Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Crocs and Grace Have in Common

I learned that it is a good thing that I am not God. I want justice all of the time. I don't want to extend grace and forgiveness. I'm tired of delayed obedience. I'm tired of sin. I'm tired of the fall that plagues all of us, that follows us, and is passed down to our offspring. I want perfection. I want happiness. I want the white picket fence and rosy cheeked children 100% of the time. I want easy breezy beautiful, like Cover Girl claims in their make-up ads.

It seems that the worst in me emerges when we are going to do churchy things. In a more recent episode of Granola Mom sinning, Mr. Smackdown wanted to wear his Crocs. However, you can't wear Crocs to AWANA; you would think that he would have known this with only one more AWANA night left in the year. Rules are rules, and this one is for their safety. But that is not what this emerging opinionated 4 year old wanted. He didn't want to wear sturdy shoes. Because there aren't second chances to not get hit by a car, I expected the little guy to put his shoes on immediately. The saying at our house is that you have to obey in the little things to obey in the big things.

We were late. Let's go. He loves AWANA and being with his Aunt Cole! Nope. He sat on the cooler in the garage, playing footsie with the appropriate AWANA shoes.

"OK. You're not going" I hear myself say in a highly frustrated tone.

Along comes Grandma, the dear woman. She grabs the disobedient boy, whispers in his ear some diplomatic words encouraging him to hold it together and ask Mommy for a second chance.

What? You're crazy. No way.

Hope glimmered in my little one's eyes. With trembling lips and deep desire that sounds so precious, even when you are mad, from your child, "May I please go to AWANA, Mommy?"

I want to say, "No. You disobeyed. End of story." (Imagine if God did this to us every time we messed up!) I did not want to respond with kindness. But I hissed in a mature voice, "Yes you may go but you better not complain at dinner or the deal is off."

We went to our separate cars, as we were to caravan to church. Grandma rolled down the window and I hear this angelic voice say, "Thank you, Mommy." Prompted or not, it still softened my heart a little bit. So I say, in an attempt to lighten the moment and move on, "You're welcome, but I am going to beat you to church!" (He always wants to be the lead car.) Fear spread across his flushed face.

This car ride became a real game to me. I wanted to be first. I wanted to win. I wanted to pull into the parking lot first. I am the mom. I am the adult. I want things my way. I want control. But I found myself swallowing some fat pride and I allowed Grandma to go first, even though I pulled out of the driveway FIRST. When she took a short cut, the adrenaline still surged through me even though I knew that no matter what I would allow them to "win" and park their car first.

About 1/2 way there, I was figuratively struck by lightening. Actually, it was God being pretty gentle with me, His little girl. I want to follow the letter of the law. Don't step out of line. I will catch you. Forget grace, I want justice. I want fairness. But if life were fair, none of us would have grace. If life were fair, everyone would have my husband. None of us would have been introduced to Jesus. It doesn't seem fair that on the cross, Jesus forgave the man dying next to Him and would later be in paradise. It doesn't seem fair that someone in prison can be forgiven of multiple horrible crimes in the same way that Billy Graham or Sister Theresa or even me is forgiven. But that is what is so amazing about God. God is always ready to give us a chance. He is ready to allow us to take a turn in the right direction.

So I think for the first time, I really experienced giving grace when offended and knowing the grace that He gives me. In some respects, Grandma acted like Jesus when she interceded on Mr. Smackdown's behalf before angry mommy playing impersonal god. And she was able to save him from the punishment I wanted him to have. Grr . . .

But it isn't fair, as I pounded my hands on the steering wheel! Do you know how many times he doesn't do what I ask?

But I had to have this somewhat everyday riff to understand something larger than me.


I don't deserve salvation in light of my amazing holy God who madly loves me, yet Jesus stepped in and gave it to me.

Praise God I am not God. Every day God extends grace to me and He knows I need it. Yea, I don't always understand His ways. But I do know that if there was any different way, I think He would have done it.

So the next time you put your kid's Crocs on, remember grace.

Ephesians 2: 7-9
so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His
grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not
as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He [Jesus] has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for
power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast
about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me


christina said...

Thanks for this powerful reminder...just what I needed to hear.