The cheerful mother and chipper daughter who had started out the morning on a Costco run were no where to be found. We were both tired. I think Audrey was teething, and I had a horrible sore throat. We were in that awful hungry-but-not-quite-lunchtime zone.
To make things worse, Whole Foods did not have the two items I had stopped, specifically, to buy. Audrey was confused about why I had told her she was going to walk, when instead I ended up carrying her and pushing her in the cart.
As I strapped her in her car seat for the third time that morning she began to fuss, ever so slightly. I don’t remember what exactly went down, but I was far from patient. I’m pretty sure I snapped at her to stop crying. I just didn’t want to deal with her tears.
In the midst of the frustration this verse came to mind:
“They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” (Matthew 23:4)
As you will remember, these words were Jesus’ description of the Pharisees, but in that moment in the Whole Foods parking lot, I think they were for me too.
Why did I require obedience in a little thing (“stop fussing!”) when instead compassion was needed? Had I already forgotten how just a few minutes before my little two-year-old had told me she wanted to go home to Boston? Why did I have no understanding for her fatigue, her sore teeth, and her emotional confusion? Why did I tie up a heavy burden of obedience on her little back, without lifting a finger to help?
I know why: because I’m a sinful mother desperately in need of the grace of the Spirit to lovingly parent my little girl. Because I need (and have!) a Savior who doesn’t tie up needless burdens on my back. When He calls me to obey, He gives me the strength to do it. May I give the same grace to my little girl.