My Fitness

Monday, March 13, 2017

teaching grace

My five year old, Micah, is in the process of learning some tough lessons. It seems he can't remember to behave without constant reminders. I've told him that this is ok because he's just a little guy and the older he gets the easier it will be to remember. I've told him that when we're bad at something that means we have to practice - that includes behavior, video games, schoolwork, and anything else. I've tried to stop saying "that's bad" and replace it with "that needs practice".

He still beats himself up over making mistakes. If he runs and yells at a store and knocks things over, like he and his brother did yesterday at Ross, he feels terrible. I let him know that I still love him but I need him to practice remembering to listen to my instructions. He says he's just a bad guy.

I tell him that I mess up but that God still gives me grace. I share Bible verses like Lamentations 3:22-23
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end
    they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I explain that we all need God's mercy and grace. And while we might be bad, God can make us good. It isn't always easy but we have to keep remembering and keep trying.

Perhaps instead of trying to remember to be good, I will teach him to remember God, which is better. By remembering God we can't help but be good. (I would argue that if someone is being bad they aren't remembering God properly.)

YESTERDAY, right after our trip to Ross, I was driving in Argyle, TX, on 377. Most of the road is 60 mph. So I was a bit surprised when I got pulled over. I don't speed. This isn't something that I do. It turns out that there is about a mile of the road that is 50 mph. Justice was served with me getting a citation. This is right and just. I received no grace and no mercy. I feel terrible. That's a $200 fine all because I didn't know the rules.

Today Micah saw me write a check to the Town of Argyle and asked what it was. I don't write checks ever so he's never seen one. I explained that I had to write a check that allowed Argyle to take money out of my bank or go to jail. He was very concerned at the idea of me going to jail and I said that paying the fine will keep me out of jail. I was able to explain that even though I didn't know what the rules were I had broken them and I had to pay the price. I was bad and needed to have justice done. I was sad and sorry and had to remember in the future to obey the rules. Micah hung his head and said, "yeah, sometimes I don't remember either."

I said, "But I still love you."

I started crying. I think it's a combination of being tired and being filled with pregnancy hormones. Micah asked why I was crying. I said it was because I was sad I was bad. And he hugged me. I said, "It's ok because God still loves me."

He seemed to respond very well to seeing me be bad, having to pay for it, being repentant, and still receiving God's love. Paying the fine was just. Receiving God's love is unjust. I was really mad yesterday that I received a ticket. I can blame anyone but it's only me who was at fault. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in almost two decades (because, yes, I'm that old).

I was mad at God for letting me get a ticket and then having to pay such a great amount of money that could have been spent elsewhere. But I figured it's God's money to put wherever he wants and if he needs to hurt me with it to teach me humility, so be it. After all, am I really being hurt if I'm being disciplined and refined? No, just like pruning a tree to produce healthier branches isn't hurting the tree. It's such a small price to pay to be better conformed into the image of Christ.

Also, I was immediately convicted and remorseful that I'd get angry at God when I was the one at fault. I was immediately filled with awe that God would still love someone like me. Such a sin-filled heart. So much love and grace. Yesterday taught me, again, how much I need God and how much I do not deserve God.

Today, I was able to use my lessons of yesterday to teach my son by example. I don't recommend speeding as a means to teach your children Divine truths. But I am grateful that the opportunity presented itself in a timely manner that Micah was able to learn a spiritual lesson right alongside me.

I started a Beth Moore study and the questions were fitting. "When was the last time Christ amazed you? How did it come about? What did it change about your circumstances?" I very much like that my circumstances didn't change. I wish that I could have learned the lesson without losing money. But because nothing changed, there was nothing earned, there was no prosperity gospel sneaking into my story. I was repentant and nothing changed in the physical realm.

A few pages over, Beth Moore asks, " means that you can "see" and take part in the breathtaking work of Christ in your life. What glimpses have you seen of this already?" There's so much to write in this section. There's even more than what I've written above, but it deserves it's own post. It's interesting to see how thoughts of the past few weeks culminate at a point like this.

She then finished the day with a prayer. I'll give you a glimpse into the very personal prayer I wrote. I'm kinda hoping you can't read my handwriting.

For you will not delight in sacrificeor I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heartO Godyou will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17

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