I realized something this morning. It isn’t pretty. As per usual, it’s come from observing my toddler. If anyone’s sitting there thinking right now that I’m mean for saying I’ve learned something bad from my toddler, I’m assuming you’ve never had one. But for those of you who aren’t too offended to keep reading, I continue. 🙂
We’re at this stage with my son, who just turned three. It’s this stage where he has learned to follow rules, but his heart has not understood what it means to obey. Some of this is a lack in our parenting and example, I’m sure. Some of it, though, is that he is a fallen being and he was before he hit zygote stage. Scripture is clear on this.
This morning, Eamonn got up way earlier than usual. I have been getting up at 5:00 AM to have some time to myself — some time of peace where I can drink enough coffee to wake up and pray myself into the day. One of my prayer requests is that this time won’t keep getting shortened by Eamonn’s getting up earlier and earlier as he did this morning. So, finally, at 6:30 he was up for a bit and what I thought was for good.
You know, moms, those mornings, where every little thing — even the easy ones — become a battle? “Eamonn, it is too early for you to be up. But you can sit with me while I finish reading and praying. You may do a hidden picture sheet or you may read a book.” “Ohh…I think I play my dart gun.” “No, no dart gun. That is loud. You may do your hidden picture or look at a book. Oh, or you can do puzzles. It needs to be quiet because I’m not done yet.” “I play your computer?” “No. You may choose puzzles, book, or hidden pictures.” “Ohhhh. Okay I do puzzles.” Which lasted for about 3 minutes when I heard both xylophones being played at once. “Eamonn, you must play quiet things.” “But I AM playing dem quiet and in my room.” “No. This is not what I’ve asked. I’ve given you three things you may do…” “But…” I won’t go into anymore detial because it wasn’t fun for anyone.
But so it began. With every single option given, something else off the list was chosen — or, something partially on the list but slightly different. Of all the available options, each of which he would love had he not been active in resistance this morning, none was chosen as presented. Look, I’m new at this. I’m sure plenty of you would have caught onto the issue way before I did this morning. May I blame it on not having had my second mug ‘o joe? Whatever, I’m getting to the point.
Puzzles were chosen again and I lay down on the floor of Eamonn’s room with him while he worked a puzzle and I started to read in Exodus. (I’m way behind on my ESV in a year reading plan.) I was at the 7th plague. This is one of those stories that you’ve heard so many times since you were a little kid that you sort of shut down parts of your brain when you read it because you think you already know everything that’s in there. That’s how I tend to think about things like Moses and the Plagues, or Noah and the flood, or David and Goliath.
But here is what hit me this morning that I’ve never heard anyone mention before. Pharaoh obeyed a few times before the first Passover! Well wait. Let me restate that. Pharaoh obeyed…sort of. Moses said, “Let my people go.” And Pharoh said, “All right! Go! Well, okay, the men can go. But the kids stay here.” Plague. Moses said, “Let my people go with all of their belongings.” Pharaoh obeyed some more and disobeyed some more, “Fine. GO. Good riddance. All of you go. Oh, but I’ll need all your cattle to stay.” I’m paraphrasing a little.
First I thought of Eamonn. Hooooo boy! Yup! My kid’s not just a pharasee — keeping the “whole” Law but rebelling in heart. He’s PHARAOH. Keeping part of the law laid down but resisting parts and calling it obedience. I mean it was just all crashing in so clearly, what his problem was.
And then a small niggling thought occurred to me.
I do this ALL the time. I am called to submit to different forms of authority before God and I am the queen of partial submission. I give on the items in my home especially where I agree and no sacrifice is involved. But what about the areas where my husbad for perfectly legitimate reasons has an opinion or desire different from mine?
I could go on and on in all of the areas of partial obedience in my life. That content alone would constitute a whole fleshed-out category in this blog if I wanted it to. But instead I want to focus on vocabulary. It isn’t partial “obedience” at all. Rather, it’s plain disobedience through and through because any alteration is resistance in full. It’s hypocrisy at its clearest because it’s made to look like submission and obedience when really, somewhere, I’ve made it on my terms.
This is garbled because that second mug is still sitting on the table getting cold. But I just had to get this down. This morning I read Exodus and I identified with Pharaoh instead of the enslaved Israelites and Moses.
The difference, thankfully, is that my heart is not hard like Pharaoh’s. I am allowed to see, by God’s grace, my own disobedience and resistance. And I am promised help in changing because I’m steeped in Love freely given, not plagues and wrath poured out on my deserving head. I am hidden away from the final wrath and consequences Pharaoh was dealt because of the blood of the true Passover Lamb.
So this morning as I go microwave my coffee, now cold on the table, I contemplate full submission and obedience and pray for the grace to carry them out.
And finally as an imitator of my Father like in Ephesians 5:1 and 2 I will walk in love and try to pour myself out well to my son as an example of real obedience and submission. By God’s grace I will accomplish it.