I just took this one shopping for school supplies. For first grade.
He is currently loving listening to his Daddy read aloud from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The cartoon versions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (circa 1977) have become his new favorites. He will do whatever it takes to hold the attention of two six-year-old girls long enough to explain to them how Bilbo managed to steal the Arkenstone from Smaug.
When his tummy feels weird, he still wants to cuddle.
Jonathan Lucroy is his favorite Brewers player even though he can't remember what position he plays half the time.
Tonight in Target, I overheard him refer to something as a "hot mess."
Lord, I love this child. What a blessing it is to be honored with the opportunity to be his mama.
Last Sunday our church scrapped the plan to have worship service as usual in favor of dedicating the majority of the time joining together as a church family in prayer for the people affected by the horrible violence taking place in Iraq. My boy bowed his head and listened as we prayed for the mothers and fathers who had lost their children, for the families fleeing for their lives, for the children who had to watch their parents be murdered. We prayed for the Christians who refuse to recant, who "stand firm" as Paul has called us to. We prayed for the members of ISIS who persecute them, that somehow they too might come to understand the grace and mercy that can be found in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We didn't use specific language. We didn't vocalize details. We didn't have to. The tears that rolled down my cheeks during prayer let him know something was wrong. He came with me after church to go pick up balloons for his aunt's birthday party and he was unusually quiet.
Before we went in the store to pick up party decorations, I sat in the car with my six year old and gently explained the concept of genocide and told him that it was happening, right now, to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I told him that people were being killed, grown-ups and kids alike. I told him about the people who fled to the mountains to escape persecution and death who were left without food and shelter...but not without hope.
Many may believe that I was wrong to tell my son about these things, even to such a minimal extent. In the moments that I watched the understanding and fear wash over his sweet face, I will admit that I thought I may have made a terrible mistake. But I don't want him to think this "Jesus thing" is some sort of free ticket to a life of ease and sunshine and entitlement. He needs to know that the world we live in is broken and in desperate need of rescue. He needs to at least get a glimpse of the darkness to understand how he can be a source of light.
Sin isn't just about the guilt he feels in his tummy when he lies about smacking his brother over the head with a light saber. Sin is so much more dangerous than that. So much more destructive and deadly.
We have hope. A sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, we have a hope that will not fail. When my Facebook news feed is covered with updates about genocide, riots, beloved public figures taking their own lives (O Captain, my Captain....) and everyone is standing around with fingers and guns pointed at one another it makes perfect sense to lose hope. When my phone blows up with text messages and voice mails from a dear friend whose life is turned upside down in a matter of days and suddenly she is left wondering how she can even do life in a way she recognizes anymore, it seems so sensible to blame and rage and resent. It makes perfect sense.
Thankfully, grace doesn't make any sense at all.
It doesn't make sense that the Son of God would humble himself to die a slow, excruciating death out of abundant love for the very people who hammered nails into his hands. There is no logic in it whatsoever according to the ways of this world.
How grateful I am that my Savior doesn't play by the rules of this world. No, he has overcome this world. No addiction, no hate, no violence, no vengeance, no atrocity, no betrayal is unknown to him and he has crushed them all. Not somewhat, not a little bit, not sort of. Complete. Finished. Overcome.
It's fine by me if my son realizes the evil that exists in this world. It makes his God that much more powerful and necessary. That's the kind of strength I want my son to come to understand that dwells within him. For if God is for him, who can be against him? Not ISIS. Not drugs. Not even the mean kid on the playground who calls him names.
Not even death.
Nothing will stand.