My husband and I were in our bedroom, sharing work stories from the day. In clumps my little guy. He had pulled on his Dad’s shorts, and jammed his feet into my powder blue slip-on shoes. How he managed to walk and not kill himself is beyond me.
One hand holding up the shorts, while shuffling awkwardly in the huge shoes, he gleefully presented himself to us.
I guess I could have reacted by being concerned for him. I could have insisted that we take those clothes off so he wouldn’t hurt himself. But instead, both my husband and I just gushed our amazement.
“What a big boy! Did you do that yourself?” We rained down the praise. Our reward was his huge smile.
“Let me grab my camera!”
Even taking this shot a few minutes later, you can still see the proud smile and firm grasp on the shorts. (And those shoes…well. It was the eighties.)
He looked pretty hilarious, but we were so proud. He’d watched us dressing him, and could mimic the movements. He saw the items we wore, and I’ll bet he thought if he wore grown-up clothes, then he’d be a grown up.
I am taught about becoming a grown-up in Christ by using the image of clothing too. In Scripture, I am instructed to put on the ‘armor of God’, and to clothe myself in ‘heartfelt mercy.’ In other words, to put on Christ.
That seems like a tall order. How can I ‘put on’ God? He is Creator, Savior and Perfect Love. I can’t carry all of that. It’s too huge for me to even fathom, much less take to my heart.
But I can’t forget that Jesus lived as a man to show me how it is possible to live a life like his. Just like we modeled dressing to our son, Jesus modeled his love for the Father, and his children. These are the clothes I need to put on.
I’ll probably struggle a bit, just like my son did with the outsized shorts and shoes. This enormous love won’t fit very well at first because I’m not perfect. But if I try really hard, I’ll hang on and be able to walk.
And Our Father in heaven doesn’t tell me this love is too big for me. Instead, like a loving Father, he rains his praise on my efforts. He smiles and calls to the angels and saints. “Look at her! She did that herself!”
So don’t worry if loving the Lord in times of trouble; or loving his children when they disappoint you, seems too hard. It will be a struggle at first, but you’ll put on that huge armor of light and hang on for dear life.
And he will announce in front of all of heaven: “Look! Oh, I’m so proud of you!”
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