I was putting my four year old down for a nap, and she thought this was a horrible idea. I began to fluff her covers and nestle her in, and she kept flipping around and thrashing like I was tying straps instead of tucking sheets. Then suddenly she freezes, stares at me intensely, and spits out, “Mom, why do you work out?” Not a completely random question considering earlier that day I had taken the kids to the gym with me and had yet to change out of my lovely sweat laced active wear. I told her, “So, I can be strong, healthy, and live a long time.”
Apparently, still quite irate at my insistence of a nap, she grunts out these kind words escorted by an icy glare, “I want you to live with Jesus.”
My jaw dropped. Her words felt threaded with poison, yet in them hope.
I didn’t know how to feel. On one hand, living with Jesus is wishing the very best for me, and on the other…”Child, did you just say you want me dead?”
I was thoroughly confused and mortified. I also didn’t know how to respond. I stumbled through communicating my deep bewilderment, hurt feelings, and greatest hope. I then backed out of the room, shut the door wide-eyed, and looked around as if to find someone who had just witnessed what had happened.
Um, hey Jesus, WHAT WAS THAT????
This isn’t the only time she has blown my mind, leaving me baffled and scrambling to put together a coherent thought. Four months later, she was angry at me, AGAIN, for putting her down for nap (I promise she really does still need naps). I finished our usual rest time routine and took my leave – ready for my own quiet time. That silence was soon shattered when I heard a hefty bear like grunt, fists slamming into her bed, and a shout of “Jesus died for you!” echoing through the hall.
It was clear to her, as it is clear to me, that my biggest problem is that I am a sinner.
I totally get it. I empathize; when I’m frustrated with daily things, I begin to see other people’s sin clearly as well. I ask God for the strength to be patient. Calmly, I mentally state to myself that “those” people are loved, that “they” need the gospel, and “he/she/them” is/are in desperate want of grace. I wholeheartedly proclaim the same words my daughter screamed at me. “Hey world, Jesus died for you!”
In that, I promise, there is genuine, beautiful love that God has grown in my heart for others. But… really, if I am honest – there is a bit of something dark and ugly in there. As my flesh and spirit war I declare as my daughter did, “Jesus died for you!” and my depraved inner self silently hisses “so do what I want you to.”
Don’t worry God doesn’t let me get away with this stuff. He doesn’t take it lightly when others are vying for His place, and He is too good to let me slide. I am quickly and lovingly chastised with truths spelled out in scripture: God is God. I am not. His kingdom. His justice. His law, not mine. The Holy Spirit graciously chimes in with “you” are loved, “you” need the gospel, and “you” are in desperate want of grace.
He is God. I am not.
Yep, the kid is right. Jesus died for me. I need a savior.
Present tense, not that one time needed so that I get to live with Jesus when I am good and dead. That’s there – yes, but I need my Savior, every moment of every day. I need His strength to fight the fights that come my way, whether they be with mundane tasks, seductive temptations, or letting Him become more as I become less.
I am also seeking and pleading for His patience, hope, and power at about 1pm each day, so I can stand under the truth from my local nap time theologian who keeps me humble and points me at Christ. -Chara Donahue
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