There has been a commercial on a local radio station lately about a list a popular speaker used to keep. She called it her "good girl list" and on it she had listed all things she was supposed to do to be good. I have never had a tangible list, but her statement resonated with me.
I am a pleaser. Pleasing people, having people happy with me fuels me. It's a dangerous condition if you run into folks who cannot be pleased. In half a century, I have learned a great deal about myself and can usually recognize when I am seeking approval when I should just be serving my purpose. Nevertheless, when the commercial plays, my mind swims.
I have checked and re-checked the "list" I was supposed to complete as a mother.
- Raise a kind child.
- Attend church - introduce him/her to Jesus
- Raise an independent child - don't fight his/her battles.
- Teach compassion and responsibility, courtesy and respect.
- Teach a job is not done until it is well done.
- Teach him/her to pray
- Pray for him/her daily.
- Protect her/him from poor influences, from danger,
- Pray for others; teach him/her to put others first...
We could go on. It's a list when I cannot understand why I am without Taylor Renee that I pick up and check off again as if this relationship I have with our heavenly father is a token economy. If I do this, I will earn your favor and you will do..... I can remember giving monthly to St. Jude as a young mother and honestly thinking - "If I give my money to others, my child will be protected too."
When the shock wore off, I can remember thinking - "but I prayed for her, for her safety." My mind would recall the verse - " the prayers of a righteous man availeth much." and then conclude that I just wasn't righteous enough. If I had been a better mom, Taylor would still be here where her brother and daddy need her.
Dub, my mom's husband, has given me a book to read about Grace and I have read it one and a half times. Clearly, I don't get it. I don't get grace - I still think I have to earn good favor, that being good is completely on my shoulders. That thinking always lands me in a pool of yuck. You could call it self-pity or self-loathing or a lack of faith - I think you would be correct on any given day.
When I give in to the silence I hold and ask my Joey "why?" "Why did this happen?" He patiently answers because there is evil in the world.
I struggle with Grace - of deserving something I am not worthy of. I am only capable of grasping its infinite definition on a finite level. I'm hoping His grace is big enough to forgive my doubts.
"Let us have confidence, the, and approach god's throne where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it." Hebrews 4:16