Wednesday night we resumed AWANA after a much needed nice long though not long enough break. The girls love to dress up in their little uniforms. It’s a Cubbies t-shirt, with the official AWANA red vest which holds their badges and jewels awarded for memorizing Bible verses.
Much less sewing involved than the Girl Scouts. A bonus for me. I usually just need to super glue the jewels into the little crown that is pinned to the vest. Another bonus to AWANA, over, say, Girl Scouts, is that no camping is involved.
On our way home, I was compelled to stop in at Target because another AWANA leader told me that boy’s shoes were on clearance. Jensen has been stuck wearing once-white sneakers that were hand-me-downs from his two older sisters. And they looked the part.
And since I refuse to pay more than $10.00 for kid’s sneakers, I justified the purchase of two pair, plus some little boy sandals for $2.48.
I should have been ecstatic. However, I was too consumed with correcting my daughters’ behavior. They were bickering over who got to push the cart (because everyone knows that you need a whole cart to buy a pair of sneakers). I tried assigning drivers in different aisles, but they would retaliate by “accidentally” rear ending the other sibling. At one point Emme grabbed a vacated cart and an all out cart war erupted. With me in the middle.
I kept a level head, even through the following dialogue:
“MOM, she touched me.”
“MOM, she’s looking at me.”
“MOM, she’s thinking about flicking me.”
“MOM, she just pointed her bottom at me.”
That one is my favorite.
I hurried them up to pay for the shoes before I had to pick pieces of my brain matter out of the merchandise display.
And the fact that we were all wearing our AWANA t-shirts made the whole event even more wonderful.
I was fuming on the way home when Fiddledaddy called. “Have you gotten them anything to eat?” “What? It’s after 9:00, they ate dinner.” “No, they didn’t eat that much.”
I had been too busy getting everyone ready to notice who ate what.
Begrudgingly, I said that I would head to McDonalds to get them a nutritious meal. Because that’s the kind of mom I am.
The backseat was quiet. I was grumbling to myself about how they didn’t deserve a treat like McDonalds after how they were acting.
And I thought about all of the times that God has extended me grace, when I totally didn’t deserve it. In fact, when I really deserved just to be smited right in my tracks. I looked in the rear view mirror at my two disheveled girls with their big blue contrite eyes.
And I ordered them a bag of cookies, to go with their healthy cheeseburger. Because grace comes in small cellophane wrappers as well.
On the way home we talked about how the whole concept of how grace works. Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God. A bestowal of blessings. When none have been earned. And I reminded them about how we were given the gift of Jesus, and that He died on a lonely cross so that we could spend eternity with Him. Even while we are still sinners.
Then we drove in silence for a while. The only sound was that of cookies crunching. Emme’s small voice came out of the dark of the backseat, “Mom, we’re really sorry about how we acted. We just went crazy, I guess. I was really selfish about the cart.”
“Thank you, Emme. I forgive you.”
And then something quite unexpected happened. Cailey began reciting the entire Book of Psalms. Word for word.
Okay, I’m lying. Actually, my number two child just nodded her blonde head in agreement with her sister. Still thoughtfully chewing.
I thought back to when I was in one of my first Bible studies, and began actively memorizing scripture. At first I didn’t understand why that was necessary. I mean, I could always just look it up! But then, as I began memorizing, something happened. These scriptures found their way into my heart. And during times of distress, they would pop into my head and bring me comfort. And sometimes even wisdom.
And then, during that quiet drive home, I remembered:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”