Earlier this week, for 24 hours, I was completely alone….and I was practically perfect!
I mean really….I was polite, sweet, kind, loving to everyone I communicated with (at Starbucks, in the grocery store line, via texts home, emails and I even hand wrote a few loving letters)
And in addition I was never impatient, irritated, frustrated, tired, sarcastic or rude.
I felt so filled with the fruit of the spirit and well….so righteous and godly and even Christlike….
But then in a blink of an eye I wasn’t alone anymore as my family arrived a few at a time and before I knew it the lovely, godly me turned into the impatient, sarcastic, irritated, unkind, rude, ugly sinner that I can often be. And once again I was having to sacrifice and be unselfish – to cook, clean and watch littles when I would much rather be listening to inspirational sermons while basking in the sun on the beach deck drinking ice tea.
And today the conviction of that sin is as loud as the waves crashing down outside my window and I must repent…once again.
I have become more and more convinced with each decade I live that even in the midst of all the love, fulfillment and joy being married and having children has brought into my life, that the most important thing it has given me is a mirror into my sinful, selfish heart and all the ungodly character qualities that I need to continually lay down at the altar as I strive to be more like Christ.
What if the main purpose of our marriage and families is to make us holy….not happy? What if someone said to us when we were single…”Hey, guess what? When you get married and have kids you’ll have a front row seat to see your “sin on parade” every day plus a bonus: you will also get to suffer & sacrifice along the way even at the hands of those you love the most” (hmmm…that last part sounds a lot like what Jesus did)
Would we all just have said…”Oh good! I can’t wait…sign me up for marriage & kids!”? No…Most of us enter into marriage and parenting with the expectation that it will bring with it complete happiness, love and fulfillment. And while it may bring those things, wether in tiny bites or in large chunks….it is certainly not the whole deal. The reality is that marriage and children illuminates all of our sin and can at times cause us great suffering and sacrifice, which ultimately if we allow it…makes us holy and like Christ.
And isn’t that, for us who are believers…the ultimate aim?