Having just spent some delightful time with Sloane, Ward and their mom, I came away with some reminders of family and living in real life.
What you think you see isn’t always what it appears to be.
These two siblings are close. Ward, two years younger, wants to be with Sloane and do everything she does.
At times Sloane relishes that closeness. She’s very caring toward her brother and often watches out for him.
These moments are idyllic; these are the times where others watch the two of them and marvel at their sweet relationship.
Until Ward disrupts her plan. Then she keeps him at a distance.
Not a response he enjoys. Or tolerates. Ward lets her and his mom know about his dissatisfaction with dropped shoulders and a genuine demeanor of sadness. At one point Ward wanted a book Sloane was reading, and he became cranky when she wouldn’t give it to him. She’s good about sharing; this time she didn’t want to do it.
Being a mom as well as a nana causes issues; there is a fine line between stepping in as a parent and being invited to speak as a grandparent. This was a time to keep my mouth shut, to allow my daughter to do what she needed to do for her children.
I watched as Melody dealt with her kids, with a gentle tenderness that comes from loving those two well. It didn’t matter that she’d been trying to do something else; she took the time to focus on them and kindly correct them for the how they could have made better choices.
They received their discipline well–that’s not always the case. Kids will be kids, and sometimes there’s a lot of kicking and screaming.
Not this time. Melody hugged them both, assured them of her love, and they then shared the book they both wanted.
There’s something very freeing about knowing you don’t have to earn someone’s favor to be loved. Often kids feel a sense of “I need to” in order for them to feel accepted by their parents. Or friends, teachers, or others.
We all tend to feel a sense of “I need to do something” in order to earn or keep someone else’s favor–someone we love, respect, or want to become closer to.
God never requires us to “do” for His favor. Once we are His, we live from a place of received favor, of being fully accepted and loved, even though He knows we’ll blow it consistently. That’s what grace is–a gift of favor because of what Jesus did for us that we don’t have to earn.
Every other faith/religion in the world is based on earning favor from God or a group of gods through actions. Jesus alone offers grace; He receives us freely and gifts us with His goodness which makes us fully acceptable to God.
No contingencies. No loopholes. Favor bathed in love.
Sloane and Ward don’t struggle with wondering if their mom or dad love them. They’re secure in their full acceptance, no matter what they do.
Full and free favor. In Jesus.
It’s easier than you think.