Monday, 2 December 2013

No Perfect Pictures

My son is in Grade 1.  I had a bit of a hard time with him going to school every day.  To be honest, it's a little easier when he's gone, just one less variable.  But I do miss him and I feel like my days of being the major influence in his life are dwindling.  If he hasn't learned it yet then when will I have a chance to teach him?  Today is a day off school.  So far it has been chalk full of teachable moments.  Although challenging, I am just bursting with praise to God that I still have the opportunities to speak into my son's young life.  I pray and hope that what has transpired today impacts him in a lasting way.

It started off with him hitting his sister.  Dad stepped in with the discipline and told him he wouldn't get his colouring supplies back until he was being more kind.  He felt remorseful for a time but then made another bad choice.  The older 2 had been reading a kid's story book Bible together and having a great time.  My daughter was saying "Jesus is awesome" and my son saying "reading the Bible is so fun!"  But in no time, the little sister became implicated and my son lashed out.  How quickly they/we stray.  After being sent to his room for a time, he prayed for forgiveness and self control.  This led to an enthusiastic idea to write the fruits of the Spirit down so they don't forget.  He got out the papers and markers (with permission), and included his sisters.  It was all going well; pictures of fruit accompanied by words; until he made a mistake.  He crumpled it up and threw it in the garbage.  At this point it had been a really careful and nice picture and the mistake was minor.

The connection to God just came so seamlessly.  "God doesn't expect you to be perfect, and I don't expect your picture to be perfect.  God loves you the way you are and he never crumples you up and throws you in the garbage".  This was a long process of reitterating the same idea until he finally came around to cutting off the mistake.  It was still crumpled but had potential.  I told him he had to finish it and I would hang it on the wall as planned.  I told him he had to learn perseverence (finishing something without quiting).

When it was finally coloured, I hung it up as promised, and told him I loved the picture just like God loved him.  He said that he thought the mistake was too big and I said that there is no mistake too big for God to forgive.  He was very upset at this time and hard to console, but I took the time to pray with him for peace.  He was very concerned that God lets bad things happen.  Again the teachable moment came: that God doesn't want us to do things perfectly by ourselves, otherwise we wouldn't need Him.  God wants us to rely on him and trust him.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

This message came through loud and clear to me today.  Even as a write this, my son is moping about, feeling contrite, but I think it's OK.  I keep telling him that he is in control of his choices, to have a good attitude, to choose to be kind, to choose to trust God.  Even as I say this I know that without the Holy Spirit, our own efforts are futile, but to pray and contemplate the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, can keep your mind on track.  If I had taken a different approach today, to let him throw out his picture and move on with the day, I might have missed this opportunity to teach him and bond with him.  He's at an age where we can communicate on a deeper level and this is exciting to me. I hope and pray that the times he is home, I can connect with him, to make up for all the time that he is away.

With a Bushel and a Peck of Gladness,


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