My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul!
~"It is Well with My Soul," Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
There's nothing quite like parenting to teach you about God's love, His correction, and His perspective toward us who are His children. So many times when I am talking to my children, I hear God "clear His throat" as if to say, "Hello? Are you hearing yourself? This is what I have been trying to teach you."
Cases in point:
"Obey first, then ask questions." Hmm.
"Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, even if you don't understand where we're going." Sigh.
"Could you just trust me, please?" Ouch.
Being Nathan's teacher allows me to know him in ways that I might not have noticed otherwise. One thing is that it really bothers him to get a question wrong. He can't stand it. Usually, he just wasn't paying attention or got in a hurry, but sometimes it really is something new that he needs to learn.
Now, it's not that I want him to become flippant about mistakes. He does need to put forth his best effort. I just don't want him to become paralyzed by a fear of failure.
I continually explain to him that learning involves going beyond what you already know, and that it's OK to not know everything. I've told him that, if he already knew everything in the 1st grade book, we would skip ahead to the 2nd grade book. As his teacher and parent, my job is to challenge him - not to break him (I don't give him things to do that are ridiculously above his level) but to enable him to grow and learn. If we just keep going over the same things that he already knows, he may feel super-smart, but he won't really be learning anything, and then later when the big challenges come, he won't know how to deal with them. (I know this from personal experience.)
I find myself saying to him, "Nathan, I love you. I'm you're Mama - the person who loves you more than anybody else on the planet (or at least tied with Daddy). I'm not angry that you missed that question. I will never be angry at you for making a mistake as long as you are trying your best. I'm here to help you learn."
And today, God cleared His throat again.
I don't have to earn Jesus' love and approval. He's not going to throw me out of the classroom for making a mistake. He does expect me to obey and follow Him, and He is going to challenge and stretch me, but He's here with me, helping me to learn. It's OK for me to not know everything.
He's not marking my permanent record with a big, red pen. My permanent record has already been marked with a blood-stained cross. It is finished.
When I make a mistake, I may have failed temporarily, but not permanently. With His love, teaching, and guidance, I can learn from that mistake - "Go, and sin no more."
Ironically, it often seems easier to accept His eternal love and approval than to accept His daily, here-and-now love and approval. Nathan trusts me as his Mama for the big things. Trusting me in his phonics lesson on Monday morning is a different story.
I trust God for the big things. Trusting Him to guide me during that same Monday morning phonics lesson is sometimes a different story.
May we both learn from our mistakes, not stay buried there, and move on in His power and grace. May we both grow to trust Him in the big things and the small things. May I not become flippant about sin but also not become sidelined by feelings of current failure or fears of future failures.
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
This post is linked up to one or more of the following blog parties. Check them out! Monday: Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie Wednesday: Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family Friday: 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama, Company Girl Coffee at Home Sanctuary, Pieces of Amy Other days: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home