Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Explaining Grace

A sweet little boy waited patiently for me to tuck his sister in last night to come and kiss him goodnight. I tucked the comforter in underneath his buried little form and kissed his pink little cheeks (note to self: just because the temperature drops, sunscreen is still vital).  I nonchalantly asked him if daddy had prayed with him, to which he replied, 'Yeah,' and proceeded to tell me for what he had prayed. Namely, he'd prayed to thank God that we had chose to show him grace in allowing him to go to his baseball practice, though he'd disobeyed us during his nap-time.

Nap-time can be frustrating, for sure.  For him, he's required an hour worth of a quiet time each day, except for the days that we strongly feel that he needs a nap.  It's those days he tends to disobey the most, and he's out of bed 100 times before the initial hour is up.  It's frustrating, to say the least, but we are well aware that as our baby boy nears *gulp* FIVE his napping days may be nearing an end.  

Still, after the one hundred and fortieth time (ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration), of him being up, we'd had it, and when we finally let him come down (and sit in time out), his only question was, "Are you going to show me grace and let me go to my ball practice?"

Now, let me just tell you, there's something about the expectation of the extension of grace that makes me want to cancel a whole SLEW of his ball practices.  Grace is unmerited, and not to be expected.
Which, indeed, is what makes it grace.  

Ultimately, lucky little man got to go, with the result of that being his prayer of thanks to the Lord.

It's amazing the things you learn out of the mouths of babes.  I've always felt that teaching something is one of the best ways to learn it yourself.  Last night was no different.

After he had told me about his prayer, I felt compelled to explain to him that the only reason we are able to show him grace is because, ultimately, we have been shown grace in a much greater form that it is our joy to extend it to others.

I told him that his mommy and daddy have done many bad things that have made God sad and unhappy with us, just like we were sad and unhappy with him for getting up from his nap.   I explained that those bad things completely separated us from God and meant that we couldn't be with Him in heaven when we die, but that He loved us so much, and wanted so badly for us to be with Him, that He sent Jesus to take our punishment so that He could extend us grace and allow us to be in Him with Heaven some day, much like we allowed B to attend his baseball practice, except that God's grace to us was much much more than the grace that we could ever show B.  It's because of the grace God chose to show us that we find joy in extending grace ourselves.

I finished by telling him that, one day, when God saves him, he will want to extend grace and forgive people who hurt him or make him sad, because he'll understand how much God had forgiven him.

My prayer is that we are providing real learning examples of God's love for our kids by expressing that love to them through our disciplining and parenting them.  Ultimately, they should experience God's grace and love through us as Christians who have been saved by a gracious and merciful God whom we have sinned outwardly against.

May I never forget, even in those moments of frustration, that the sin of my children will never be greater than my own sin against the Father, and that each extension of grace is a sweet breath from the Father to my children, beckoning them to Himself.  May I also remember that, even now, I find myself looking up to heaven asking the Father, as I sit in my filth, "Are you going to show me grace?" and that, though it should not be abused, the Father's grace is limitless, His mercy is great.  

May we love others with the same love we've been shown.

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