Friday, August 13, 2010

Grace: Not getting what you deserve

Baby John is three months old today. Everyday is more fun than the last. His smile brightens my day as cliche as that sounds. And sometimes when he's asleep I sit at the computer and look at pictures of him just because he's so ridiculously cute. I'll admit I'm not always excited when my clothes smell like curdled milk courtesy of milk leakage and spit up. And I don't love it when the exact moment I change his diaper, he pees on the comforter (even though I have him laying on a changing pad, it's hard to control the trajectory of a little boy's urine stream... thus to mothers of little boys: alacrity is key when changing diapers!). I'm not crazy about waking up multiple times per night. But seriously, despite all of that, I am having more fun with him than I imagined I could have with someone who is completely dependent, can only communicate his needs by crying, demands to eat every three hours and causes the house to be steeped in bodily fluids of one kind or another.

John is such a sweet baby and is a huge example of God's grace to me. I have heard, since I could understand English, what a challenging child I was. Most colicky babies outgrow it within a few months but my mother claims I was colicky for multiple years. I was a willful child and just all around unpleasant (and Peter was willful as well so it seems possible that J has received a double shot of stubborn genes). I think this changed at some point and I hope that my mother finds it nicer to be around me these days. ;o)

It is often true that riding in the car will calm a screaming baby down. When I was an infant my mother would put me in the car and drive which, according to her, only provoked me to scream louder. So much so that as she was driving through the woods around Boston (where I was born) she would think "if I leave her here in these deserted trees, no one will ever know." Thankfully, she never acted upon these impulses. Although, who knows? It might have been fun to be raised by wolves. Mom, maybe that's why I was so unhappy! Because you didn't have enough fur! I suppose we'll never know.

Sometimes I fall into a sort of karma-like thinking that "I did A and so I deserve B." So, in my logic, I was prepared to "pay for" my colicky days with an equally difficult baby. This kind of thinking has no place in a Christian worldview. It is true in some sense that we reap what we sow. But in a larger sense, as a Christian, my debt has been paid in full at the cross. None of us deserve easy, sweet babies. In fact, according to the Bible, we all deserve death because we have all sinned . "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. " (rom 5:8-9). So he has not only not given us what we deserve (death) but he has blessed us with Himself, eternal life and every spiritual blessing. There is no punishment for Christians. Our punishment has already been paid.

This doesn't necessarily mean that I will never struggle with willfulness from John. Who knows, someday he might turn up on America's most wanted (If he does, I at least hope it won't be for parricide). But the struggles I do encounter will only be out of God's love for me. There might be some discipline involved when I make mistakes and there will be consequences when I sin. But there is no more wrath. Only love for those who trust Christ. For now my sweet-tempered little man reminds me that God has not given me what I deserve, he has richly blessed me instead. And I don't have to fear some sort of "payback" for my mistakes because they are already covered by His love.

"He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him." Psalm 103: 10-13

This picture is for John's assistant grandmother, Terry, who bought him this Tigger outfit:

Happy three month birthday, sweet boy. I'm giving you so many kisses everyday so that I'll have enough saved up for when you're 16 and you don't want your mother kissing your face!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dedicating a picture of Baby John to me, his Hoss's assistant. He looks so cute and kissable. I can't wait to see him again (and soon, maybe?). By the way, Leslie, you were a bit of a challenge as a small child but you had so many positive things in your favor. You were (and are) brilliant and so inquisitive. I loved your imagination and I have always known that you were special. I am so glad that I had the chance to get to know you as a child and as a new mom too. Baby John is so lucky to have you as his mom. Terry