)

To answer your question – no.  The hubs is a pastor at a PCA church and after many years of in depth study about church history, he came to the conclusion that recognizing the Lent season (beginning with Ash Wednesday) is a beautiful part of the Christian church’s story.

As a result of his careful study, our little church celebrated Ash Wednesday this year by holding a few worship services where we were able to receive the ‘imposition of ashes’ on our foreheads – a symbol and reminder of our sins and His great sacrifice, inspired by the verse,

“You are dust, and to dust you shall return,” Ecclesiastes 3:20.

We are but dust without His breath of life.

Under this humbling truth (plastered right on our foreheads – our very minds, so to speak) we are then able to rejoice because even though our bodies will return to dust one day, our souls get to be in eternity with Him forever – all thanks and praise to the work He did on the cross (Easter!).

I so long to be a person of the cross.  I want others to know without a shadow of doubt Who I love most.

When the hubs and I picked up the boys from school, Happy Baby took one look at his daddy’s forehead and said, “WHY YOU HAVE DAT?”

And as I explained this season to my boys, I thought maybe my sweet blog readers would benefit from it as well.

One of my favorite things about Lent is that we are called to remember the 40 days that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be with God, to be tested, and to fast (Matthew 4:1-11).

Wait, did you catch that?

He did not eat for 40 DAYS.

Sometimes I can’t even skip a snack without getting grumpy!

Jesus denied himself some incredibly basic needs in order to humbly submit Himself to His Father.  His willingness to surrender EVERYTHING is so beautiful and inspiring and makes me keenly aware of the 100 million times a day I hold on to worthless idols (fear, insecurity, jealousy, pride, being judgmental, wanting to be in control of everything, Hobby Lobby, how many Facebook ‘likes’ I have) and cling to my earthly comforts (my hair iron, dark chocolate – ahem).

I told Happy Buddy that it was as if Jesus wanted to declare to His Father that He loved Him even more than food (Job 23:12).

Try getting a child to understand that when he has a chocolate chip cookie sitting in front of him.

Try getting ME to understand that when standing at the entrance of a Target (more like emotional food, I guess – ha!).

This year the hubs and I have been prayerfully considering what we might ‘fast’ from in order to make ourselves more like Christ this season.

I thought about fasting from laundry, dishes, and making lunches every day, but I guess that’s not really the point. :-)

Although Happy Buddy informed me today that he wanted to give up wearing clothes for Lent so our fasts would compliment one another rather nicely.

Are you giving something up for Lent?

I wanted to encourage you today to think and pray about it.

When I was explaining this to my boys, I tried to help them understand that the item you choose to fast from should be something that is important to you and involve a bit of sacrifice.  It should draw you to Jesus every time your flesh wants to have the item, eat the item, use the item, etc.  It should daily make you aware of the depth of your need for Him.

Happy Baby announced that he wanted to give up his minion toy and I knew that God was inspiring his little heart.

Happy Buddy on the other hand is still thinking about this (after I squashed his no-clothes scheme) and is convinced that giving up vegetables is a worthy Lenten fast.

Pray for him. :-)

I wanted to share with you an incredible resource Ann Voskamp is sharing at A Holy Experience – 40 days of printable prayer cards you can use on your Lenten journey – find them HERE.

I just printed mine and am planning to use them.

In this world that seems to be ever-increasing in evil and darkness, we must cling to the light.  We must embrace and walk in it.  Humbly, obediently, and fully surrendered.

So, dear readers, will you Lent with me?

– Julie

“I love you, Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18:1

Fifty Shades of NO

50 Shades of No by Happy Home FairyThere is a new movie coming out this weekend – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Fifty Shades of Grey – have you heard of it?

Haha.

When the book originally came out I didn’t pay much attention on purpose.  I knew that it wasn’t something that I wanted to set before my eyes (Psalm 101:3).

But now with a movie making its debut, I am completely sobered by just how accessible and appealing this content is to so many.

Christian women included.

There are lots of reasons why this movie and book is harmful – dangerous, even – for you (Sheila from To Love, Honor, and Vacuum wrote a great post about it HERE and Thriving Home shared an incredible article called Can 50 Shades of Grey Enhance Your Sex Life? HERE), but when considering participating in things that our world wildly celebrates, I think it all boils down to asking ourselves a couple of questions…

Is engaging with this kind of material going to draw me closer to Jesus?  Is it going to make me look more like Him to others (my spouse included)?

I remember a few years ago I was reading a series of books written by a popular Christian author (yes, Christian).  Every storyline involved some sort of radical trial that the main character(s) would suffer (like murder, AIDS, rape, a child’s near drowning).  The stories also portrayed marriage in such a way that seemed unrealistic and fairy tale-ish at times.  But I was so drawn to these books and couldn’t put them down.  It was like an escape for me.

I got so wrapped up in these books that I would find myself INTERCEDING IN PRAYER for the FICTIONAL characters throughout the day!

It was CUH-RAY-ZEE.

However, it didn’t even stop there.  The more I read, the more I was consumed with anxiety that horrible things were going to happen to me (as they did to characters in the stories) and I became discontent in my relationship with my husband because I compared him to the male heroes in my books.

After awhile I finally listened to the Holy Spirit and removed all of the books from my home because they just weren’t helping me with the ultimate goal –

BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS.

It sounds like a lame example as there weren’t any whips or graphic bedroom scenes in these stories, but I believe my struggle was similar to the woman reading/watching Fifty Shade of Grey.  Our own brokenness/flesh/weakness causes us to easily be disillusioned to what is REAL LIFE and what is GOD’S TRUTH.

God’s Word is full of verses that speak to protect us from things that will ultimately enslave us/lead us into bondage (like that fear I was all tangled up in and the critical eye I was dishing out on the hubs).  It even encourages us to fill our minds with only the things that are excellent, pure, lovely, admirable, and right (Philippians 4:8).  And the Gospel continually sets forth a message of self-sacrificing love that is unconditional, patient, and kind (Philippians 2:3-11).

Often things that aren’t of the Lord typically FEEL really good for a MOMENT, but in the end they will leave you with that never-satisfied hunger for more.  You will find that the momentary pleasure or arousal of a glamorized Hollywood movie will really, when it fades, just make you more aware of the emptiness that we suffer apart from Christ.

Because Christ provides everything we need for a life of joy and love and intimacy so much greater than you could ever read about in a book (other than the Bible) or see on the big screen (read Song of Solomon if you don’t believe me).

So, sweet ladies, this Valentine’s Day weekend, I encourage you to not go see this movie.

Instead, do one of THESE ideas with your husband.  Leave him THESE notes.  Send him one of THESE flirty texts.  God created us for intimacy that is fun and sexy and pure and reflective of His unfailing love for you.

But ultimately, let’s be women who make JESUS the One that captures our hearts, our desires, and our imagination every day in this crazy, down-spiraling world.

And I can tell you with certainty that His kind of love does not include a necktie.

– Julie

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.  Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11

*      *      *      *

howsweetthesound-239

Julie Brasington is wife of a worship pastor, a preschool teacher, and the creator of Happy Home Fairy, a popular blog focusing on encouraging and equipping moms to choose joy and Jesus on the parenting journey. She shares easy craft ideas, printables, simple recipes, holiday fun, thoughts on raising her 2 awesome boys, trusting God in the midst of poop blow-outs and toddler tantrums, and figuring out if serving scrambled eggs for dinner 4 nights in a row is an acceptable meal plan. Follow her on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE, and Instagram HERE.

3 Important Things

This is going to be quick because the hubs and I spent the day cleaning out the garage – a task that almost sent us home to Jesus – so we are laying on the couch and my fingers are pretty much the only thing I can move.

There are a few things I have been enjoying this week and I felt like I needed to share them with y’all.

gloriaThe first is a new book – Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman.

Let me just say that this is the book that I wish I had written.  It is incredible.  I was about 3 pages in and COMPLETELY hooked.  The whole purpose of the book is to transform your perspective of motherhood to one that is entirely focused on Jesus – to see Him in every aspect of your mothering from the waking up 1400 times a night to the endless loads of laundry to even your baby’s cries.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  I think it will be my new go-to baby shower gift.

You can buy it HERE.

bethelThe second thing that I am kind of going crazy about this week is that Bethel came out with a new album and it is…

UNBELIEVABLE.

Seriously, last summer the good people at Bethel Church set up on a mountain top in California and recorded their worship live.  It is beautiful, raw, and will call your heart to a a deeper faith and hope in Christ.

You can buy it HERE.

ValentinesDaySuperfood-Trail-Mix1Lastly, I found this recipe on Pinterest about 3 weeks ago and I sent it to my mom and asked if she would make it for me for my birthday.

Of course, because she is awesome, she did.  It arrived in my mailbox last week and it is one of the most delicious and healthy things I have ever eaten.  I have been snacking on it every day since.

The best part is the dark chocolate.  My mom got some from Whole Foods that was like 86% cacao and eating it was basically the equivalent of being in the presence of the Lord.

Happy Buddy would not agree with that grand statement as he walked into the kitchen the other day, saw me eating said chocolate, and asked for some.  I gave it to him knowing full well that this kind of chocolate was quite different than the Hershey’s bar taste he is used to.  He ate it and then immediately proceeded to throw it up on the kitchen floor saying that it tasted like dirt.

Fine by me.  More for mama.

Find the recipe HERE.

That’s it!

Can anyone else believe that tomorrow is February?  I am not even sure what happened to January – although I have some recollections of being locked out of the house this month – ha!

Speaking of February, don’t forget to check out THIS POST featuring a FREE Printable I made a few years ago to help you countdown to Valentine’s Day with your family!  14 Bible verse cards celebrating God’s love – one to read each day leading up to this special holiday.

Have a great night, Happy Home friends. :-)

– Julie

Sharing Your Family’s Story

sharing your family's story on the walls of your home! love this.I follow this gal on Instagram who has the most gorgeous house.

Every room is so lovely and so simple.

She does not hang ANYTHING on her walls.

When our house got hit with mold damage this summer and we had to repaint some of the main interior rooms, I decided that I wanted to be just like her.

As we took down a bunch of hanging plates and various canvas art that I had been collecting over the years to prep the walls for painting, I told the hubs that he could put away his hammer for good because I was going minimalist.

And when the room had a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore’s Gray Horse I looked around and felt really good about my new… nothing.

For about 48 hours.

After that every time I walked into the living room the walls basically begged me for nail holes.

Not to mention that it was weird hearing our voices echo all the time.

Who was I kidding?  I was never meant to be a minimalist.  Just look in our garage and it will tell you everything you need to know about the truth in that statement.

Besides, some of my favorite homes to visit are the ones where the walls aren’t filled with perfectly coordinated artwork, but rather pictures of family and loved ones.  Of fun times and memories.

There is something so attractive and inspiring about a home that gives you a little window into their story.

Because God is in that.  He is the author, after all.

So I decided to make the walls of our mold-free home tell the story of our own family.
gallery wall 5gallery wall

I started in the center with a photo of our little family on the day we brought Happy Baby home from the hospital.  We were all gathered on the hospital sofa bed waiting for the nurse to discharge us.  After almost 100 days in that place we were so excited at the chance to get home and start our life together as a family of 4.gallery wall 1

To the far left I included the first photo I ever got of our entire family SMILING.  I couldn’t believe it.  Everyone is looking at the camera and appears to be really… happy.  Because usually when it comes to family photos someone is having a nervous breakdown about something (as evidenced HERE and HERE).

Next I printed a photo of Happy Baby when he was about 1 month old and still on oxygen.  It’s a tough picture to look at sometimes because it brings back so many painful memories, but it is a part of our story.  And I can honestly say that his birth and struggles awakened me to a deeper way of living and loving than I ever experienced before.

Then there’s that photo of Happy Baby looking awesome and adorable right before the Lord surprised us with the joy of getting to have his feeding tube removed.photo galleryThe top photo here is my favorite out of all our wedding photos.  I remember wondering if my cheeks were going to explode from all the smiling that was happening that day.  We were so young, so carefree — so skinny. :-)  We had no idea the trials we would face in the years ahead, but we knew we had Jesus and we had each other.  That is all that mattered.

And that bottom photo accurately depicts Happy Baby’s budding sense of humor and that way he daily helps me not take life so seriously.

gallery wall 4

The far right is a family picture a dear photographer friend captured for us.  She gifted us a free photo shoot because she, herself, had been through a NICU experience with one of her babies and felt it was God’s call on her life to serve other NICU families with her gifts.  Thank you, Bobbilee.

The bottom chevron frame is a picture of the Happy Buddy on his first trip to Disney World when he was 6 months old.  We still question why we decided to spend the 14 trillion dollars it took to go there when all he did was look cute for that one photo and then sleep the rest of the time.  And throw up on my favorite shirt while we waited in line at the merry go round.

And of course I had to include a photo of Happy Buddy eating a cookie because that child asks me 1400 times a day if he can have a treat.  I’m so scared he’s going to go off to college and eat nothing but donuts and cake for 4 years.photo gallery 2

That top photo was the one I taped in the Happy Baby’s NICU incubator for him to look at all those many hours we all weren’t able to be there with him.

I love the middle photo of father and son.  We affectionately remember this Easter photo shoot as that time the hubs cut Happy Buddy’s hair and accidentally used a number 2 guard on the hair clippers instead of a number 3.

Finally that bottom photo was one I took on a date night with the hubs a few years ago.  We were in a rough patch in our marriage, but this photo reminds me that we were committed to each other no matter what.  For better or worse.  And we came out of that season with a much better understanding of how to love each other well.

gallery wall 2gallery wall 3

I look at these walls and I see God’s faithful hand graciously woven through each photo – each captured moment from the journey He is writing for us.

And that is way more interesting to me than looking at a whole bunch of nothing.

How do you share your family’s story in your home?

– Julie :-)

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

*You can find most of the picture frames I used for our gallery wall at Hobby Lobby.

Locked Out

happy babyOn Wednesday last week the hubs told me that I didn’t need to be at worship team rehearsal that night, so I canceled the babysitter and then made plans to hit the treadmill the second we got home.

I threw on some workout clothes, got the boys settled outside playing, and then climbed on to the treadmill that we keep on our screened-in back porch.

Now before y’all go thinking that I lead some sort of dream life that allows me to exercise on occasion – hear this: About every 1/4 of a mile Happy Baby or Happy Buddy would have some kind of an emergency that required me to stop mid-run, turn the treadmill off, and help them with something.  Important things like stopping to search for a toy microphone for 20 minutes because someone could absolutely not carry on without it.  Or stopping to get everyone a snack.  Or stopping to help someone out of a shoe they had put on that was 4 sizes to small.

Such is life with littles, yes?  We can’t ever seem to complete a task without some kind of interruption.  How easy my life will be in 20 years when I can go on the treadmill by myself!  Of course, by then I will probably not be interested in going on a treadmill because my knees will have been replaced 6 times.

Anyway, after the 300th interruption I may or may not have shouted, “MOMMY’S GOING ON THE TREADMILL NOW AND I AM NOT GETTING OFF AGAIN FOR ANYTHING!”

Happy Buddy jogged back out to the yard where he was playing a football game with himself and Happy Baby was inside still looking for the elusive microphone.

I had made it a record 1/2 mile when I looked over to see Happy Baby push the sliding glass door separating the inside of our house from the patio closed.

Then I heard a little click.

Happy Baby had locked us out.

AWESOME.

Did I mention that I had left my phone inside on the kitchen counter?

Happy Buddy was in hysterics almost instantly upon figuring out what had happened.

He is not dramatic at all.

And that’s when I realized that I would not be breaking a sweat that afternoon, but rather breaking into my house.

In my calmest voice I spoke through the glass to my 2 year old.

“Honey, we need you to open the door.”

“Sweetheart, push the lock up.”

“C’mon, that’s it!  Push the lock UP!  UP!  UP!”

One would think that if he could lock it, then of course he could unlock it.

Hahahahahaha.

With every passing minute I rollercoastered back and forth between laughing about the situation, to wanting to cry, to feeling calm and collected, to about to have a panic attack.

Meanwhile Happy Baby was inside the house doing his best to follow my directions and encouragement, but when his efforts proved futile, would turn around and fall head first into the couch cushions in dispair.  Then he would push himself up, start walking around the house (completely ignoring my pleas for help), and pick up random toys off the floor to play with.

At one point he even asked me if he could play with the iPad.

That’s when Happy Buddy began weeping and crying, “I’M NEVER GOING TO SLEEP IN MY BED AGAIN!”

We walked in this circle of emotions for about 25 minutes before I decided that the only thing left to do was go to our next door neighbor’s house and ask to borrow their phone to call my husband (who was at work 35 minutes away and who was about to start a rehearsal).

Did I mention that none of my workout pants were clean so I had grabbed a pair of hoochie mama pajama shorts to wear while I exercised because I figured that under no circumstances would anyone be seeing me that evening?? (Go HERE for my thoughts on modesty.)

So I pulled at my shorts until at least my booty cheeks weren’t showing and I embarrassingly headed over to the people who live next door.

When I got hold of a phone I called the hubs who informed that we had a spare key in a box attached to the outside wall (hope!), but when I went to find it, discovered that when we had our house painted over the summer, the painters had painted the box shut.

AWESOME.

That’s when my neighbor’s husband arrived with some sort of crow bar thing that he was able to use to pull the door open and I almost fell over with relief.

(And in case you are a creeper thinking about robbing us, we have since retrieved the key and purchased a home security system.  BAM.)

After all that I decided that I did not have the mental capacity to make an actual meal, so I made scrambled eggs and didn’t even bother to include a vegetable because I was done.

DONE.

Once everyone was in bed and I was able to remember what my name was, I looked onto the patio where the unfinished workout stared at me and with a weary sigh decided that the whole event caused me so much stress that I probably burned enough calories to never need to exercise ever again for the rest of my life.

Motherhood.

Why didn’t they warn us about these kind of events in What to Expect When Expecting?

I’m guessing because we would all choose the celibate life that includes uninterrupted treadmill time and hoochie mama shorts without dumps.

Nah, that sounds too boring.

– Julie :-)

Why I’m Glad My Kids Don’t Obey

Why I'm Glad My Kids Don't Obey... beautiful.A few weeks ago the boys asked if they could go on the playground after church.

I was less than excited about the idea because after a morning of early worship team rehearsal, 2 services, fellowship, and a giant bagel, I am ready to go home and start what you’re supposed to be doing on Sunday (which, as my children do not seem to comprehend, is rest).

But I did it anyway because I love my kids and love to bless them.

(And because my one word is Jesus and I thought it would be appropriate to once again die to myself and lay down my immediate desire to put on sweatpants and crawl into bed.)

After about 15 minutes, I gave the smart-parenting 5 minutes left announcement and even reminded the boys how they needed to leave the playground quickly and happily when it was time to go.

Fast forward 5 minutes and Happy Baby is hiding up at the top of the playground structure because he doesn’t want to go home and Happy Buddy is weeping hysterically because our leaving was going to interrupt his progress on mastering the monkey bars.

Did I mention that there were lots of other people on the playground?

Did I mention that the hubs is a pastor at our church and therefore I sometimes feel this unwritten expectation that I need to have my ‘stuff’ together?  Stuff being that my children should listen and obey me?

Ahhhh, no.  I had to climb up the playground equipment to pry off a tantrum-throwing toddler’s fingers from the death grip he had on the bars (only to discover after climbing back down that he had also taken his shoes off in protest and left them at the top).  Then Happy Buddy, who is given to unrecoverable fits of emotion, was sobbing and ranting about how he never even made it to the swings.

And then he tripped and fell.

The innocent bystanders were probably wondering if my children needed therapy.

What’s funny is I was thinking that I needed therapy.

As I wrangled my emotionally turbulent crew into their carseats, I may have been a touch angry.

My pride had been hurt.  I had been embarrassed by the circus act that was our departure.  I was mad that my boys chose to throw fits instead of be grateful as I had CLEARLY sacrificed a lot so that they could have a good time.

Tight lipped and upset I jammed the keys into the ignition and started the 35 minute drive home.

The boys were now quiet in the backseat and I knew they could sense the tension.

After about 5 minutes, I could hear Happy Buddy sniffling.  Then he quietly spoke into the silence, “Mommy, I’m so sorry for throwing a fit at the park.”

Then Happy Baby echoing softy, “Saw-wee, Mommy.”

The wounds I was nursing and the anger I was seething melted away and I thought what truer words than those written in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

And as we verbally forgave one another and declared, “It is finished,” I was struck by something.

I was glad that my kids weren’t perfect.

Because if they were perfect then they wouldn’t learn to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

If they were perfect then they wouldn’t learn repentance.

If they were perfect then they wouldn’t have opportunities to experience love through forgiveness.

If they were perfect then I might be tempted to pridefully think that their obedience was because of something I was doing right as their mama.

If they were perfect then we all wouldn’t learn to depend so wholeheartedly on our blessed Savior.

So next time your child is kicking and screaming on the ground in Target or running around the sanctuary after church like a wild man, instead of saying, “He’s not mine,” thank God for another opportunity to point your little ones to the wonderfully redeeming work of Christ.

– Julie :-)

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:17