So my post on Monday might have made it appear as if everything here is serene and lovely with children obediently doing their school work and playing nicely. It's like that sometimes but then there are the moments I didn't photograph.
Let me just tell you that we are like any other family. We have issues. Lately it's been about obeying. We say, "Please stay out of other people's things." They somehow hear, "Get into, use and ruin whatever you please no matter whose it is." Funny how that happens.
It's no longer about the offense itself, although it drives us batty to have our things gone through, lost and often ruined. It has become all about the disobedience. The repetitive disobedience makes me so frustrated, so upset, sad and angry. I rack my brain trying to think of consequences that will be meaningful to them, ones that will deter this ridiculous behavior, but often it has been in vain. They do it again. And again.
Now, before you feel sorry for my children, let me assure you that I am not being unreasonable here. Their behavior is unacceptable and they know it. And, if you think I am not being patient enough, let me assure that I can be patient and I have been patient. I've also yelled and cried (just so you have the whole story).
While all that seems problematic enough, the real issue for me lies in the forgiveness and grace department. It is so easy for me to hold on to my frustration and anger even after they've apologized. On the outside, I may appear back to normal, but on the inside I'm still furious with those little buggers.
And so, I complain to God about it. He knows all about me, so He's never surprised by what I bring to Him. In my mind, though, I imagine Him thinking, "Here she comes again. Can you believe this one? This woman who thinks *she* has it so bad? The one who ignores *my* directions? The one who says she's sorry over and over but keeps coming back giving me the same old line? She's complaining to *me* about *her* kids? Oh, the irony."
Instead, this almighty, immortal, all loving, gracious, forgiving God says, "I forgive you and I love you and I will remember your sin no more."
Are you kidding me? Who is this God I worship?
Well, He's God, that's who. He's not one of us. He doesn't make mistakes. He knows what He's doing even when we don't understand it. Even when we don't like it. Even when we think it should be done another way. Even when we would prefer to believe in a god who acts differently.
If we believe in the God who created the world with all it's creatures and bounty, knit our amazing bodies together (have you ever studied anatomy?), gave up His Child to torture and death, and has the supernatural ability to forgive us when we mess up over and over and over, then let's let Him be God. Let's let Him carry on with his almighty plan and His mysterious ways and let us trust Him and believe Him when He says we should forgive because, Lord have mercy, He forgives us.
And we are called to forgive others.
And boy, do I want to do want He wants me to do. I whole-heartedly do. So, I blink back the tears, I swallow the frustration, I say a prayer as if my life depended on it (and it does), dole out a reasonable consequence, and do my very best to forgive my children. I choose to love them and allow them to start over with a clean slate even though it hurts like the dickens.
Because that's what He does for me.
(The most important things we need to know about forgiveness, from the Expert.)