Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Keeping Promises

This morning I snapped at my six-year-old over missions money. Of all things.

Elijah’s school is raising money for missionaries, and I recently started having him do some chores to earn his own money to contribute. Because he has no concept of money and its value, he is over the moon about getting TEN CENTS!!! to put in his little jar—which is really precious and funny. After helping with a bunch of laundry last night, he has accumulated quite a few pennies, and to say he’s eager to take them to school would be an understatement.

So he keeps asking me: Mom, can I take the missionary money to school tomorrow? When do I get to take it? Are you going to put a lid on the jar? How will I take it to school? Can I take the missionary money?

I see no need to bag up and keep track of money every day; I planned to wait and send all that he had collected at the end of the week. But despite explaining this to Elijah, his anxious questioning persisted, to the point that I finally threatened to take money *out* of the jar every time he asked. That quickly put an end to the pestering, but this morning he started in again. “Do I get to take the missionary money in today? When can I take my missionary money?”

Already irritated because his dawdling was messing up my morning plans and making us late, I yelled at him. DO NOT ASK ME ABOUT THE MISSIONARY MONEY AGAIN! I PROMISE I WILL SEND IT TO SCHOOL WITH YOU THIS WEEK! BUT WE ARE NOT TAKING IT TODAY!

Awesome mom, huh?

The whole thing reminded me of a blog post I wrote almost four years ago, when Elijah was still a barely-verbal toddler.

Back then, I described how upset he tended to get when I didn’t immediately do what I said I was going to do. I saw that he didn’t trust me, that he needed constant reminders that I really would do what I said I would do. Again and again I had to reassure little Elijah that I wouldn’t forget my promise.

These days, it looks a lot different, but six-year-old Elijah still gets antsy when promises aren’t immediately fulfilled. He still needs those reassurances that I’ll do what I said. And four years later, this part of parenting again points me to the ultimate Keeper of Promises.

Like my son, I tend to freak out when I think my needs or desires have been forgotten. Like him, I easily overlook all the past instances of promises fulfilled, wondering if this time, God might not actually provide.

How thankful I am for my Father’s patience. Instead of lashing out at me angrily when I get antsy and fail to believe what He says, He gently repeats His promises again and again, preserving thousands of them in His Word. He remembers that I am dust, and He has compassion on my weak and fearful heart.

Oh, for grace to extend that patient, compassionate mercy to my boys—to respond to their whining and anxious nagging with gentle reassurance that Mama can be trusted, and to teach them that even when Mama fails, they can trust in the God who will never break His promises. Every single one has been written in the blood of Jesus.

Reminders of Promises

[This post is part of the series "31 Days of Seeing Jesus"--click here for a list of all posts.]

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