Do you want to know my two greatest fears?
LICE and PINK EYE.
These 2 beasts are so contagious and hard to get rid of my flesh just cries out thinking about all that WORK.
So you can imagine my delight when last week I got home from teaching to find Happy Buddy, who had stayed home with a bad cold, rubbing his left eye.
I took one look and knew what I was dealing with.
So I did what any perfectly normal parent would do in such circumstances – I banished him to his room and proceeded to Clorox-bomb our entire house. I am no fool. I have seen Pink Eye run its destructive course through entire classrooms and families.
For the rest of the day, whenever Happy Buddy came out of his room, I nagged him incessantly about not touching things and washing his hands and for the love please stop rubbing his eye!
I became so paranoid that whenever I looked at my boy, all I could see were GERMS and INFECTIOUS DISEASE and INCONVENIENCE.
I completely missed that underneath those germs was a HUMAN BEING that needed his mother’s love and comfort.
As I fell into bed that night – convinced that my own eyes were itching and infected – I felt a deep wave of conviction over how I had treated Happy Buddy.
Completely ignoring his needs as a precious little soul, I shamed him, cast him aside, and made him feel bad for something that he could not help.
And as I laid there repenting, I realized that I do the same thing to my children when they sin.
As a perfectionist, I have struggled with how I view and treat my kids when they misbehave.
I get preoccupied with the things they are doing wrong. I huff to my husband and close friends about their faults.
If they throw a public fit, my embarrassment and anger have often taken precedence over their need for grace and kindness. If they disobey me or say something unkind, I am tempted to hold a grudge or even make them feel bad for their choices (mostly because it feels like a negative reflection on my mothering!).
And this is a problem because when I nurse those thoughts and feelings, I lose perspective on WHO MY CHILDREN ARE IN CHRIST.
Because our children are created by God and loved by him.
When God looks down on us, He does not see our sin – our struggles, fears, bad thoughts, wrong choices, sicknesses… He sees the blood of Christ. And it is more than enough to stir love and compassion and kindness in His heart toward us.
What if we did the same? What if when we disciplined our kids we chose not to sigh in frustration or nag them about all the ways they are failing, or banish them to their room because they are so ‘germy.’
But rather we tenderly stooped to their level – sacrificing our fleshly feelings about their sin (not being afraid of Pink Eye – ahem), took them in our arms and said,
“This is not who you are. You are a good boy/girl because of Jesus. I love you and I am here to help you get through this.”
We will need to help our children by applying the medicinal eye drops of creative and loving consequences, patient encouragement, prayerful support, and biblical counsel.
But all the while, we must remember that He made them. That He loves them. That He does not shun, or condemn, or even be easily angered.
He is so, so patient.
And remember that He does the same for us when we mamas sin.
Because imagine my surprise to wake up several days later rubbing my left eye.
Guess who else got Pink Eye?? 😉
And as my husband texted me, “I love you and your snotty eyes,” (sorry if that’s seriously TMI – ha!) instead of feeling ashamed about my condition, I felt overwhelmed by his kindness.
That is what I want to offer my people.
The kindness and grace of Christ – fully accepting and fully believing in the powerful work of what He has done for them – and continues to do for them, no matter what.
And that is way better than anything our Lysol can accomplish!
– Julie 🙂