I'm blogging daily in April. Learn more about the series here.
I love when God catches me in the midst of my work. As a mom, I am not abundantly patient with my children. I tend to be either calm or I snap at them; I have this breaking point at which I just cannot be patient any more. I don't particularly like this about myself, but it is who I am right now.
The thing I try to remember, and even remind my kids of, is that the only person who I can control is myself. So if someone is irritating me, the only control I have in the situation is over my own reaction. At each turn, I have a choice. (It is so much easier to tell my kids they should do this, than to do it myself. haha!)
Yesterday I was interrupted by grace with a reminder of this very principle in Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey. A little girl, Sal, and her mother go blueberry picking on Bludberry Hill. Mother is there to work, collecting berries to can for the winter. Sal is there because Mother is. She is picking berries and eating most of them, rather than filling up her pail. At one point she drops a berry into her mom's pail. When she reaches in to get it back, she accidentally grabs a handful, because her mom's pail already is so full!
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Mother doesn't reprimand angrily or shame Sal for interrupting her work, she simply speaks her directions kindly. What a great reminder to me that I can be annoyed, but still speak and act lovingly!
I know that it is a children's book, so the characters can be made as virtuous as the author would, but the truth is the truth. We are called to love and love is costly. I need to die to myself and my desire to "let loose" or keep a record of wrongs, so love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control can rule in our home. Like our pastor quoted from John Stott on Sunday,
"The essence of loving is giving.... Moreover, the degree of love is measured partly by the costliness of the gift to the giver, and partly by the worthiness or unworthiness of the beneficiary. The more the gift costs the giver, and the less the recipient deserves it, the greater the love is seen to be. Measured by these standards, God's love in Christ is absolutely unique. For in sending his Son to die for sinners, he was giving everything, his very self, to those who deserved nothing from him except judgement."
I want to be a loving as the mothers in children's books, because Jesus loves me with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love, to quote Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible.
I'm so thankful that God interrupts by grace and speaks as kindly to me
- in order to mold and shape me -
as little Sal's mother does to her!