He looks up at me with eager eyes, longing to hear my answer:
“Was I good today, Mommy?”
His simple question breaks my heart.
The truth is: “No child, you weren’t ‘good’ today. Remember when you hit your brother when he had done no wrong? Didn’t you say ‘no’ when I asked you to wash your hands? Weren’t you the one to steal my Diet Dr.Pepper & drink it secretly in the dining room?”
But I don’t list off his offenses. Instead I respond with, “What do you think?”
Cautiously he admits “I was medium good.”
After he is tucked in bed & dishes are washed, I sit on the couch and replay our conversation. I’m convicted by my unintended messages.
In my longing for some semblance of peace & order with our “new family”, I have given the impression that everyone needs to be “good”. That love is given only to the “good”. That perfection is attainable.
I’m giving this message because it’s the message I believe for myself.
At the end of each day as I crumble from the list of failures, I cry out to God, “Was I good today?” How can I be deserving of Your love with the mess I made today?
Through my study of Psalm 103 He answers:
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Ps 103:8)
I may not have been “good” today, yesterday, or tomorrow.
YET, the Creator is abounding in love for me…a sinner, a failure. He shows me compassion & doesn’t react to my mistakes in anger. He goes beyond that…
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
My sins deserve severe consequences…death, in fact. He doesn’t treat my sin with death. He removes my sin from me as far as is possible.
When He looks on me, He not only sees “good”, He sees Christ’s perfection.
When I cry out, “Was I good today?”, He loving answers, “You were perfect!”
I want my unintentional message to my sons to be: “You are loved child no matter what choices you make.” To say it in my actions, not just my words.
My prayer is the same as Andrew Murray’s:
“O Father, open the eyes of all Thy people that with each little babe Thou givest them, their faith may see a goodly child…so the eye of faith sees in each little one a divine goodliness.” (How to Raise Your Children for Christ)
(that’s not a typo…goodliness not godliness)
There will be bad behavior, but with prayer and the strength of the Holy Spirit, I want to see my boys the way God sees them. Divinely good. Made perfect through Christ’s sacrifice.
Yes there will be training in truth & discipline. But I desire to balance truth with grace. To exchange my bad habit of responding in anger & frustration with patience & calm reproach.
I want them to know they are loved, so they don’t have to ask “Was I good today?” Because it won’t matter.