(May I introduce you to the latest addition to my nest? My grand daughter Susanna Joy - my daughter Sarah and her artist-husband Jonathan Howe had their second daughter two weeks ago!
And, if you can stand your cute-ometer pegging all the WAY, deep in the red zone, you can click here)
In the home education community, that just might make us big fat failures. It at least makes us slightly unfit failures. We certainly aren't skinny achievers of the Homeschool Dream. In grade-speak, if you split the difference, we come away with a C- or a D+.
Our sons never were "Opie Taylor in Mayberry". They were more like Buckwheat or Butch, from Little Rascals, with a pack of cigarettes in their shirt sleeve, a can of skoal in their back pocket, a blunt hidden away somewhere else....an attitude and a mean streak.
And I'm glad. In a way. Please hear me out.
I say it with fear and trembling. I. Am. Glad. I tremble, because the reality of what I am telling you has broken my heart. It has broken the very heart of my heart. You know...that place where idols tend to be hidden away. "Return to your rest, oh my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you!" and "Before I was afflicted, I went astray..."
I can be glad in the Gospel. I can be glad because, last time I checked, the Prodigal Son was called the Prodigal SON, not the Prodigal Monster, or the Prodigal Embarrassment, or the Prodigal Foster Child. And a son is a son is a son. A daughter is a daughter is a daughter. I will not hang my head in shame, because Christ is the friend of sinners, and gave His life to bring children into glory. Like Peter of New Covenant fame, I will not call unclean that which God calls clean. God said He is married to the backslider. Doesn't that just mess with you?
Be glad. Like me.
The Lord has set me up high, way up high - and given me the panoramic view of Grace, and I can see my sons returning by faith when they are yet a long way off. Maybe even a really long way off. Regardless, my heart is free to run towards them, not away.
Will they be miserable until they surrender wholeheartedly? Here's the thing: not at first. But eventually - the misery will become palpable.
It was palpable for me. It is palpable for me. I still find unsurrendered pieces of my heart now and then - and a lack of peace is the barometer. Anxiety, and being consumed with my own pain is the barometer - and I am glad of it. I can know when and exactly where I have unsurrendered inner territory.
Oh, I am glad, I am glad, I am glad! He has made me glad, and filled my heart with joy. I declare it yet again/again/again, before the outcome can be seen, that grace will accomplish what the law could never do. Oh, my boast is so in the Lord on this one!
I completely trust in the power of the blood to save. And sanctify.
Ya'll, I am a jacked up Jesus Freak. I read the curses of the law one time, as listed in Exodus....that long, long list of scary stuff. I got so happy in God, I could have shouted and chased traffic, for the sheer joy of the revelation of grace. None of it can touch me. On my worst day, none of it can touch me. In fact, I receive the opposite blessing.
Here is why: He (Christ) became sin for me. His obedience and righteousness are credited to me, and the curse of the law is broken over my life. It is broken, because I do not in any measure depend on my own obedience to the law. Cursed is everyone....oh, hear me!...everyone who does not fully obey the law and everything contained in it. (Deut. 27:26)
If you depend, even in the smallest way, on keeping the law in order to be blessed, I have bad news: you haven't kept the law in the past, and you won't keep it next week. The only way to get out from under the curse is to be in Christ Jesus. Crucified with Him, buried with Him in baptism, raised with Him as a new creature.
I'm glad. I'm simply glad. God is so good, I can't even stand it. And I don't need perfect children or a certain timing or a certain outcome to know, down to the marrow of my bones, that I am blessed and highly favored.