Thursday, March 10, 2011

Through the looking glass of parenting

I think the best way to view ourselves and God is through parenting. Olivia gives me a look into myself and in her world that no other can give to a Mom but God. That simplistic thought and perception of life through such innocence and love is incredible.

I remember when she was a baby and she was wanting to walk. Her determination was evident in her eyes. You could sit and look at her face as her eyes traveled around the room mapping out her journey by the placement of furniture so she could pull herself up and walk to the next place. The only place she could not go on her feet was the kitchen. But then, that little brilliant mind figured out she could push her walker in the kitchen and be right up under my feet. I would turn around and trip over her more times than not. But even at the small age I could see those big eyes and so much was being said behind them. That brain was just working in overdrive. That was determination.

So it should not be a shock to me that she is so determined. That she "wills" her body to conform to what her mind wants to do. It has become a joke between the friends that really know Olivia. Because if you just look at her casually and watch her playing with other kids (even though now as a teenager I guess that might be the wrong word) you would have no idea how tired and worn out she is. She is doing her best to keep up. Then, as soon as we get into the car…she falls over in a heap and is begging to get home. I have never seen anyone with as much strong will power as this girl has.

Reflecting on the that strong determination, I see in her a perception of life that is different. I am reminded of something I had seen before and learned a long time ago but really now see more clearly than ever. The total beauty and sacrifice of the cross.

We all know that God sent His son to save us. We all know that Jesus took upon himself the sin of the world. We also know that he died and rose again. During his walk on this earth He never sinned. He couldn't sin. If He sinned He could not pay that price for us. He was fully man and fully God. So what was it that He accomplished for us besides forgiveness with the Father?

When I see the cross now, I think I get it. I think I see what happened when man fell…what happened when Christ came and died and rose again. You all may know this, I am sure you do but for me it was an epiphany of sorts. What Jesus did was die to his flesh so that His spirit was the "will". When the bible says he took the Keys to the Kingdom back for us. That was the key…the key to live our life above our earthly pleasures, desires, wants and our sin. That we could have the ability, with the Holy Spirit, to actually be so determined that we could will our spirit to help us walk through this world and not our flesh.

I have heard this before. I have taught it before. Even at our Women's retreat earlier this year we touched on it. But, it is one thing to "know" something and another to "see" it before you.

This January we went to see "Beauty and the Beast" at the Fox Theatre. What a beautiful opportunity. But Olivia was so very ill. We didn't even realize how ill she was. She was so determined to go. When we made it downtown she could barely walk. I kept thinking we should turn back. Go home. But she pushed on. I thought the walk just through the lobby of the theatre was going to do us both in. She was shaking, she was hurting, she was so weak. But, again we pressed on. Through all of it, not once did she say " I need to go home", not once did she complain, she just pressed on.

We found our seats and she curled up in it as much as she could and waited for the show to begin. She took joy in looking at the scenery, the costumes, the singing and the fun of it all and not once did she complain until we were ready to go. All she asked is if Dad could bring the car up to the sidewalk. As parents we really did not want her to miss something she so dearly loves but we also want to protect her. We rely on Olivia to tell us where to draw the line.

We made it home and she collapsed. On Monday I got the call to bring her in immediately that she was in acute kidney (yes, not liver) failure. All I could think of was how sick she was and we didn't know.

For Olivia, her spirit transcended her flesh and she was able to do something she loved. The same with Jesus. He pressed in to the Father's will and not once did he complain. He pressed on because of something He loved dearly, us. Not only did He press on but He left us the Holy Spirit to be able to press in to the Father and listen to His will for our lives and live above our flesh. What a gift is that!