A trip to the grocery store is never dull with two young sidekicks. To be honest, I don’t often take my youngest boys on such adventures, but today I was in no rush and I knew they would enjoy helping recycle the pop cans. What 6 year old doesn’t enjoy feeding metal cans into a machine smelling of fermented fruit with crushing sounds added to the reward?
Their joy was enormous. So big that I pulled out my phone to take a photo so I wouldn’t forget. It is almost as if I knew the quick trip into the grocery would become the blog post that unstuck my words and got me writing again.
We grabbed our few things for dinner and headed to the self-check out. Truly, I am not usually this patient, but we were on a roll..the boys so helpful and my heart in a space where I could slow down and enjoy them. I showed the youngest how to find the bar code as big brother coached from the side, but then shoved his way in to the game. I was bagging the last item when I looked over and saw him leaning over the machine and running his forehead over the scanner.
“This is proof!” He demanded at the lack of a beep and price tag. “I am priceless.” Can you picture his cheeky grin? The thing you might know about Little Man and his humor, he cracks himself up almost as much as he makes me laugh. For good reason. He is hysterical. Where he comes up with this stuff is beyond me.
The deep love that God has for me is a theme that has been pursuing my soul the last two years. Yes, two years. God has gently been stripping away my life content that makes me think I am lovable. Maybe I am the only one, but somehow I had flawed theology wedged in my heart. If I sacrifice, God loves me more. The more I read my Bible the more pleased His is. When I follow the list of should and should nots, then God might see me. If I serve overseas, then of course He sees me as worthy. My job, my title, my salary, my parenting skills, my productivity, they all seemed to equal my value. If this is all true, then what happens when you just can’t any more? When everything is not as it was?
Our return to the States, medical issue after medical issue, and a pandemic….life just hasn’t returned to the normal that I thought we would get back to. Maybe, that isn’t a bad thing. My life has slowed down and during this season family has been my focus. I am learning to redefine what ministry might look like for me, and we are thinking outside of the box. Above all of those significant shifts….I am starting to learn what actually matters. I am loved deeply by God no matter where I live, what job I hold, or what others think of me. His love is not conditional, and when God scans my heart, there is no bar code declaring my worth. I stand before God in freedom.
Recently while talking about parenting, a well intentioned friend who doesn’t have kids asked me if it was all worth it. “You didn’t really sign up for all this, did you?” I was not offended by her question – I found it brave. I think a lot of people look at us and wonder. To be frank, on dark days any soul might allow that question to pop into our exhaustion.
The answer is always the same. These kids are priceless and worth everything.
If I can answer that way in the middle of another round of bone infections, surgeries, and antibiotics…How much more does God answer the same about me? About you? No matter how much we accomplish (or don’t accomplish), no matter how many times he has to hold our hands, no matter how much “trouble” we cause him – God’s answer is the same. We are priceless. He counted the cost. Arrived in a barn. Embraced the cross and regrets none of it.
Today, I am still chuckling over my clever boy scanning his forehead. His antics spur me towards contemplation. How can I live this one priceless life in such a way that I remind others of their worth in Christ?