The other night, as I watched my six year-old twins sleeping peacefully, all curled up and snuggled next to each other, I thought about how absolutely perfect and adorable they are. How innocent. How beautiful. The quintessential image of happiness in the home.
My mind drifted to thoughts of my older son, Liam, who I’d just kissed goodnight in the other room. Not unlike other nights, we’d prayed for family members who have not yet received Jesus as their Savior. This time though, the worry and fear for our loved ones – that we might not see them in Heaven – was brought on by the movie, Heaven is for Real, which all four of us had just finished watching. Liam prayed through tears for the people he loves the most. At eleven, he’s one of the kindest, most compassionate people I know.
And then it occurred to me. I am blinded by my love for my children. In this quiet moment of tranquility, watching my children dream by the hue of the TV’s blue light, my smile turned to a half chuckle; I began laughing at myself. How quickly I had completely forgotten about all the exasperating moments earlier that evening – let alone the day – that these three children of mine had put me through.
I’ll give you some examples. At dinnertime Liam became completely frustrated and irritated with his sister for pouring too much water into her glass. Not kidding. You see, our fridge measures the amount of water that is dispensed when the water button is depressed. Over time, Liam has taken to filling each glass with exactly two-thirds of a cup of water. His sister pressed the button too long.
As I sat down to the table, the girls began arguing over who eats faster overall, and later, over who spoke first while playing the “quiet game” – highly recommended by the way, if you’d like the eating of dinner to be complete in under an hour.
I began to feel my mental state change from happy-to-be-home-from-work-Mom, to diplomat and counselor, which eventually gave way to that question every mom mumbles inside her head, “Is it time for bed yet?” Nope. We haven’t even wrapped up dinner. And then there’s clean up, baths, stories, water, the second round of potty trips, and finally, prayers.
But I digress.
As parents, we instantly forget the sins of our children in the moments of laughter, in their giggles, in the “I love you this much” hugs, when we find “I love you” notes under our pillows, when we stand in the doorway of their room and watch their (temporarily) calm little bodies slowly move up and down with their breath, sleeping soundly in the stillness of the night.
Our love blinds us, makes us forget and diminishes the harsh reality of their sinful nature.
The instant and innate feeling we all share for newborns is that of awe and joy, the pure and sacred embodiment of the human being; that which we hold dear and beloved above all else. Nothing else on earth is considered more precious, cherished or perfect. I know. I had three.
And then they cry. Incessantly. They wail for food, for clean underpants, for entertainment, for a nap, because they are uncomfortable or for no particular reason at all, except maybe to hear the sound of their own voice two octaves higher than normal. And as they mature, they bite, kick, stomp, pout, roll their eyes and talk back. One of the first words they learn is “no.”
Even babies are sinful.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5
The other day my colleague and I exchanged temper tantrum stories. Apparently her son’s latest fit of rage – after being told he could not have a specific item from the toy aisle, complete with the reminder that he already had many toys at home – ended with the exclamation, “But I want everything!”
That is our human nature. Every last one of us wants it all, and starts the moment we are conceived. As a mother of twins, I could feel my girls vie for space in the womb, each wanting to stretch their legs out, which led to kicking wars between one another. That first wail after birth signifies discontent, as if to say, “Put me back in!” And then begins the feeding cycles, hunger pains from our bundles of joy constantly opening the eyelids of a weary and sleep-deprived new mom. Meal time waits for no one and no schedule; you’ll not find compromise or sympathy from a hungry infant.
Today there is no such thing as a perfect, sinless baby: not yours, not mine. Jesus, however, was perfect. From conception until His death He committed not one sin. He never threw a temper tantrum, never pouted and always shared his toys.
I’m grateful to know that Jesus loves me as I love my children. One request of forgiveness will wipe away all my sins, just as one “I love you Mommy” instantly erases all parenting frustrations. At the end of the day, no matter the level of insanity my children may have driven me to, I’d lay down my life to save my three children. For my life, Jesus already has.