As I sit here writing this post, my kids are all in bed.
Yeah, so it’s a bit early.
I blew up at them and sent them to their rooms after a very hairy afternoon and evening. My husband has been away on a mission trip, my youngest is not sleeping well (so neither am I), and I am just spent.
These are the days that make me sad.
I hate days like these.
Frustrating. Difficult. Defeating.
And, I do feel oh-so-defeated. Because, as I sit in this moment, it seems as nothing in me has changed. As much as I have prayed and tried and prayed and tried–I am still yelling at my kids. I am still loosing my temper. I am still not that perfect mom.
You know her, right? She has everyday planned out perfectly with fun crafts and activities to keep her kids happily busy and well-educated. Her words are always kind and gentle. She always knows when to give grace and when to lay down the law…without yelling.
Well I’m not “that mom” and I’m certain I will never be. (You know, BECAUSE SHE DOESN”T EXIST! …how easily I forget.)
My Distracted Mind
Yet, somehow I let my thought-life get away from me, and I imagine God—looking down at me and shaking His head with disappointment—pained by by mistakes. All the guilt-ridden sermons of the past echo in my head. “Jesus died for you…and you can’t be obedient for Him?” “God is so gentle with you, how DARE YOU yell at your kids.”
I don’t remember exactly when I first understood it, but there is an implication of my relationship with God that has changed me forever.
There is no work I can do to make Him love me more.
There is no sin I can commit that will make Him love me less.
(Even yelling at my kids. Again.)
I’m so thankful for this. Aren’t you?
The Power of the Gospel
The marker of those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ is that, when they stumble and fall, when they screw up, they run to God and not from him, because they clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon their behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death. —Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel (emphasis mine)
The gospel has been on my mind quite a bit lately.
We must abandon the idea that there is condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! We must abandon the idea that our sins pile up on some scale that will earn God’s punishment when tipped, as if Christ didn’t take this wrath from us already on the cross. We must also abandon the idea that our good behavior somehow rubs the spiritual lamp that inclines God, like a genie, to emerge and give us the things we wish for. —Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
So, when my mind drifts to all of my failings and my heart feels the weight of my sin, I must remember that Jesus already took care of it all. He already died to pay the debt I owed from today’s sin of yelling at my kids. (He’s taken care of tomorrow’s mess-ups, too.)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God… (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)
When I do remember that all this has been done on my behalf, and that now—right now—God is looking down at me with abounding love and kindness. He is well-pleased with me. Not because of my merit, but because of Christ’s perfection.
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Colossians 1:21-22)
Tonight—though I have just lost my temper and certainly wounded my kids—I am holy and blameless as I stand before God. Without a single fault.
And, with this weight lifted, it makes me want to run into His grace and worship Him with my tomorrow. Worship Him with one more step toward controlling my temper and holding my tongue.
Not because I have to but because I want to.
Turns out momma was not the only tired one. My two youngest fell asleep fairly quickly, a good hour before bedtime. So, with a refreshing night of sleep for all of us, I will start all over tomorrow knowing that whatever the outcome—whether I succeed or not—God is smiling when He sees me.
What goes through your head after you yell at your kids? Do you rehearse what is true—what scripture teaches? Or, do you struggle with condemning, defeating thoughts? Can you imagine God—well-pleased and smiling at you—or do you see a stern, disappointed task-master?
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