The other day, someone reminded me of the Peanut’s character, Pig Pen. Remember him? He was the one that no matter where he went, his mess always went with him. I loved how Schultz created the cloud of dirt surrounding this lovable character!
There is no doubt, I can be a Pig Pen! Not just with a messy house, but also with a messy heart! I know I am guilty of carrying around my messes wherever I go sometimes. If I were an illustrated character like Pig Pen, I’m pretty certain I would also have a cloud of dirt following me for all to see.
But do you know what? I want to rejoice in those messes, because those are what have brought me to the end of myself so I can experience the grace, mercy, and love of my beautifully pure Savior! You see, while I may envision a cloud of dirt and dust, my loving Jesus sees me as his beloved daughter, whom He poured out His love for on the Cross. I am washed clean because of Christ! How cool is that?
Our messes will come and go, and some will be small while others are HUGE! No matter what, though, Christ’s love remains! He can use our “Pig Pen” messes to bring glory to Him!
Thank you, Jesus, for my messes!
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation…” Mark 16:15
Rejoice in all things!
Pray for guidance.
Read the Word.
Be still and know that He is God.
Then allow Him to MOVE you!
Share His love with others.
Show His love to others.
Shout His love to all.
Revel in the Holy Spirit!
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4,5
Today, on the Cross Moms facebook page I shared a quote from a friend that said, “It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult…choose your words wisely.” This quote spoke to me so strongly this morning, but more as a conviction rather than an inspiration. You see, last night was one those *”terrible, horrible, no good, very bad… wish you could move to Australia” kind of nights.
One of the long-standing battles in my house is laundry. When I worked full time, I paid someone to do our laundry. That was definitely a “luxury” I gave myself and my family because I knew how horrible I was at it–not to mention, I hated doing it. Since we moved and I am now staying at home, I have embraced the idea of doing my family’s laundry…and I will say that God has been working on adjusting my attitude.
However, yesterday, while the boys were at school, I came to the realization that lately I have been washing and folding more than ten loads of laundry per week! We have five people in our family. If we all dirty the clothes we wear for the week and then include our towels and sheets in another load, that comes to only six loads of laundry! Where are all of these extra loads coming from?
Okay–stay with me here….Another long-standing battle in our house is the boys’ bedrooms. They are notorious for making huge messes playing in their rooms and not picking up after themselves. When I worked full time, I never cleaned their rooms for them. I helped them by showing them how to break the cleaning up into chunks, i.e.–pick up all books first; throw away all papers next; find all dirty clothes, etc…but I rarely cleaned it for them. Since I am staying home now, though, I have found myself cleaning their rooms for them; and unfortunately, they have just come to expect me to pick up all their messes.
And this is where the two long-standing battles collided yesterday in an all out war…
The boys came home. I asked them to pick up their rooms. They did. Friends showed up at the door, and they quickly dashed off to play. Later on, as my youngest son was getting ready for bed, I was on my way to grab another load of laundry to fold, and I took a peek in their rooms to see how well they cleaned. The rooms looked nice! Cool! Then I passed their laundry closet—an entire load of laundry, which I had folded earlier and lay on their beds to be put away, was stuffed in the dirty clothes. THE CLOTHES WERE STILL FOLDED!
This is where I kind of lost my temper–okay–no “kind of”–I definitely lost my temper. I failed to do what I always tell my children to do–count to ten and breathe before speaking–and I poured out my frustrations on all three of my boys with a loud booming voice. My heart aches right now as I think of my youngest one pleading, “Okay Mommy. Please just don’t yell anymore.” Needless to say, when he spoke those words, I stopped yelling. In fact, my voice softened to almost a whisper because I wanted to cry.
In that moment, I asked God to please forgive me, help me calm down, and say the words HE wanted my children to hear. And HE did! As the tension began to wane and the mood settled, the words new mercies came to my mind. Because of Jesus, we are given new mercies every day! Praise the Lord, because I needed them right then and there. Tucking them in and scratching their backs, I asked my children for forgiveness for yelling so much, but also expressed that there are many things we all need to work on as a family, so we can be better stewards with what God has given us–including our voices.
If your heart is burdened with anger, frustrations, failed attempts at communicating or parenting, know that Jesus died on the cross so our “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad…wish we could move to Australia” moments can be forgiven; so we can experience true mercy; so we can have an example of how to show mercy to others.
I praise you and thank you for your loving forgiveness. Thank you that there is so much more you want us to learn.
* Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
By Christy M.
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus. They asked him, “Who is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven?”
“Jesus called a little child over to him. He had the child stand among them. Jesus said, “What I am about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don’t, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who becomes as free of pride as this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18 from The Little Kids Adventure Bible. Zonderkidz. Copyright 2000.
I am always amazed by the honest and sincere explanations children will freely share as they try to process and understand the world around them. We have little favorites in our house. When our oldest was a little guy of maybe three or four years old, whenever he would feel scared, he would say, “My stomach is nerwvous.” Not that he felt nervous, but that his stomach was nervous. When my middle son was trying to describe the three o’clock shadow on his daddy’s face one day, he said, “Daddy, your sprinkles are tickling my face!” And recently, my youngest son asked me when his “parent teeth” would start to come in.
The other day, a dear friend of mine sent me one of those chain emails with no author, but with the request to send it on to five other people… you know the ones. A group of people asked children ages 4-8 years old to define the meaning of love.
- A little boy named Billy, age 4, said, “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
- Another boy named Karl, age 5, said, “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
- Noelle, a 7 year-old girl said, “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, and he wears it everyday.”
- And my absolute favorite was from Lauren, a 4 year-old, who said, “I know my sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go buy herself new ones.”
Do you hear the sincerity in their voices? Doesn’t it just make your heart smile? No pretense. No second-guessing. No pride. Just their honest pure thoughts on love. Isn’t this what Jesus is talking about when he says we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven? He wants us to let go of all of our pretense, our second-guessing, and our pride, and just honestly and purely BE. Just like these children.
We are surrounded by so many things in this world that are tarnished. We have hearts that may be hardened and jaded. But it is right now, especially during this Easter week, that we are reminded that Jesus gave his life for us, so we may be washed clean. So those things that are tarnished can be polished, and our weary hearts can be refreshed and renewed. So we may become like children.
Thank you so much for children; for the things they say, and how they say them. Thank you for your Son, who through his sacrifice, can reveal the child-like innocence you want us to know. Lord, we want to become like children so we may know the kingdom of heaven.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
All of my boys are going through growth spurts right now. My oldest son needed new shoes the other day, and we discovered his foot has grown almost two full sizes–and it won’t be long before his father will have to show him how to shave! My middle son tried on a pair of jeans, and he had to change because they came above his ankles! Then there’s my youngest–the shape of his whole face is changing from that young, little boy look to a big boy.
Seeing them change so quickly has prompted me to take a mental inventory to see if my husband and I are doing our part to help their bodies grow.
- Are we giving them a nutritious diet to fill their bodies with the nutrients needed? Yes…well, we try. Okay–we’re still working on eliminating some of the extra junk food they (and we) love to eat, but they also eat a good variety of healthy foods.
- Are they getting enough rest so their minds and bodies can recharge? Yes…well, we try. Spring is in the air, though, and it’s daylight savings! We don’t blame them for wanting to stay outside and play longer. Oh, but then there is homework, and shower nights always push their bedtime a little later…and on the weekends, there are those sleepovers that tend to keep them up later.
- Do they actively play and exercise so their hearts and muscles stay strong? Yes. No doubt about it… well, we try. But then there is that computer time they all like, and they just got a new Wii game they love….
What if we all applied similar questions to our children’s growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ?
- Are we giving them a “nutritious diet” of God’s Word?
- Are they given opportunities to rest in God’s love, grace, and mercy?
- Are they seeing us actively live out our faith so theirs can be strengthened?
Would we be able to answer yes? Or would we have to respond with…well, we try. All we can do is try, though, right? But what if we were more intentional with our attempts? What if we made more of a conscious effort to help our children grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior?
Help us to boldly do our part by not only helping our children’s bodies grow, but also their understanding of you.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3
55″ Plasma TV—$1000 (And will be as archaic as the one below in 6 months)
Quality 1 carat diamond Ring– $6000 (Loses it’s luster and cannot be taken with you)
2013 Lexus Vehicle–$46,000 (Depreciates as soon as it leaves the lot–and I do know this is not a Lexus )
Five bedroom home in Malibu–$5.5 million (IF you get lucky in this market)
Mega Millions Jackpot–$640 million (Odds were 1 out of 176 Million)
Jesus dying on the cross so we may experience his redeeming love–PRICELESS–And FOREVER! God is so cool!
May our fleeting hopes of winning the jackpot be replaced with the joy of Christ’s saving grace!