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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cease Striving

For those of you with multiple young children, you can probably relate with me on how difficult it is to bring the kids a treat of any kind without them coveting what the other received. What I find much easier is buying three of the exact same thing so as to prevent any kind of argument (I'm talking M&M's here, not Playstations). I always know when the bank teller gives me four green suckers that she understands this phenomena and is doing her best to keep peace in my Suburban. Oh, how I love my bank lady.

This week was the Book Fair at our kids' elementary school. You know the drill - your kids beg and plead to pay quadruple for a dollar store toy or book just so they can say they got something from the Book Fair. I could set my foot down and say no but then I'd have to deal with my own issues of looking like a horrible mom for not letting them get something like all the other kids. So, I caved, okay? Each boy was given a certain dollar amount and after school came hauling in their loot.

Even though each boy got to pick out what he wanted, the green-eyed monster got ahold of my Youngest when he saw his Eldest brother had gotten a calculator that looked like a flip cell phone. Let me first say this kid cares nothing about Math, but he loves to get attention so undoubtedly he believed this little prize would boost his cool factor.

The wheeling and dealing began. "Come on, brother! I'll trade you whatever you want! I'll give you a baseball card. I'll even clean your room!" Nothing was working until he said, "I'll give you FIVE DOLLARS for that calculator!"

Big brother perked up a bit. "Five dollars? I only paid two dollars for it...You are on!"

Here's where the trouble started. Youngest didn't have five dollars. He never does his chores and has no prospect of EVER having five dollars especially considering he is always willing to pay dearly today for what will be worthless to him tomorrow. He is already shaping up to be Citibank's best customer.

Or their worst.

What was his solution? He snuck in his dad's wallet and got five dollars and gave it to his older brother. The Eldest completed the transaction with a smile not knowing where the money had come from. All he saw were $$$$. When he told Dad about the profit he'd just made, warning bells went off in his head because he knew Youngest didn't have any money.

Long story short, Youngest 'fessed up to having taken the money. He immediately began crying his eyes out. Dad took pity on him and used it as a teachable moment to explain how bad sin made us feel but that God was gracious when we asked for forgiveness. He then tried to gather our son up to comfort him. However, instead of curling up in his dad's arms, he pouted up and refused to be hugged. It made no sense whatsoever! He'd done wrong, gotten busted, been shown way more mercy than he deserved, and yet he was angry!

How many times have I done that very thing?! Getting called out when we've made a mistake is painful, but what keeps us from accepting mercy when it is offered? Pride from having to admit we were wrong? Shame for having been so gullible? Fear for what others will think of our weakness? The Jewish nation responded to Jesus in this exact way prompting Him to lament,

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Luke 13:34

It took a while, but my son finally let me hold him as he cried and said he was sorry. It was a heartwrenching few moments for him, but wow, what a burden was lifted for both of us when it was all over. This scene with my own son made me understand just a bit more the love the Father wishes to pour out on us if we will simply cease striving and allow Him to gather us to Him in mercy. It will take humility and perhaps many tears, but O the comfort that awaits those who will allow themselves to be wrapped in His embrace!

Please visit my personal blog, The Preacher's Wife.

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Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Ah yes...pride. I can not tell you how many times I have felt the same way, then I have to think back "am I mad because I got caught?" "am I really sorry?" Thank goodness he left us the Holy Spirit or I would be totally lost in my pridfulness....

Great thoughts.

September 18, 2007 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

I wonder what eldest son thinks about this. Probably good for him to see how materialism (idolatry of any kind) can get out of hand. Bless you and your hubby for your patience and teaching. Such a sweet post.

September 18, 2007 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a great post, bless you for sharing.

September 19, 2007 at 3:10 AM  
Blogger lori said...

You are speaking the truth this morning to me...I see this "stuff" rear its ugly head in my house from time to time!!:)
Just yesterday, my youngest had "snuck" some candy from and 'off limits, reward box for the classes I teach.." He too was in a puddle on the floor...The temptation of candy did him in...and for awhile he did the EXACT same thing..pouted. We had the same talk about pride. I told him that he made a mistake and needed to try and understand why he did it..(he's 7 and there was a big ol' candy box laying there...) and ask forgiveness...
You know I thought about myself many times have I found myself in Pride not wanting to admit I was wrong i front of the Lord..whew!!
Funny how these posts show up right when we are in the middle of the exact same thing!!
It was great!!
thanks so much for sharing!!
peace in the house!!! (that's all we moms really want, right?)

September 19, 2007 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Graet blog Lisa. It is amazing how God never ceases to teach us, even through incidents with our children. Thanks for sharing

September 19, 2007 at 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...


What a neat story. I learn so much from your family and feel as though I am right there with you all.


September 19, 2007 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Boy, do we have moments like this in my home!! I have a "youngest" and he sounds like a clone of what you described. Many of times, God has used my son's attitude to remind me of my own sinul heart and His amazing grace and love for me.

September 19, 2007 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Lisa, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story of sin, forgiveness and mercy. Yes, I think I have been there more often than I want to 'fess up.

Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

September 21, 2007 at 1:16 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Wow. God turned a teachable moment for your boys into one for us! :)

September 21, 2007 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...


September 26, 2007 at 11:00 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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