The princess and the Hillbilly!
though I would never have guessed she could bring him to tears!
I "heart" boys!!!
“Watch me, Seth, I can fly!” grins Marcus, beaming with confidence as he launches into a hearty jump, which as usual, is followed by a crash and an injury. Seth barely takes notice. Ever the practical child, he knew how that story would end. Every fool with a brain knows you can't fly without wings, or at least superpowers of some kind. Yet some insist on trying. Repeatedly.
Screaming is not at all unusual in our chaotic home. If it's not an injury, it's a sibling squabble or power struggle of some sort. There may be fifty toys scattered across the yard, but two of them have their hearts set on the very same one, and they attempt to work it out with screaming and violence. Or perhaps someone looked at someone else the wrong way, or someone won't stop singing the same song over and over, or someone got there first. Surely screaming, hitting, whining and tattling will solve the problem!
Far more often then I care to admit, I address these situations with more yelling. “Kids! Didn't we just talk about GETTING ALONG? Now get back outside and BE KIND TO EACH OTHER!!!” They scowl and walk away, and attempt to settle their squabbles more quietly, at least for the next ten minutes. I rarely get lunch finished or laundry put away before they are right back at it again. The cycle repeats, adding more frustration each time, until finally bedtime comes and we end the day in exhaustion and ugliness.
When the fog of selfishness clears, I usually remember to go to the Lord in prayer. I beg the Lord for the strength and patience to make it through the next day, knowing that is something only He can provide. As I ask Him for my daily bread, it occurs to me that my impatient mommy comments are akin to asking my children to fly with no wings. “Get along!” I holler, as if they could simply dig deep enough into their tiny selfish hearts to discover love and goodwill towards their siblings. They try, with great zeal at times, and fail every day, as do I. There are some days when my own “old man” is simply too strong for me, and I see their moments of bickering as a personal insult and a rude interruption of my time, and my own selfishness merely adds to the storm of sin already brewing.
There are days when I would like to have those fruits of the Spirit, but trying to come up with anything that resembles “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” is like trying to produce x-ray vision or grow wings. I just don't have it in me.
I don't have it in me. Why does that still come as a surprise to me, just like the hard floor surprises Marcus every single time he tries to fly? Every week I stand with the church and confess I am sinner. I have heard a hundred times that my works are “filthy rags,” that my heart without Christ is nothing but nasty black sin. You would think I would get it by now! Being a Christian does not mean that I no longer need Christ at every moment. My Baptismal certificate did not come with a backpack full of holiness.
We simply cannot bear fruit using our own paltry resources. Of course, we were never commanded to do so. We have a Helper, a Loving Savior, who tenderly invites us to abide in Him. On those days when we once again find ourselves on the floor with an injury, wondering why our own superpowers have failed, we hear His gentle reminder:
I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.