The event was good. We talked curriculum, which is weighing on my mind as I hope to get a jump start on first grade before baby just#4 comes. There was variety in the approaches and ages and a general feel that no one way works for everyone. All in all, I was encouraged.
But what has lingered on me from the night, thoughts that keep dancing in my head and then stabbing my heart, was some of the things shared during the devotion time. This was not some "soft thoughts" kind of devotion, you know the kind we women typically have at events. This lady (MaryAnn was her name- and she was the one prego with #7, so she proved that you can be pregnant and articulate at the same time) brought such truth straight from God's word. It has been brewing over the last few days, and now God is forcing me to deal with it in the very depths of my heart.
She spoke about she called "epic" failures of others; how to deal with the ones we love when their sin catches us off guard. First she made the point that we cannot control the environment or factors in our kids' lives to keep them from making wrong choices. Consider the Garden of Eden, she said. Perfect setting. Perfect Father. Catastrophic choice. It is wrong (and prideful) to think that if I somehow limit TV, monitor music, screen reading material, and am all-out up in their business, I will keep my kids from making gross errors in judgments or from having wickedness in their heart. It's not possible.
So if I cannot control it, what can I do? Be ready to respond in grace. The thought that really struck me was this: Be careful how you judge, for though today it is their great sin that has come into the light, tomorrow it could very well be mine.
Grace is such a gift, such a beautiful thing, but is sadly not often really appreciated. But when the 'epic failure' comes, grace can so beautifully be offered and received, not out of pity but out of love.
In reality, compared to the standard of Christ, we are all epic failures. But 'he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.' (Ps. 103:10) Instead he extends such complete acceptance of who we are and commitment to help us deal with the things we face. That is an area I want to grow in my imitation of Christ.
Maybe that's why sometimes the Good News does not really seem all that good, because we don't really like to think about how much God has truly forgiven us of. But as we walk in the light and trust God to show us who we really are, our appreciation of His love for us will increase. And as we face epic failures- both our own and those of our loved ones- we can learn to respond with epic grace.
Upon rereading this post, I wanted to clarify that I really don't think people with smaller families are pansies. Part of it is my sinful "I won't be outdone" streak that makes me want to have as many kids as everyone else. Part of it is genuinely seeing that people have big families and are surviving, so it makes it seem more doable. But please don't read condemnation into this- thank you!