Obedience. It's a great word. It's a positive one. One that brings peaceful scenes to mind. Prim and proper children. Calm pets. Things working according to plan. It's a calming word.
Disobedience. It's not so great of a word. It doesn't bring about peace. It's about chaos. Disappointment. Guilt. Conviction. Disorderly kids. Breaking rules. Disturbance. All things negative.
In our house we are working hard at achieving the "peaceful" one. Immediate obedience, without hesitation. Doing what is asked the first time. Completely.
Results? Let's just say we are a work in process. Granted, some days are a bit better than others. Some days are well.....just not so good.
I have high expectations. When I ask my kids to do something, I expect it to be done. I expect it to be done instantly, with a good attitude, and done in such a way that shows that it was done at the best of their ability. I want them to follow through cheerfully, without question and absolutely without a begrudging attitude.
DREAM on! It seldom happens that way. Grace is needed. Forgiveness must be offered. Reminders have to be given. Training, retraining, and retraining again must take place.
God looks at me the same way.
He desires for me to do what He asks the first time and with the proper attitude. Yet, I fail MANY times. OK---I fail CONSTANTLY.
I question. I hesitate. I might give in, but often do so without the right attitude. Sometimes, I refuse. Sometimes I'm willfully disobedient because "my" way is not "His" way. Sometimes I want to obey but I put it off for another time. Just like when one of my kids say "in a minute" and then they get busy and forget. Sometimes my kids pretend they didn't hear me. I wonder how many times I do that with God. More times than I want to admit. How many times do I say "not now, in a minute" and then don't follow through. OUCH! That one hurt my toes!
However, the beauty of the love of God can be compared to that of a parent that is patiently teaching his or her child. As a mother, I want the best for my kids. I want them to be obedient with a right attitude ALL the time. Yet they fail. I don't give up on them when they do. I keep trying. I keep teaching. I keep forgiving. Sometimes discipline IS required. Sometimes just extra love and grace are what is required.
I don't give up on my kids. I may get frustrated. I may have to correct them. Just because they fail to do what is asked doesn't mean I withdraw my love. No matter how many times it takes in teaching them to do something, I don't give up on them. No matter if I have to ask them to do something over and over, I don't quit.
I'm so grateful that God doesn't give up on me. I'm thankful that He is like a patient parent when it comes to teaching me something or asking obedience of me. I KNOW He wants me to listen the first time. I KNOW He wants me to "get it right" the first time. I KNOW He expects obedience. Yet, when I fall short He just keeps offering forgiveness, grace, and more opportunities to try again.
"If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times".......have you ever said that to your kids? I'm ashamed to admit that I have.
Thank goodness, God doesn't say that to us. Instead, He just stretches out His scarred hands and offers love. He covers my sins. He loves unconditionally. What amazing LOVE that is.
I'm embracing that. I'm claiming that. I'm praying to become more like Him in the way I parent. I'm praying to be more obedient the FIRST time and with the RIGHT attitude. Grateful tonight that God loves me (and YOU) more than we can EVER imagine. He does expect things of us and requires things from us. I'm thankful his love is deeper than I can fathom. I'm thankful that His forgiveness reaches as far as the east is from the west. I'm thankful He NEVER, EVER gives up on me!