I walked down to our basement with a load of wash, sorted the laundry, and throw it in as the drum filled with cold water and soap. As much as I hate doing laundry, in a house with six people, it has to be done on a consistent basis or we have a major backup. I can't not do it, even though it requires leaving my kids in the living room for three minutes while I throw it in or rotate it to the dryer. It's like being on a race with myself every time I run down there. My toddlers are by themselves. Ahh!!!
This particular day, I walked back up the stairs thinking that I would start some lunch while my little ones played quietly in the living room. But a little detour happened when I saw this:
Ellie, Caleb, Elijah, and Abby
Actually, that photo isn't accurate by all. When I arrived at the top of the stairs, what I really saw was four two-year-olds, all carefully balanced on the lid of the toy box, touching the screen all over and pushing every button they could find. They know that is a huge no-no at our house. By the time I got to my camera, Ellie was back on the floor and telling the boys they shouldn't be up there, Abby was pretending like she had never been up there at all, and the boys...well, the boys were still punching as many buttons as possible until I got over to them to enforce the rules.
It's a mildly funny story (if you ignore the part about the kids potentially damaging the TV or the TV potentially falling and damaging the kids), but I really took the photo for an entirely different reason.
My kids know exactly what the rules are. We aren't vague at all about the boundaries that we have set up for them. A few of them are: Don't stand on the coffee table. Don't stand on the furniture. Don't play with Mommy's laptop. and Don't stand on the toy box and bang on the TV. We do enforce consequences when they do those things, yet they keep going back to them.
I totally get that they are two-year-olds. Believe me, I am immersed in toddlerhood day in and day out. But I still look at them and think, "I've told you what you can't do. I've made it completely clear. I've swatted you for disobeying. Why in the world do you keep doing that when you know what your Daddy and Mommy want and that consequences will quickly come your direction when we catch you?"
I'll be honest. My relationship with God has suddenly been put in a whole new light. How often do I repeatedly do things that I'm not supposed to do? I imagine God is thinking much the same thing, "Becca, this is pretty black and white. You've already messed this up in the past and suffered consequences because of it. Why would you do it again?"
Oh man. Why do I do that?!
I can't help noticing a similarity in something else though. I still love my kids like crazy. No matter what they do, I have and always will love them. Even if they destroy our TV, fall off of the coffee table and break their arms, and drop Mommy's laptop all in the same day. That won't change. Period.
And the way that God loves me, in all of my imperfections and struggles, doesn't change either. I find so much security and stability in knowing that I can't mess up too much to be unloved by God. And that makes me want to try that much harder to be a woman after His heart.
I hope my kids know that they are loved unconditionally now and forever by Sean and I. And I hope that the way we build and care for the relationships that we have with our kids helps lead them to their own relationships with Jesus someday.