If we truly grasped the wonder of God’s love for us, the devious question that prompted Romans 6 and 7 – What can I get away with? – would never even occur to us. We would spend our days trying to fathom, not exploit, God’s grace.
From Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? (190-91)
Gratitude. It’s not something that comes to mind naturally or easily. In college, I forced myself to write three things I was grateful for each day so that I’d be reminded to live gratefully. Unfortunately, that list has long gone been left to the wayside. It is part of the reason why I wanted to start this, to have a place where I’d be accountable to “count my blessings” and to re-align myself to Jesus’ perspective daily. It’s too easy to be carried away with my doom and gloom point of view.
Before my eldest, Minnie, turned two I couldn’t believe all the warnings other parents would say about two year olds. Minnie had such a sweet disposition, an innocent face and was so polite, rarely forgetting her pleases and thank yous. A few months before two, she started to test her boundaries- she wouldn’t do what we asked of her or would eventually obey us after doing what she wanted to do first, she’d storm off if she didn’t get her way right away, she started to finesse her tantrum tactics, she began to throw tantrums for goodness sakes. And despite all that I’d been told, I was still caught off guard. It continues to be difficult. Starting from the moment she wakes up, it’s a battle to get her to eat some semblance of breakfast to night, getting her to go to bed and sleeping in it. I’m a little worried because I’ve had a few friends who’ve expressed that this sort of asserting one’s will continues into age three. For some, it seems, they haven’t had a respite since their baby was one. I get so frustrated with the constant battles, that many days I just think, “How do I get through the day without my head hurting too much?” In basic terms, it’s the thought of “What can I get away with?” in terms of my engagement with her. In the most minimalist of terms, what can I get away with and still do right by her. I don’t like that I think this way and often feel guilty that I do. I wish I had endless energy reserves and emotional stamina to do more, to be more for them.
What it all comes down to, really, though is that not only as a mother, but as a human being I also exploit God’s grace not because I necessarily want to do wrong, but as Paul said in Romans 7, “So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:25 NLT) As much as I don’t want to, I will end up exploiting God’s grace again.
That’s what amazes me about Jesus. Because when I became a mother, my perspectives on Jesus and his relationship to his disciples and God’s relationship to his children have changed. God continues to pour his love on his children, despite our disobedience, despite our tantrums and impolite natures and despite our consistent exploitations of His grace. He has the limitless reserves, the emotional, but more importantly the spiritual stamina to keep up with any and all battles we may bring up with Him.
It’s only from him, that I can find my supply of what is needed to care for my children the way God desires for me to raise them.
Yancey points out, the only way to avoid this desire to exploit is to, from minute to minute, hourly, daily attempt to “grasp God’s love for us.”
So this is my prayer for today:
Please Jesus help me to remember your love, that it would be a reality for me today. I pray that with each routine task, with each battle, or difficulty I wouldn’t disengage from them, but know that you did these things for me and still do. Thank you. Help me to love and care for the daughters you’ve blessed me with out of Your strength and power instead of my own.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,