We entered the crowded restaurant during the very busy lunch hour. It was a rare occasion for our large family to have the opportunity to eat out, but an unexpected monetary Christmas gift made it possible. As we took our seats, our kids chatted with excitement about Christmas. Anne, who was almost sixteen at the time, was telling me a story about what had happened in Sunday School that morning and I was doing my best to focus intently on her conversation. Austin, age 4, sat to my right and was working to get my attention. Without losing eye contact with Anne, I gave Austin a little bit of sign language indicating that I knew he needed me but I wanted to finish my conversation with Anne first.
Soon the whining moved from “Mommy…Mommmmmmmy,” to “Mommy, I have to go potty.” I again motioned to Austin that I had heard him and would be with him in just one moment. But he couldn’t seem to wait. Impatiently he said louder, “Mommy, I gotta go potty. And do you know why I know that I gotta go to the bathroom?” In a moment of exasperation I finally turned to Austin and said, “Ok, Austin. Tell me why you know that you need to go to the bathroom.” In his loudest four-year-old voice Austin responded with, “I know that I need to go to the bathroom ‘cuz I just farted!”
The restaurant went quiet and all eyes focused on our table. I couldn’t believe he had said that and said it so loud.
I wanted to crawl under the table, but instead I carefully got up from the table and began to escort Austin to the bathroom. There was one woman over to our right that was visibly offended at what my child said. She had an appalled look on her face. Then there was a couple over to our left that was working hard to stifle their laughter. I know that my face had to be as red as the Christmas lights that were strung around the room.
Once I was in the bathroom with Austin I began a dialogue with God. “So what do I do about this one, God?” I asked. “I don’t know that this was really disobedience as much as it was simply childish foolishness.” I continued. “And why do I find myself so humiliated when my children do something foolish in public? This isn’t the first time that’s happened.”
As I stood there looking in the mirror, God spoke to me in that moment. Oh, it wasn’t some audible voice that came out of heaven, but rather God brought his Truth to my mind to answer that question.
He said to me, “Jill, your value and your self-worth is not based upon your children’s behavior. Your value is based upon who you belong to. You belong to me and I love you enough to come to earth for you. I don’t give you value because you are a good person or a good mom. Your value is based upon my grace-filled love. That doesn’t change just because your child misbehaves or says something foolish in public.”
That’s a message for every one of us mommas.
With less than one week out from Christmas, let’s remember that Jesus came to this earth to give us a rock-solid identity. One that doesn’t change with the wind…or the emotions…or the behavior of your child…or the color of your teen’s hair.
You and I are defined by a God who doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
That’s something we can celebrate this Christmas.
Need some more encouragement on the identity piece of life? Hop around to a few of our Hearts at Home blogger’s posts to get some much-needed perspective on loving your identity!