Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How Many Times Have I Told You?

“How many times have I told you?”

It seems like my mommy job is a never-ending treadmill on futility.

Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but seriously, how many times do I have to tell my son to stay out of his sisters’ room? And how many times must I instruct my princess-adoring daughter, Gabrielle, that, “Sweetie,” (my teeth are clenched) “Cindrella wouldn’t make smacking sounds when she eats with Prince Charming”?

We had a spell of this type of “forgetfulness” today. Christian, my five-year-old rough and tumble knight, has a bad habit of putting his fat fists on, and in, things he’s not supposed to …

First thing this morning, he ran to the front porch to “help” retrieve the milk from where the milkman left it. Before I could get there, he’d knocked over the egg carton also nestled with the milk. So fun cleaning up a bunch of egg yolk (actually, not so much).  How many times have I told him to ask for help when getting the milk?

Later, he dumped out my daughter’s big, perfectly organized, box of … beads. Yeah, millions (well, it seemed like millions) of sparkly pink, yellow, and gold beads all over the floor. How many times have I warned him not to touch Gabrielle’s things?

And finally, without thinking it was even wrong, he smiled at me and grabbed my daughter’s newly beaded necklaces (a big pile she’d been working on) and balled them into a tangled mess. I sent him to the corner. When he got out, where do you think the first place he raced to was? That same ball of beads.

Definitely ingredients for a frazzled mom’s frustrated outburst, but the moment that went beyond frustrating was when the same five-year-old repeatedly (and I mean repeatedly) loses his temper. Such defiant words coming from my silly boy’s mouth. Such an inability to control his fists and his stomping feet.

After about six of these incidents today, I just wanted to cry. Will he ever learn? Will his heart ever soften to my instructions?

And then I heard echoes of my heavenly Father. My own sins go far beyond those of my sweet children. I think first of my own needs more times every day than I can count. When my frustration explodes in words that shame Him; when I snap at my husband rather then giving him the benefit of the doubt … It’s like a neverending treadmill of futility—my repeated sins.

Yet, God’s grace and forgiveness never end. I can never sin more than He will forgive. Did you hear that?

I can never sin more than he will forgive.
Even if I ask for forgiveness one minute then rush and do the exact same thing the next, well, Jesus paid for those sins—the first one and the second.

My Heavenly Father never gets exasperated with me—he never says, “How many times have I told you to be patient with the children I’ve entrusted to you?” It’s so hard to believe, but it’s true. He always let’s me climb back on his lap and whisper one more, “I’m sorry, Abba.”

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18

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