"Why does that say Great Job, Mommy?" Will asked in a frustrated tone. "It's not great! It's not a great job. See my fives?"
I didn't know what Will was talking about. I had just gotten home from picking him up from school. It was one of the days where I had all the kids in tow, so I was trying my best to get everyone in the house as quickly as possible. I wanted to give Will my complete attention. Finally, with everyone settled and munching on a snack, I found Will sitting in our den, bookbag open, glancing at a math sheet he had completed during class. I was actually shocked (and to be quite honest, proud) by all of the math problems he had gotten correct. I knew from homeschooling him last year that he was very gifted in math, but had NO IDEA he knew how to compute THIS well. As I was fighting back every prideful and boastful "mommy-ism" due to my son's achievement, my firstborn could only focus on two little backwards '5' s circled in red on the page. Beside them was written the word 'practice' with a little smiley face in the margin.
"See Mommy, it's NOT a great job!"
I was a little frustrated at first. Could he not see every other single problem he got right? And not only got right, but wrote right? That's hard. I couldn't even begin to explain to him that some kids his age wouldn't even know where to begin on this page, but HE got them ALL right. He only wrote the CORRECT answer with a backward five. The teacher didn't even see this as a huge problem. Why is my son such a perfectionist? How do I break him of this? God, how do I teach him it's not about perfection?
And then it came. As if in an audible voice inside my heart, the Lord whispered.
This isn't about teaching Will about perfection. It's about teaching you.
How often I ONLY see the red circled 5's on my pages of life. I don't see all the things I DID do right. All the times I DID teach and model for my children biblical truths. I don't focus on those things. I stare at the red circles. I never see the Great Job. I never BELIEVE the Great Job. Oh what would our lives be like if we were able to embrace the grace God gives us- really embrace it. If at the end of the day, we could lie in our beds and recall all the things we did right and thank God for those moments. Those glimpses of our growth in Christ and His grace poured out on us. What would that be like?
I tell you, this week it's been humbling. It's so humbling that Christ continues to pursue me. He cares THAT MUCH for me to learn and grow. I have my own share of backward fives. I want not to become discouraged as I practice through them.
Tonight, I'm going to go to bed and think about all the good in my day. The moments of pure blessing. Like having lunch with my husband outside Edgar's simply because he wanted to take me out. Like watching Will's beaming face run towards me after school. (my son truly loves me) Like hearing Emma Faye say to me this afternoon, "Mommy, I hope I can grow up and be a mommy and have a baby just like you one day." Like stepping into an immaculate little boy's room and hearing Josh proudly say, "Mommy, I wanted to clean this up for you so you didn't have to ask us." Or peeking over the rails of a crib, and hearing a baby's squeal of delight at the first sight of his mommy. These are the good things. These are the great jobs; supernaturally accomplished by the grace of God--and He gave them to me. He's stamped them right up there on my page. I must mean something special to Him. I do. We all do. How it must break His heart when we fail to recognize His daily encouragements.
Friends, embrace His grace! Live in the Great Jobs.
......then practice the backward fives.