First of all yes it is March and yes we still have remnants of Christmas decorations in our house. A couple of weeks ago we had some snow globes on an end table in our house near the door. My three year old and I were heading out the door and if you have toddlers you can relate with me. Whenever you leave the house you have to pack up every toy you own and bring it wherever you are going. So on this particular day as we are getting ready to leave my toddler packed up an unnecessary amount of toys that she didn't need in a backpack, so much filled that it was bulging at the seems ready to topple her over. So here we are going out the door with her obnoxiously large backpack on and my daughter swings around to say bye to bubba, our dog and commence the sound of broken glass. Snow globe down. This isn't my first rodeo cleaning up broken glass so I instantly go into clean up mode. Pick her up and put her on the couch, lock our dog in a room and get out the vacuum. It was a small snow globe and it was a fast clean up, no sweat. When I finished I turn to see my daughter on the couch crying. Here I thought it was because of the snow globe being broken and losing a toy. However it wasn't because of that, it was because she thought that because she broke the snow globe that she would be on the naughty list. I learned from my wife later I guess that is from Santa Clause 3 or something. So I picked her up and told her that there would never be anything she could ever do to be on the naughty list because I am her daddy and I love her. Then I asked her if she wanted to know why she will never be on my naughty list no matter what she's done. It is because God has loved me in my "naughtiness" and He still loves me because of Jesus. Even when I make mistakes and I sin He still loves me because of what Jesus has done and because of the grace He has shown me when I don't deserve it, it allows me to show you grace when you don't deserve it. Even better, when we trust Jesus we have the promise that we will never be on God's naughty list no matter what and He will love us forever.
Just like we teach our kids to crawl, walk, count, talk, etc. We also have been tasked with the responsibility of teaching and showing our kid's the Gospel of God's grace. By God's grace He has placed our kid's in a family of faith so that we can model grace to our children. Every moment we have with our kids we should use as opportunities to show our kid's the Gospel. Let me just say this, I don't do it perfectly. By God's grace in this moment I didn't throw my arms up and yell and scream that my daughter has now inconvenienced our leaving of the house as I have done in the past. My prayer is constantly that God would help me to see opportunities to show grace and to teach the Gospel to my daughter because it is the only thing that can change her heart. It is the only thing that matters. Manipulation won't change her heart, threats won't changer her heart, bribing her won't change her heart. All of these things will only lead to behavior modification and won't last. The only thing that can change a heart is the Gospel, that we are more sinful than we can imagine, yet more loved than we can ever hope.
"God has opened your eyes to his presence and glory so you could help open the eyes of your children. So capture the opportunities around you to point to him. Don’t let a day pass without doing it and don’t feel that it’s weird to talk about God all the time. He is so pictured by his creation that it is positively weird not to be reminded of him and talk about him all the time. No one gives grace better than a parent who humbly admits that he desperately needs it himself." - Paul David Tripp
May this be our prayer, that as parents who have received grace from God that we would extend and teach grace to our kid's so that their eyes would be opened by God's grace to His presence and glory.