Last week, as I attempted to dress three children for a photo shoot with their aunt that was supposed to take place at 10am, for which I was hoping to arrive by 9:30 so as to allow more actual photo time, I scrambled to find three pairs of socks, pull on three pairs of pants (ok, four if you include mine - and that was important to me), tug on shirts, locate jackets and secure shoes.
Meanwhile, the children had been bathed and were eating breakfast. And as I scuttle to and fro that middle son of mine has pushed off his shoes, tugged off his socks and run happily to play.
Frustrated, I demanded, "Emmett! Stop taking off your shoes!" Because anyone who has ever put tight shoes on a squirrely toddler will tell you, it's not fun and it's not quick. We were behind and this shoe thing was not helping.
So, we re-locate two socks and two shoes and put them back on. I scurry to find that third jacket. I return to find that same boy in socks. No shoes. Trying to work himself out of the jacket on his arms.
"Stop taking off what I have put on!"
In this exasperated moment, I had clarity of thought to recognize these very words as ones I could just as easily have heard from God Himself - in fact, I'd dare say it was the Holy Spirit who pointed this out to me, saying, "Are you hearing yourself? Why, then, do you continually take off what I have put on?"
And I recalled right there in the Scripture where we are commanded "to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24, ESV).
Too often I am that child, the one God is trying to dress in the new manner, holy and righteous as He, preparing me for the tasks ahead. And there I am, stubborn and obstinate, ripping off the new (or maybe even doing so more subtly, simply slipping off what still feels a little uncomfortable at times, what hasn't been broken in), in favor of the old, the easy - the harsh words, angry tones, bitter spirit.
And all the while He's there, pleading (in a much more patient manner than I tend to display with my own children), "Daughter, stop taking off what I have put on!"
Since that moment of epiphany as I hurried the kids to the car, I've noticed a change. As I strive to keep on the new, the old is what suddenly feels out-dated, uncomfortable and stiff. I find myself, after years of trying it back on to see how it fits, finally ready to throw it out - because goodness knows I don't dare desire to see my children wearing this hideous monstrosity.
I think I just might like to keep this one - this one He has put on.
1026. Three children in my lap for story-time
1027. Following the Spirit's leading in service
1028. Twister with my littles - this old body ain't what she used to be
1029. A refreshing time with girls
1030. Keeping on the new
1031. A sick Sunday morning which meant lunch snuggled in Mommy and Daddy's bed - for everyone!
Photos from Sunday:
Joey's baby dinosaur face. Makes me smile every time.
Brother kisses are the best. Especially when they're unprovoked.