So many things I've wanted to blog over the past few months... So many pictures and recipes and stories I swear I've been planning to post. Alas! But there's one thought that's been nagging me lately, and I wanted to share.

Nothing, no one shows you more about the human condition -- your own condition -- than a child. If you don't think man is born sinful, just spend a few hours in a room full of 3-year-olds. Today I found one crying over his soup, unable to eat, staring at an open window, barely breathing because he wanted his mommy. Me, too, kid. Me, too.

Far too often I see myself in their reactions, in their fits of rage, and in their inability to listen to the simplest of directions.

Some days they talk incessantly over my own raised voice, until I finally stop and ask, "Do you see me standing here? Do you see my mouth moving? Am I just talking to myself or is somebody listening to me?" And I think that must be how God looks at me sometimes.

I see it when I tell the same child no less than 10 times to sit on his chair, just for 5 minutes, while we learn how to do something fun. I tell him to sit. He sits. I say one sentence and he's on his feet again. "How many times do I have to tell you to sit down? PLEASE just use your chair, just for a second, please. I'm begging you. Be still." And I'm quite sure that's how God looks at me sometimes.

There are days when I explain something simple three times in three ways. We discuss our ideas. I draw an example on the board. I have the class repeat the instructions to me, just to make sure they understood. Then I say "go!" and see that one child who is doing whatever the heck he wants. "I just asked you to draw something that starts with 'Q.' We talked about how you were going to draw a queen. So why are you drawing a road?" And I can't even get frustrated because I know I do the same thing. I know what I'm supposed to do (or not do), but I just do what feels good to me, regardless. Oh, God, how I must frustrate You.

The worst thing is when they come to me ill-behaved and unattentive, constantly arguing with each other and with me, and then want to hug me before they leave. Oh, you want to be sweet now that you've wasted an hour of my day and left me with a throbbing headache? Nice, real nice. And that is exactly like my relationship with God. I'm never more holy and devoted than I am in those first moments after realizing I've messed up.

But the good thing is this: No matter how many problems they create, or how many times I punish and fuss at them, they know I care about them. They know that my discipline is right, that I am prone to mercy, and that I love them. No matter what they do, I love them. Why? Because deep in my heart I am still a crying 3-year-old, a distracted 4-year-old, and a disobedient 6-year-old. Because God is very patient with me.

I love them because He loves them, and most of all because He loves me.

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