Saturday woke us up with brilliant sunshine. It was the end of a long week. A week we had struggled through, dealing with behavioral issues between children. The constant bickering and arguing revealed how tired they were, and one event left me in complete shock at how sinful the human heart is, even in children. The week had left me weary and drained and feeling defeated. Truth be told, their behavior was an accurate reflection of the sate my heart was in. Fighting off whispers of how much of a failure I am, I cried out to God in desperation.
“I am no good at this! I am completely failing here,” I whispered through tears. His gentle response was so kind it broke my heart. “Child, parenting isn’t about how good you are at it, it is about what I am doing in and through you.”
We had a birthday party to attend Saturday afternoon, a brother and sister who were born on the same day 3 years apart. I keep a bin of new toys in my closet, things that I find on clearance when I have a little extra cash. I intended to have the kids pick an item from this collection later in the morning. But, as I still lay in bed my son came bounding in, all energy, waving a folded piece of paper in the air. In the other hand he had a few items from his toy box.
“Mom! Look, read this!” As I read the card he had written and drawn out in detail he excitedly chatted about the items he spread out on my covers, explaining that these were things he was sure Caelyb, the birthday boy, would love.
I was barely done reading and listening to my son’s excitement when my daughter came in, carying her little bundle. “Mom, will you read my card and look at my spelling? Do you think Ellawyn will like this?” She held up a beaded creation she had worked hard at making. She laid out the rest of her items, things she had been treasuring for years, and explained that she felt it was time to share them with the birthday girl. Her card told Ellawyn that God loves her and that she is His little princess.
In awe, I complimented the kids creations and asked them, “would you rather pick a present from the toy bin in my closet, instead of giving away your things?”
“No!” they responded together. “Mom, I think giving her my things is more special and I want her to know that she is very special,” continued my daughter. “And, I know Caelyb really likes these things. I want him to have them,” finished my son.
That moment revealed to me just how God is at work, despite my flaws and failures. His grace covering over my sinful nature, flowing into the lives of these precious little people and displaying itself in generosity, kindness, and a desire for their friends to know they are loved.
It was a glimpse, as if taking a measure of His work in their hearts, of just how faithful He is to fulfill His promises, regardless of our abilities or lacking.
When I am unable, He is more than able. In my weakness His strength radiates in power, His grace covering over my feeble strivings, completely surrounding my awkward attempts, gently humbling my proud desire to offer what I will never possess. It is not what I have that pleases Him, it is not how I live that brings Him glory. It is His will and His work in me which accomplishes His purposes and brings Him pleasure. It is in full surrender to His compassionate love that I discover complete acceptance in His embrace. Not by my might, nor by my strength, but only in His Spirit will anything of value ever be displayed. “And only by His grace will the fruit of His Spirit be revealed when He takes a measure of their hearts.”