The Lord uses my kids to teach me so much.
My youngest son and I had an argument Sunday morning getting ready to go to church. He is ten and he is “all boy” as they say. He loves to run and slide on his knees. You can see the evidence on the knees of his jeans. He leads with this left knee and in the 2nd grade he had 5 pairs of jeans – all with the left knee ripped out of them. Jeans with holes in the knees are a great fashion statement if they are bought like that, but you can tell these are just worn out.
Make a note here: we are not big name brand people. My husband and I have raised four kids on mostly one income while I stayed at home and big name, big price clothing has never been in our arena of interest or ability. The outfit I am wearing today cost less than $25 not including the shoes from Payless – they are my daughter’s and I’m not sure what they cost.
Back to the kid – I want him to understand that we shouldn’t judge based on appearance but people do, so I just want him to look nice. Is that too much to ask?
It isn’t so much that I care if he wears jeans that are worn out if it doesn’t bother him, but I would like him to look presentable at church and when we go somewhere nice (think Red Lobster here, not Tavern on the Green). I wanted him to wear his khakis and a striped v-neck shirt. He said he hated wearing khakis because I made him wear a “real fancy” shirt with it. IT WAS A STIPED, V-NECK SHORT SLEEVE SHIRT FROM A FACTORY OUTLET MALL. What would this kid do if he was a Trump, an Obama or heaven forbid, if he was born Caleb of Sussex instead of Caleb of Simms?
He wore khakis and a red heathered tee that said “I’ve Got Game” and had a big ole’ football on it. I wasn’t really happy about this, but at least he was dressed and clean and going to church with me.
Second fashion fiasco of the week…
This morning, it is exceptionally cold for East Texas this time of year. It is below freezing. I told him to grab his coat because he would need it. He said, “Can’t I just wear two hoodies?” This seemed like a really stupid request to me because, well, why? He said his coat from last year is too small. This is the first I have heard of this but I doubt it really is. The fact is, he hates a coat.
Yes, he is putting on a hoodie that is, in reality, too small.
I tried to explain as we got in the car, him donning a Gap hoodie and a Green Bay Packers hoodie (that is in fact too small but he refuses to get rid of even though I hate it and complain about it and threaten to throw it away), that people look at him in his two hoodies and assume I don’t care about him enough to take care of him and buy him a coat. I told him that since he is a child, many people don’t take his appearance at face value -that he is a kid that hates a coat, but they make some assumptions about how he is being taken care of. I explained that when people see him, I want them to see him as good reflection of me and that he is well cared for.
As I pondered how to better explain my reasoning, that still small voice of conviction spoke up.
The fact is people do judge based on how we look. Right, wrong, indifferent, whatever, people judge based on how we look – sometimes, maybe more so than how we act.
Isaiah 61:10 says
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
How often do I put on something that is so far from righteous, that anyone looking at me would assume my Father doesn’t care about me (and that I don’t care what He thinks) or maybe even question who he is? How often do I wear my salvation like it is too constricting and makes me uncomfortable? I have said to my children, “I want you to look like you belong to someone who cares about you!” Oh Lord, shouldn’t I be doing the same? It was one of those hit me like a brick moments. I act like I need to be presentable at church, but am perfectly willing to wear two hoodies all week if I decide I don’t like a coat.
My prayer today:
Lord, help me to put on righteousness. Help me to look like someone who cares about how I reflect on you. Help me to make sure I am spiritually presentable all the time. Give me an earnest desire to make you happy with the way I look to the world. Help me make you proud that I’m your kid. Help me to wear righteousness like a crown and accessorize it with humility, kindness, love, mercy and your grace. Amen.