Last week I bought a toddlers flipout sofa. It was meant to be for my 17 month old son. He had recently learnt how to climb all over the couches and was prone to falling off, so the flipout sofa was bought in the hope that it would deter him from these risky escapades. Nevertheless as soon as all 3 of my boys saw it, they all fell in love with it and decided they would like a piece of it. They all squeezed onto the tiny sofa and nowadays it’s a fight to see who gets to it first. And no, it did not stop my youngest child from climbing onto the “grown-ups” sofa….
It didn’t take long before the questions I’d been already been preparing for came. “Mummy, Daddy can I have a chair like Leon’s ?” “How come you never got me a chair like that?” Cue the puppy dog eyes and sad facials. I had been expecting this reaction, but still couldn’t help feeling a slight twinge of guilt.
Every shopping trip for my boys results with the same guilty feelings. I bought my oldest a dressing gown (he’d asked for one) and decided my 2nd child should have one as well or he’d feel left out. He loved his dressing gown, but rarely wears it. I always felt like I need to buy 2 or 3 of everything just so the boys wouldn’t feel forgotten about or left out.
Yes it had crossed my mind when my 2 older sons were younger to get them their own mini-sized sofa. But in my attempts to be more mindful and purposeful with my purchases, I had made a decision that it wasn’t necessary (and my older two were not climbers like their baby brother).
But this instance was slightly different. I brushed away my guilt as I looked around my house. There was a plastic blue table with an accompanying blue chair. I had bought that as a Christmas present for my eldest son when he was 2. It’s been well used by him and his siblings as well as many little friends and guest we’ve had over the year. There were 2 extra orange chairs I’d bought as our family grew and as we hosted other families with small children. In the garage were 2 fold-up outdoor chairs in the fashion of Thomas the tank engine and Lightning McQueen. Both for my 2 older boys – not bought as Christmas or birthday presents, but just because I wanted them to have somewhere to sit if we decided to have morning tea outside.
Their younger brother had none of this (though he will reap the benefits of these items) .
Both the boys were around 1.5 to 2 years when they got these items. It’s not an age where they can remember things very well. So I had to gently remind them and let them know that yes, unfortunately they did not get their own mini sofa, but when they were younger they’d received other types of furniture of their own.
It’s not just about the chairs though. After my eldest son started school I decided to take my 2nd son to McDonald’s for lunch as he’d been asking to eat a cheeseburger. Well when my oldest found out that “shock-horror” we’d gone to McDonald’s without him it didn’t go down very well. Then I had to remind him of all the times myself or his Dad had taken out to McDonald’s or other fast food places by himself.
How easy is it to be so unaware and just forget….
And it reminds me that we also forget, we forget about God and what he has done for us.
The bible says that “while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That in itself is amazing. In the verse before it (Romans 5:7) says very rarely will anyone die for someone who is righteous (that’s someone who is near to perfect). And that has some truth. Unless you really love someone or you’re a selfless hero, you’re unlikely to put your hand up to die in place of someone else. But Christ died whilst we were sinners, whilst we were unworthy, whilst we were young and immature and for many of us whilst we didn’t have a clue who the heck he was or what was actually going on.
Yet today so many are ignorant of that very fact, just like my children were seemingly ignorant of the times their Dad and I chose to bless them life by giving them their own chairs and tables, dressing gowns and outings to McDonald’s.
Yes, eventually we grow up and mature, but instead of acknowledging God and thanking him for his sacrifice we complain and challenge God with questions about our lives. Why doesn’t God love me? Why did God allow this suffering to take place in my life? Instead of remembering we carry on and blame God for all the bad that happened in our lives
Or maybe we don’t say anything at all. Maybe we just come to him when life is tough or we need something from him. Maybe we just ignore him and completely leave him out of our lives. Maybe we just take him for granted.
As I sit here writing this it’s the beginning of the Easter long weekend. It’s a specific time set aside to meditate, remember and celebrate what God did for us. But I don’t believe we should leave these celebrations to just once a year. As I gently remind my children to remember and be grateful for the blessings they have in their lives, the gratitude and recognition of what God has done for us and who he is should be something we practice regularly.
What are someways you can include God in your daily life?