This morning was a rough one. Everyone is feeling the effects of a well lived Spring Break. We had family visiting and went everywhere and did everything we had a notion to last week. So this morning, the day after everyone left, we all are tired and grouchy. But regardless of how everyone was feeling, there were things to complete before school this morning. My son needed to empty the dishwasher. And when I informed him of that, the look of defeat came over his face. He not only had to get dressed, brush his teeth and make his lunch; he now had to empty the dishwasher. Of course he complained and I threatened as usual. But as I walked away, I realized adding one more thing to his morning simply sent him over the edge. He struggles to get the normal dailies done in time to catch the bus, but I just added another thing to do. So, I went into the kitchen and started making his lunch for him.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10 NIV)
Compassion is a big word. It’s a word we don’t use much because for some it means that we make excuses for other’s inadequacies. And yet, the Lord calls Himself compassionate. When the Lord looks at us, He sees our strengths and weaknesses. He sees where we need help and where we have it all together. He created us. We are imperfect. But He doesn’t stand over us beating us down for our mistakes. He gently lifts us up admonishing us to try again. Sometimes, as a Mom I think I forget to have compassion. I am so driven to make them responsible people; I forget to have a little mercy.
I realized this morning I was having compassion on my son by helping him out. There was no way in his mind he could complete all that was before him, so he was overwhelmed. It was a struggle to get moving because he was tired. There was a time schedule which he doesn’t do well with. But in addition, I added more to his plate and he was ready to drop the whole thing. Some might say I’m enabling him by making his lunch for him. Maybe I did. I’m not sure where the line of compassion ends and the line of enabling begins. I can tell you this; my son’s demeanor was very different when he saw me making his lunch. His hope was restored. He worked harder to complete his tasks. He was no longer walking in defeat, he was walking in optimism.
The morning could have ended as rough as it started. Instead, I believe Jonah was able to experience this thing called compassion. His hope was restored. He was encouraged instead of defeated. There are times we have to watch our kids fall. There are times we have to allow our kids to fail. This morning, I just needed to have compassion. This is not an easy thing for me. I feel the need to teach lesson after lesson on how we should rise to the occasion. We have to complete all that is set before us. We have to meet the expectations presented to us. This morning was not a time for that. It was a time for compassion.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4 NIV)