Anybody remember the song Something Good from The Sound of Music?
But now, in the light of God’s grace, I know that — thank God, through Jesus! — it’s never about anything I may or may not have done, or be doing, or will do.
It was because of what Jesus did on the cross on my behalf that has freed God to bless me indiscriminately.
Yup, no qualifications, no criteria, no requirements save one:
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29 NAS
I remember back in September 2000, when, after 8 months of pregnancy and 2 months of Childbirth Preparation classes, we finally had to go for an ultrasound check up because the midwife at the birthing center said it was required if we didn’t want to go to a hospital to give birth.
And found out we were having twins.
She immediately told us that the law of the land requires that I be referred to a doctor, because multiple births are included in high-risk pregnancies that midwives are not allowed to supervise on their own.
I remember going with Irl to the music studio where he worked as a piano teacher the following Saturday. As I stood behind the receptionist’s desk, a mother of one of the students chatted with me about my pregnancy. I told her we were having twins, but my face obviously showed not just joy but also apprehension: while we were not really perfectly prepared for a single child, we were even more grossly unprepared for twins. We were volunteers at a para-church organization and we were obviously not making enough to be able to manage providing for twins. One child could be worked with, but two — we needed a different plan. Fast.
The mom told me not to worry: “That’s a reward! Not a problem!”
While I was encouraged by the “not a problem” — after all, it was God who decided He would give us twins, so I knew in my heart He wasn’t as caught-unaware as Irl and I were — I felt a check in my soul when I heard “reward.”
I know she meant well, and I don’t even think she realized the spiritual implication of what she said, so I have nothing against her. But it really got me thinking:
Reward means I did something to deserve this. But I know I didn’t. These kids are BLESSINGS!! Totally, amazingly undeserved blessings that I never earned!
I guess that was my first encounter with a grace thought…
Fast forward to December 6, 2011.
A household mishap caused our house to get flooded that night. When we realized it, Jodie and Roni grabbed a mop each while I raced to the bathroom to clear the path to the drain. I didn’t need to ask them to help me, we all just started working together to clean up the water. There was no blaming on who may have left the faucet on, no scolding about “wasting water”. I showed them the best way to use the mop to help clear up the water, so they stayed in the “bedroom section” of our one-room house while I directed the water into the drain.
It was amazing. They just helped. They just worked. I didn’t need to ask. I didn’t need to move them from the computer — I was the one who needed to be moved, because it was during a Castle Age guild battle *toink* — or the tv, they just grabbed the mops and started pushing the water back to the bathroom.
And unlike Maria, I KNOW I could not have done anything good, from my childhood to now, to deserve the blessing of children like mine. Yes, we may have brought them up differently: we always told them that Jesus said our job is to teach them and prepare them for the time when they would be on their own. We also made ourselves accountable to them: any rule we impose on them, we must be under as well (this is why Irl has to apologize when the kids catch him playing PS2 on a weeknight, which was a no-no the whole family agreed on…hehehe).
No, I can only say this is grace. God’s grace. We have been honored by people who have seen the difference between our children and most other kids their age (or even older), and we know that the wisdom — and the resources — we have been led by is from God and God alone.
Specifically, from our Heavenly Father.
I remember before I got pregnant. Having grown up in a not-so-affectionate family — my mom’s love languages were gifts and works, mine was time and touch: talk about lost in translation, huh? — I was thinking of modelling my parenting on my christian in-laws. But being human, they also had imperfections that I was sure I would not want to inadvertently follow. I was desperate. How was I going to learn to be a parent?
Then very gently, the Holy Spirit lifted my eyes to see — my heavenly Father. And so I prayed: “Lord, open my eyes to see how you father me, and show us how You want us to lead our future children into the destiny You have for them.”
He is still answering that prayer.
Now I’m not saying I’m perfect. NO. WAY. If anything, I see my failures outweighing whatever success I am told I have accomplished — regardless of what you think about yourself, fellow mom, I am the lead candidate for meanest mom in history (Jezebel is most evil mom, but not necessarily meanest), also for most inadequate.
But I am blessed, and indiscriminately so. Not simply because of my amazing twin daughters, but more — waaaaaay more! — than that:
Because God Himself is my father. MY Father!
And all because of what Jesus has accomplished for me!
Their names are Jodie Ann: praise grace! And Roni Lynn: river of joyful song.
They know we call them “Praise” and “Rejoice”. ^_^