Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)
TITLE: Three Tokens of God's Grace
By marcella franseen
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“What?” I call through the bathroom door where I’m hunched over scrubbing the toilette. I walk out to the family room to see my daughter, sharpie marker in hand, smiling up at me. I’m sure most mothers can relate.
“Mom, he’s looking at me!”
“Mom, I spilt milk on the rug!”
“Mom, Audrey had an accident!”
Most days play out like a comedy of errors, with me running from one disaster to another in an attempt to keep some semblance of order. I suppose on a television sitcom or the pages of a book, my days could seem comical, but living through them…I often don’t find the humor.
I wish I could say I handle all the unforeseen inconveniences and interruptions throughout the day with grace and kindness, but frequently, I find myself frustrated and defeated. Sometimes, I hear a voice in my head, “This is not how I thought motherhood would be.” Which begs the question, “How did I think motherhood would be?” I guess I thought it would be easier, but where did I get that idea? The Bible makes no such promise. Maybe it was pride, thinking I had it in me to be the essence of all a mother should be. What I do know, is that every day I miss the mark.
God recently spoke to me about my view of this life. He showed me that I had made an idol of being comfortably in control…of my kids, myself, my day. He’s not in the business of keeping His children comfortable. He’s in the business of sanctification. In Romans 8: 29, God tells us that “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brethren.” Could it be that He chose my children-their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses-with my sanctification in mind? This changes the way I view the challenges of being a mom. The inconveniences and interruptions that tend to plague my days are now seen as opportunities to grow and stretch. My kids challenge me in the areas of selfishness, patience, self-control, and pride. Without my children, I may have been more self-righteous, thinking I had all the answers. Maybe I would have judged other women harshly for their weakness and struggles. Having been through what I have with my own three kids, I find myself empathizing with struggling moms, and looking for opportunities to encourage other mothers and pray with them. How could I ever understand the frontlines of battle if God had not placed me there many times myself?
In describing the challenge of being a parent, I like to tell people, “I would physically lay down my life for my kids in a heartbeat. It’s the daily dying for them that’s the hard part.” Boy, isn’t that the truth, but isn’t that exactly what Jesus calls us to do? To die that we might live? I want my kids to see me doing just that-“dying” for their sake-and I want them to be willing to “die” for others too.
I pray for God’s work in my life. I want to grow in the likeness of His Son. I just don’t always enjoy the process of sanctification. It’s uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful. C.S. Lewis once said, "We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." I had my own idea of what mothering would look like, but what God has given me is something very different. I don’t always feel up to the task. I have heard the old adage, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” but I think this is faulty theology. The truth is, in and of ourselves, we can’t handle anything. I think the better phrase is that God will give us the grace to handle anything He gives us.
Therefore, I pray for wisdom, as we are told in James 1:5, and I cling to my future hope, knowing that the victory won by Jesus, through His death and resurrection, is my victory too-Romans 8:16-17. And when I look at my kids, I try not to see three little interruptions to my otherwise comfortable day, but three tokens of God’s grace in my life; each one a reminder that He will finish the good work He’s begun in me-Phil. 1:6.
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