River of Wild Grace {What’s your fresh water source?}

Rebekah approached the front door, and of course, the children started…

“Come look what I can play!” said one.

“But I want to go first!” complained another.

“You went first last week” a third interrupted.

From around the corner, a fourth whined, “Do I haaaaave to take piano lessons?”

Embarrassment slithered under the door like I’d imagine Kaa might do in Disney’s version of The Jungle Book. My one eye narrowed while the other eye raised crooked and the lines across my forehead etched deeper still.  I shared a knowing look with a quite unknowing 20-something piano teacher and hid my embarrassment behind contorted and condescending facial expressions.

Why do I care?  Why can I mother all day without rolling my eyes, spewing sarcasm, or casting knowing looks to an imaginary co-conspirator, but as soon as another human heart beats higher than the heads of my children, I suddenly roll back my sleeve to reveal concealed intolerance, like a long-hidden tattoo.

I think I’m thirsty.  {Anyone have a Mojito? Or a MaiTai?}

No seriously.  I’m thirsty.  I’m thirsty for approval.  Like the billboards on I-95 that lead you on a many-mile detour to the nearest money trap {i.e. South of the Border anyone?}, the world operates a great propaganda campaign on my mind:

Here. Drink in man’s approval.

It’s refreshing.  It’s cool and inviting.

Come. Sip.  You will be satisfied.

But the problem with advertising campaigns is that they promise more then they deliver.  Really, what is the thirst of my soul?  The approval of man?  Or to be a man {or woman} fully approved?

Romans 14:18 tells me

the kingdom of God is not a matter of [being like the world], but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and {gasp!} approved by men.

Even if I recognize right from wrong; Even if I establish a household standard of peace; Even if I judge joy more delightful than sorrow, but I continue to drink from the well of man’s approval, I might as well drink salt water.

It’s like my friend Chris once said: When I fall for the world’s promises, it’s like being marooned on a lifeboat amidst ocean waters. Eventually, without a fresh water supply, I gulp the salt water to quench my insatiable thirst.  Not only does the salt water increase my dehydration, but the increased dehydration might just bring me closer to my death.

What have I really done when I turn to my piano teacher and sigh a burdensome sigh and roll a reproachful eye?
  • I forsake God, the fountain of living waters. { Jeremiah 2:13}.
  • I reject God and carve out a cistern for myself – a broken cistern that can hold no water {Jeremiah 2:13b}.

I turn a red-hot cheek to the free gift of Living Water, and instead labor to unearth a mere drop of approval earned by my own blistered fingers.  I swallow worldly promises rather than drink in God’s Word. In my thirst for approval, I gulp down salt water while the water of life sits idly by {on my bedside table, perhaps?}

But, isn’t every child’s sinful outburst really a cry of thirst as well? 

“Come look what I can play!  Approve of me.  I’ve worked so hard for your praise.”

“But I want to go first!  I want to be applauded first.”

“Do I have to take piano lessons?  Do I have to fail publicly…again?”

Doesn’t every sinful child really just need another sip from the fountain of Living Water? No matter how old they are?

I am His

I could continue to serve salt water – that sweet promise, yet bitter lure for reputation, approval, or fame.  Or, I could whet their {and my!} appetite for water from the River of Wild Grace.  Pure. Clean. Refreshing Living Water.

I could create a home where the life of Christ is present, and the presence of Christ is true life. Where every sinful outburst is not an opportunity  to roll my eyes in derision and hide my embarrassment behind condescension.  But rather.  Rather a reminder of our real thirst for full assurance of acceptance in Christ?

I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. – Gal 2:20

Next time, maybe I’ll just turn their little faces in my cupped hands, open the ears of my own heart, and whisper slow, “You are loved.  You are redeemed.  You have been called by name.  You are His.”

Q4U: What is your favorite fresh water source?  Where do you like to sit on the River of Wild Grace?  Which verse(s) restore your soul?

{Photo credits found HERE}

{More Pinterest inspiration found HERE}

Might I Pray for Us:

Dearest Lord Jesus,

You are the River of Life, the Wellspring of Grace, the Fountain of Living Waters.  We confess that we attempt to satisfy our thirst with anything but Your Truth: approval, fame, money, power.  Forgive us, Lord.  Help us turn to You: the way, the Truth, and the life. Help us drink in Your Truth and be satisfied. Amen.

Notes of Encouragement: