There have been countless times I sink into the couch after the kids are tucked in and the reflections of the day make me cringe. It feels like the day was consumed with correcting and fine-tuning the things in my kids like they’re some kind of broken down car in need of repair. I’m adjusting this behavior, improving those manners or modifying this conduct. And if I’m truthful with myself, oftentimes pride is my motivation; wanting my kids to look and act the part so I look good. But God’s not like that. God is gracious in His mercy. He doesn’t constantly criticize and point out all the ugly, broken stuff inside of me. He is gentle and kind in leading me toward Truth. And His glory does not depend on the actions of his children. Thank the Lord for that because I am constantly making a mess of His name.
Recently He wanted to reveal something in me. And He did it as the gentle Father that He is. At church this past Sunday we talked about surrender. And as I was listening, feeling guilty for all of the things left in me that need yielding to Him, God brought me to this verse in Isaiah 40:11, “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom. He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” At the time I felt like it was an odd verse to lay on my heart.
As we think of surrendering every area of our life to Him, we tend to think of God revealing every bit of our brokenness and sin at once; demanding that we lay it down and give up everything we have that moment. I can come away feeling like I’m not good enough. I’m not giving enough away. I’m not doing enough. I’m not trusting enough. And it becomes about me.
But in His gentle way He used one of my kids to point me to the real Truth of what He wanted my Spirit to hear.
As we were driving home from church, there were two men at two different stoplights with signs asking for money or food. We gave our cash to the first man but didn’t have anything left for the next one. Our six year old Kate is our observer. She is constantly taking in her surroundings. And I knew she was watching as we sat at the light next to that second man.
We get home and she immediately opens the drawer to the ziploc bags and takes one out. I then hear the coins in her piggy bank jingling together as she gets it down from her closet and dumps it out.
She’s been saving her money for quite some time now. She saved her birthday money and she’s done extra chores around the house to earn even more money and she’s accumulated quite the stash for a six year old. There have been some opportunities for her to spend it but she’s held on to it and been quite proud as her stockpile has grown.
She comes out with the ziploc bag full of money and written with a marker on it: “Love, Kate.” She proclaims she wants to give it to the man by the road that needs it.
As a mom, I was so proud and touched of course but I was also concerned about her giving away so much of that hard earned, saved money. And I said, “well honey ask God how much He wants you to give.” And Kate says, “I don’t need to do that, I want to give him all of this.” And Andrew, next to me, whispers, “She doesn’t need to do that. We can always replenish it for her.”
And that’s when the Lord pierced my own heart and spoke to me, “This is what surrender looks like. This is what it means to have faith like a child.” Matthew 18:3, “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”
Kate’s not laboring over that fact that if she gives all of her money away she might starve or not have clothes or toys or a bed to sleep in. She knows we take care of that. Her daddy provides all she needs.
And for me: It’s not about what I do. My labor means nothing. I bring nothing to the table. It’s about living in the Truth and reality that my Father takes care of all that I need. Kate didn’t even need to remind herself of this fact. It’s simply a Truth that she lives and operates in.
Lord, make me like a child. May I operate in Your Kingdom. May complete dependence on You become my reality. This is what surrender means. You can always replenish.
I love His gentle ways with me.