So I had the sweetest melt-a-mama's-heart moment today at the public library. So I have five kids right? and libraries are supposed to be quiet, right? Just checking. This library was not quiet. While Risa and I are digging through shelves in search of books on George Washington and Paul Revere I am literally being hopped over like an obstacle at an agility competition. Three girls were playing tag up and down the aisles, squeezing and screaming past my double stroller full of sleeping babies. If it happened a third time I swore I would use my merit as a fellow parent to speak up and tell these girls how to behave in a library or at least tell them to just pick a different aisle to torture.
Apparently another girl wanted to steal the show from the tag-players because the whole library was suddenly ablaze with the sound of a 4 year old's demands. "I WILL NOT LEAVE. IF YOU LEAVE I WILL STAY HERE BY MYSELF!" said 4yo to her soft-spoken mother. I could hear her stomping from afar, I turned the corner to get a better view at the action (the first thing I thought was "that woman has her hands full". How ironic). The girl was quiet now, maybe the mother got her under control, but I couldn't see the mother anywhere. Then I see this little hooligan at the same table as my daughter, Mirabel. I was expecting the girl to want something of Mirabel's and start screaming for that too but what I found caught me completely off guard. It was Mirabel that had approached this little girl and as I got close enough to hear the whispers I heard Mirabel, "sweetheart, it is good to obey your mother. She wants the best for you and God tells us to obey our parents. You should really try to obey your mom." I cried later telling Brian about the shining light his daughter was today. This girl, MY girl counseling this (in my mind at that time) unworthy child to obey. What a sweet mommy paycheck and God praising moment.
So the little girl obeyed and went home happy. The End. I wish it was a happy ending, no this was Mirabel's first life lesson in "sowing seeds, some fell by the road" (Matthew 13:3-23). The little girl then went up to her mother, mother kneeled down ready for the happy ending, little girl shoved her finger in her mom's face and screamed, "I WILL NOT OBEY YOU, I WANT YOU TO OBEY ME! WE ARE STAYING." So they stayed and weary mommy took little girl in her lap and read more and more books. A happy ending.
But is it? Is a self-seeking, self-serving, self-loving child really ever happy? Even my kids later in the car were expressing their concern that this child did not get disciplined and therefore is stuck on a self-righteous road leading to destruction. They have personally walked that road of tantrums, selfishness and anger they know it well. It isn't fun. It isn't happy.
Is is love to let our kids free from any boundaries or constraints of expectations? It is the absolute opposite of love. Love draws us close and keeps us there. Love, like a shepherd keeps us from wandering. Love like a master keeps a close eye on us in order to reward. Love disciplines us when we stray from the path that leads to life. Love died for us. He paid the fine for every moment we don't want to obey, for every crime we commit. He stepped in our place, took the punishment we deserved. He paid the penalty in full, although He had never committed even one crime. Love lives. He defeated death and rose again. He sends His helper and lives in and through us today.
Jesus is Love.
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, as offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:1-4
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above
----Come Thou Fount
Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone