Today’s guest post is written by Gloria Furman from Domestic Kingdom.
“I can’t believe we’re wasting a good family hair day,” I joked as I marched my three little ducklings out the door on the way to the Emergency Room.
I was mostly kidding about the hair. Of course there are more important things to worry about! But it’s a rare occasion when I can manage my children’s multiple hair-types and have a good hair day myself!
Nevertheless, we strutted up the catwalk… I mean sidewalk… into the reception area at the ER.
“And how can I help you?” the polite receptionist asked.
I explained our non-emergency situation. My three-year-old had a swollen bug bite that spread into a mysterious rash on her leg. I would have loved to be in and out of the outpatient clinic, but the weekend had just started so the clinic was closed. So here we were in the ER with awesome hair do’s and an itchy leg.
That morning felt like every other morning in my life (minus the great hair and being in the ER). It wasn’t until later that I caught on that it was a big day for my three-year-old who had an itchy leg.
“Come here, my dear, let me see your leg,” the nurse gave my daughter some instructions. And as silent as a kid with a stolen Oreo behind the couch, my doctor-phobic preschooler extended her leg.
“Now I’m going to take your temperature.” With her eyes squinting and jaw set, my little girl leaned her ear in the nurse’s direction.
“Alright, my dear, now hop down and stand on the scale to see how much you weigh.” I held my breath for this one. I normally share in the fun of weighing myself on the scale, too, while holding my crying preschooler. It usually takes a great degree of coercion for my little girl to allow a doctor-type to even come near her with a stethoscope and a pack of Minnie Mouse stickers. There are always crocodile tears, tantrums, and lollipop bribes involved.
But this time, like a professional wrestler who dutifully weighs in before a match, my daughter put down her proverbial gloves and willed herself onto the scale all by herself.
I grinned like a clown having a good hair day. Back in the waiting room my daughter smiled shyly.
“I did it, Mommy,” she whispered to me.
On hearing her announcement I felt like a bucket of ice-cold hope splashed onto my feverishly blistering heart. The past few weeks I had been bitterly preoccupied over her temper tantrum issues. In my prayers that morning I had bellyached with tremendous frustration over them. I felt so weary.
As I remembered my complaints, the state of my own heart came to my mind. Without the restraining, redeeming, and compelling grace of the Lord Jesus in my life, I’m lost as can be. My daughter might pitch fits on the floor when she doesn’t get what she wants, but I do the same thing in my heart.
I was glad for the time I sat on that blue polyurethane chair in the waiting room while God did his surgery in my heart. What grace do I have that was not freely given to me by my heavenly Father? Remembering the Lord’s kindness toward me led me to repentance.
Whatever burdens that I wrongfully try to carry myself (or lay on my child’s back) really belong at the cross. No amount of blood, sweat, and tears that I shed can atone for my sin or that of my children. “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” (Psalm 79:9).
Only Jesus could bear the weight of our sin on the cross and rise again from the dead. Our tender Savior invites us to come to him for rest: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He is our focus and our hope!
As we left the hospital my daughter sauntered into the parking garage proudly carrying a prescription for anti-bug-bite-swelling-itchiness.
I left with a renewed appreciation that Jesus has already done for me what I could never do for myself. Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” When the weariness of life as a sinner living in a fallen world with other sinners overwhelms me, then the gospel reminds my soul, “Jesus did it all.”
And by God’s grace my children will ask me, “Mommy, what are you looking at?” Then I’ll point them to the cross where my gaze is ever fixed.
Gloria Furman (@gloriafurman) lives in Dubai with her husband Dave, a pastor at Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three young kids. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway, 2013) and blogs regularly for Domestic Kingdom.