She came running in the other night with red, swollen eyes and tear stains on her cheeks. It had been one of those evenings … an evening when a three-year-old, foot-stomping, not-going-to-give-in tantrum collided with the persistent tenacity of a mother who’d had enough.
At dinner, she flung herself off her chair and refused to eat the food on the plate set before her: homemade bread, grass-fed beef, fresh green beans with carmelized onions. Food that would nourish her, sustain her, fuel her. Food that I’d spent a good amount of time preparing. Food I had selected to suit her little taste buds and her growing body. She asked instead for a piece of candy. She requested to exchange that which is good, healthy, life-sustaining for that which is void of nourishment and sustenance.
We said no, and she threw herself onto the floor, tears streaming from her eyes.
Later, as I put the baby down, she came toddling into the room. As I heard her footsteps approach, I gritted my teeth. She was interrupting the baby’s bedtime, and she’d worn me down, tested my patience, pushed the limits. I wasn’t exactly feeling like the picture of compassion and grace.
So I shot up an arrow prayer. A quick request, muttered under my breath … I’m not even sure I uttered words. It was more of an inward groan from a frustrated heart.
She crawled into bed, my hard heart softened, and I wrapped my arms around her little frame. And as I rested there, wondering what I was supposed to learn from a girl who has the stubborn will of Jacob, I began to see myself in her. Not just in her likeness—though we do share an uncanny resemblance—but in her spirit.
I may not stomp my foot and throw myself onto the floor (not in a literal sense at least), but I regularly choose to exchange the never-thirst-again Living Water for a cheap counterfeit. The Lord offers words to nourish, His spirit to sustain, His son to save … and all too often, I reach for the candy.
She falls asleep nestled beside me, and there’s still a bit of ugly bitterness clinging to my heart. And I realize that’s where the analogy breaks down. Because despite the fits I throw and in spite of my ever-wandering heart, there’s never any bitterness, judgment or patience-wearing-thin with Him. I’m the prodigal son, and He’s the father. Not once or twice, but EVERY DAY. Every day my obstinate heart stomps its foot and throws itself upon the floor, and every day, in spite of myself, He not only receives me, but He pursues me with unrelenting love!
My mom laughs when I tell her about the girl’s stubborn will, and she says she’s just like me. It’s true, of course. God often uses our children to reveal things about ourselves. Indeed, this little one is my mirror.
She’s nestled near me, and her breathing steadies. She sleeps secure, enveloped by my arms that comfort and my heart that overflows for her. And the reality is that she and I … we’re both washed and we’re held. Washed by grace that covers all our iniquities, and held in an everlasting embrace by arms that stretched wide across the breadth of a cross and the span of eternity.
Does God use your children to reveal things about yourself? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has an object lesson on a daily basis!
/ / /
For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!” Be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’.
All content is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!