From the Desktop of the Pastor – week of the 4th Sunday in Lent

Hi everyone,

Many of you have heard me say this before, but parenting is hard.  It isn’t just the buying and providing stuff for them and spending time with them that is hard, but it is understanding the mind that is so different from yours that is downright impossible.  I’m not saying that we need to understand our kids through and through, but it helps to see where they’re coming from in order to effectively teach them and really, to be patient with them.

The other day I was wanting to give my youngest a bath.  It was a little earlier than her usual bath time, but I figured she wouldn’t notice because she can’t tell time nor does she even have a remotely regular schedule.  But for whatever reason, she wasn’t having any of it.  She cried.  She screamed.  She kicked.  All she kept saying was “go downstairs” while I tried to just finish the task at hand and not get my own clothes wet.  It wasn’t easy.

In my exasperation, I just rinsed her off (she was clean enough) and took her out of the bath.  She was still crying.  Then in a moment of clarity, I calmed said to her “I know you want to go downstairs, and we will go downstairs as soon as we finish your bath and drying you off.”  Almost instantly she calmed down and said “oh-tay” (which is her toddler way of saying ‘okay’).

Turns out, all she wanted was to be heard and understood.  The funny thing is that after she dried off she didn’t even go downstairs.  She was happy playing with her toys right where she was.

The readings for next week are:
I Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

These passages have nothing to do with parenting or dealing with tantrums, but they do say much in regards to humility.  Humility in accepting change, humility in having an open mind, and humility in recognising that we aren’t always right nor is “because we’ve always done it this way” a good argument in resisting change.

Sometimes, it seems, we are blinded by our traditions, our cultures, and our familiar practices that we don’t stop to think about what God may be telling us in our current situation or recognise how God may be present in them.  Now, I’m not saying that God’s is only present in calm child and not present during a tantrum, but that by the grace of God my eyes were opened to my own arrogance and my inability to see past my assumptions about how things should be done.

See, just as the Pharisees were blinded by their customs and rules, just as Samuel was blinded by what he could judge through what he sees, just as the sleeper is blinded by the darkness, I too was blinded by my thinking that my schedule and desire to keep that schedule were more important than my child’s desires and needs.  Perhaps “shrouded in darkness” is too dramatic a term to describe a bathtime gone awry, but it is to highlight a mentality that most of us likely share.

The good news is that even while we were shrouded in the darkness of our own arrogance and inability or aversion to change, God is already waiting for us, shining upon us God’s light, exposing our faults and weaknesses not for the sake of guilt but in order for us to see just how much we are forgiven.  God opens our eyes to the possibilities of life and service, that we may know and recognise God’s peace in our lives and in our communities.

May this light of God continually shine in us and through us, making clear God’s love and grace, illuminating our paths of righteousness and peace to the glory of God.

Have a great week, everyone!

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