Ok, so here’s the thing. It has become abundantly clear to me lately that the little 2-year old, self-professed heir-to-some-throne, somewhere in America I call my daughter really does believe she is a magical fairy princess. I see it in the attitude that daily screams (implicitly AND verbally), “I am here. Notice me! Bow down to me! Provide goldfish at my beckoned call! And do not even think of saying ‘no’ to me!” I see it in the sweet little, “Nooooo’s” that resound throughout our halls oh, let’s say, about every 6.3 seconds. And I see it in every outfit she meticulously chooses each morning. Oh wait, each hour, because yes, she MUST change clothes every hour, on the hour, as if her little pint-sized life depended on it. And I’m not talking about a new dress. I’m talking 4 new skirts, all at the same time, 3 pairs of underwear and the ONE tank top amidst the thousands that seems to scream her name every.moment.of.every.day. Why??? For the love of all that is holy (and most of her wardrobe is at this point), why can’t she let her mother pick an outfit for her? All kidding aside, let’s delve into this battle I call the Great Wardrobe Debate of 2011.
What’s really at the heart of the matter here? I, being the super organized, ghetto fabulous, mother-of-the-year that I am, seek only to present to the world, a well-put-together, darling, proper, presentable child any mother would swoon over. An honorable intention, right? And she, being the strong-willed, simple minded, new at the way this whole mother-daughter relationship thing works, child, seeks only to destroy me and my good intentions. Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Sounds a bit nutty, if you ask me. Here it is, ladies. Wait for it...we’re nutty if we believe our little mini-me’s can see even a fraction of an inch beyond what we see. ‘Cause here’s how it plays out in our minds. “She is a reflection of me and the job I am doing with her. What will others think if she doesn’t match, look clean, and well put-together?” And here’s how it plays out in her mind. “Purple is pretty. Green is pretty. Put them together, twice as pretty!”
So I have no choice but to dig deep and try to fathom why the mixing of Play-doh colors does not bother me in the least, but an outfit that doesn’t match sends me so far over the edge no amount of therapy can bring me back. So I’ve been mulling it over incessantly and I think I’ve got it. It’s become increasingly obvious to me since I became a parent that the path I deem “appropriate” for my babies is actually the exact opposite of what God intends for them. Bear with me. I’m not calling myself a failure (not today anyway), just exploring and comparing a worldly point of view with God’s truth about the matter. You see, I see my babies as a reflection of me and so, I want them to look composed and presentable to the world. Sweet smelling babies = successful mother, right? The problem is, my view of presentable and God’s view are entirely different. I’ve been conditioned to think that I must appear as if I’ve got it all together, a Superwoman of sorts, able to leap tall-buildings in a single bound, or at the very least, get in and out of the dollar aisle at Target without running over another mommy’s toes with my cart. I must make it to the early soccer game, bring the best hot dish at MOPS and be on time, be met at the classroom door with cheers of, “Junior did an excellent job sharing today,” volunteer to host the weekly playdate, not raise my voice for more than 3 hours straight, have the cleanest toilet on the block, AND make a mean meatloaf. Right? Pause for effect.
Breathe. Here’s the good news. God laughs at my view of presentable. His view looks a little more like this. Are you comfortable and confident in my love for you? If you are, you’re ready to face the world. Go and make disciples of the nations - even if your shoes don’t match. You see, we view our children as reflections of us and God views us the very same way. Scary, but freeing. Ask yourself this...what exactly is it that you are reflecting of your Heavenly Father? Love? Compassion? Grace? And most of all, Need? Do you need Him? Because I truly believe THAT is what He cares about, so much more so than the color of our socks, though frankly, I think he prefers the frilly lace ones with the pom pom balls on the back!
The truth is that most of the time, my outfit looks great (please don’t hunt me down on Thursday to test this one out), but on the inside, my clothes are lying in a pile on the closet floor. And I believe the heart of God would beat so loudly if I let the world peek into my closet rather than glimpse at the false front I so often present to try to make myself feel worthy. Am I raising babies that look good or babies that look to God? You see, in her pint-sized, not yet scarred, 2-year old mind, the princess truly believes when she puts that 4th skirt over the 3rd she has crossed the threshold from little girl to magical fairy princess. What if I believed that whole-heartedly in the reflection God sees in me? That I am so passionately loved despite my appearance? That I am deeply accepted despite the way I feel on any given day? What if the world saw the blood of Jesus rather than the coffee stains on my tank top?
Most days I have to break out the handcuffs to get the princess to let me brush her hair and so, it’s difficult for me to look at those darling little curls and not hear the words, “Child, what happened to your head?” ringing in my ears. Perhaps now I’ll look at her and see a crown of thorns beneath the faux-diamond tiara and remember that my Father does not care if hair number 4,214 was out of place. And when princess insists on her favorite dress (from 2009) and I’m struggling to button the top 3 buttons on the back that no longer close because she’s just had her seventeenth growth spurt, I’ll see the lashes my Jesus endured for me and remember that a perfectly buttoned shirt could never hide that. And when no amount of jelly beans can convince her that shoes are a necessity on the playground, I’ll think of the great sacrifice my loving savior made for me as I’m washing her feet at the end of the day and I’ll smile. Because I believe sometimes when we refuse to listen, our sweet, sweet Father has no choice but to find gentle reminders such as these to whisper in our defiant ears, “I do not care how the world sees you. I see you as flawless, clothed in righteousness, precious and holy, set apart for Me.” Now zip up your jacket and go tell them how much I love them.