I appreciate the older lady who smiled at me yesterday as we watched my four-year old in the dairy aisle, sporting a crooked flower in her hair, a dirty pink sweatshirt, denim skorts and raggedy cowboy boots.
Her own daughter, she remembered, had a pair of red boots. Donned them with everything. The woman’s very own sister gave her a hard time about it, the old, ‘if that were my kid, she wouldn’t be doing that’.
I laughed. Then the lady told me that the boots were nothing. Her daughter also wanted long hair, but it wouldn’t grow in right. So this woman made her little girl yarn hair, and her daughter wore the wig everywhere - to the store, wherever. The daughter had even acquired the habit of nonchalantly flipping the strands out of her face as she shopped.
There’s so much more to worry about in the world, the grandma-type said. People are dying.
It reminded me of what my very own sister, a nurse, always says. To paraphrase, if it’s life or death, then there ought to be protocol. The rest of the time, relax.
Lately, I’ve been talking with lots of friends about what we can glean about God from our experience as parents.
One of the things we shouldn’t put on a kid is our own worth. An important boundary, I think. It puts an inappropriate pressure on the child to perform. I’ve seen children crumble under the weight of their parents, under a parent’s need. Kids need to understand that we have expectations, but our value is not wrapped up in their meeting of our expectations.
So it is with God – God’s value and worth is not wrapped up in me, or my ability to do what’s right. He IS. I think that is another facet of the story of the Canaanite woman who comes to Jesus on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter (Matthew 15:21-28 – a part of the sermon I heard this Sunday). Jesus uses words that might lead people to believe that the woman is nothing, a dog. Why does she take the term and embrace it, using it to continue to ask for help?
She believes that Jesus can and will save her child – He declares her faith great. But alongside this faith, I can’t help but think about her love. Being called a name was apparently of no consequence compared to freedom for her child.
The value of every person in this world is set at the same price: worth dying for. To grab my worth from anything else cheapens me, burdens others and worst, defrauds God.