Oh the joy of having three children! There's always some type of discussion and since one is almost 5 and the other is 6, peppered with the know-it-all almost 10 year old, the discussions are always intriguing if not exasperating at times.
This morning alone Katie asked why I hadn't fixed her project during the night. She had created a cute pig on a popsicle stick and it fell off the stick and needed taping. So, I apologize for forgetting to fix it and promptly do this. To which Katie says that pigs are important and Reid disagrees because pigs only give us meat like bacon, and I, their wonderful mother, never cooks bacon. Katie is now defending pigs usefulness and contribution to society with "they roll in the mud!" Yes. An important contribution. David, my husband, and I just laughed. And the two went on about pigs which turned into a conversation about farms which in turn switched to chickens, which led back to pigs and to swine flu (H1N1) . It's always a lively discussion around our house about some pretty mundane topics, or topics that should be mundane but to a 4 year old and a 6 year old are decidedly of interest.
There is one discussion that I really wish I could end. It's completely nonsense and it's intent is only to antagonize the other sibling. It's really ridiculous and yet as much as I try to give them tools to deal with it, it never sinks in.
Here's the scenario: One child (usually the older) says something that is utterly untrue about the younger child, just to upset them. It's a silly statement, completely untrue and yet they come to me complaining in tears that the other said that she's a baby or that her bow was blue when it was green. I try to tell them that it doesn't matter what someone says, what matters is the truth and the truth is that she's not a baby or that her bow color was the color it was and not what her brother said.
Pretty straightforward, pretty simple, right? NO! This is an ongoing conversation.
Supposedly when I was younger, even though I was the oldest, my brother also loved to bug me in this way and would tell me that my eyes were brown. (they're blue; my whole family's eyes were blue) This would cause me much tears and I always would believe him and be upset.
This all seems so very silly but I wonder at times if I still am prone to such things. I take in other's expectations and demands and what others say and expect of me. I think I'm not thin enough or intelligent enough or good enough in a variety of ways. Even in church there can be a subtle undertone of "not enough".
The truth is I'm not good enough, will never BE good enough and that's the reason for the Gospel. I'm reading a book right now by Elyse Fitzpatrick called Counsel From the Cross. It's been interesting as I find a certain parallel in my kids insistence that what their siblings say is true and my own insistence that what the outside is telling me is truth. I forget often what the Gospel message is and how it relates to me and impacts my daily life; not just when I first believed or when I die but daily. To realize that I am nothing but through Christ I gain everything. To realize that yes, I'm unworthy but through Him I am of infinite worth. To be forgiven so I can in turn live a life of forgiving others. To realize what Christ did on the cross, truly realize it in more than words and more than Christmas or Easter stories.
If I am truly forgiven and realize the Gospel message, would that impact how I view my God? How I view myself? And others? If I really got a glimpse of the love that God poured out for me, for you, would it change my daily life?
The reality is that this is truth and yet I listen to the other stuff instead of relying on what is truth. Over the summer I read Jerry Bridges' book The Discipline of Grace in which it exhorts us to "Preach the Gospel" to ourselves daily and I glossed over that. In church we've been discussing the gospel and what it means and yet I still haven't exactly grasped it.
Nineteenth-century Princeton theologian B.B. Warfield wrote: There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ's sake. or we cannot ever be accepted at all...This is not of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we believe. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It's always on His "blood and righteousness" alone that we can rest. "
As much as I know that my worth is in Christ I still listen to the world's taunting. I still doubt, I still wonder and I still don't rest in His love and who He is and his infinite love for His children.
In the book Counsel from the Cross, Elyse (I can call her that; I've had dinner with her once) asks how the work of the cross, Christ's atoning sacrifice and ascension, impacts life today? Is it relevant to our daily life? Our struggles and our joys?
Something to think about.