My two-year-old loves to have theological discourse during potty breaks. We were having one of our usual discussions when he mentioned to me how Nemo (Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo) didn’t obey his dad, Marlin, because he touched the “butt” (the fish word for “boat”) when his dad told him not to. Which gave me a perfect springboard to talk about the gospel; because even though Nemo disobeyed his dad, Marlin still went looking for him, relentlessly. And I can’t think of a better picture of the gospel, not just for a two-year-old, but for me too. Because our God did just that, we ran from him, rebelled, and he came for us with such a boundless love that it led him all the way to death on a cross; and my toddler reminded me of this beautiful truth just by mentioning his favorite animated film about a fish.
That’s the beauty of parenting, when I’m looking for it, I see the gospel everywhere.
And I’m reminded of my need for that cross and that relentless God every single minute of every single day. With each poorly-timed infant cry, and slow-moving toddler antics. With each meal-time meltdown and bedtime request. With each middle of the night waking. I am reminded time and again that I am impatient, I am selfish, I am rude, I am desperately in need of my gracious God who alone can fill me up with enough of his love that it can spill over into every area of my life. He alone can give me enough grace so that I can give it to my children.
My need for the gospel is so big, and God whispers that to me all day long.
As a parent I want my children to know the gospel so well that they look for it everywhere too. Even in the lines of a silly movie.
I recently read this gem and it is so perfectly put you all need to read it too,
We want our children to know and believe the one good story. Every other story is a copy or shadow of this one. Some copies of it are quite good and shout the truth. Others speak only the faintest whisper of it or, by its absence remind us of the truth. We want our kids to know the one good story so well that when they see Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Frodo, Anne of Green Gables, Ariel, or Sleeping Beauty, they can recognize the strands of truth and deception in them. We want them to be able to recognize the great themes of the gospel: sacrificial love, the laying down of our life for our enemies, the resurrection, and lordly reign. We want them to identify forgiveness, justice, redemption, and the fight against evil, whether that come to them from McGuffey Reader or Optimus Prime. Saturating our children in the one good story will enable them to discern both truth and error as it comes to them from our world.
–Give Them Grace, By Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
If you are a parent, and you haven’t read Give Them Grace, order it now. Seriously.
And look for the glimpses of the gospel in everything you do.
Thanks for writing this. I find that when I am open to it, God presents all kinds of teachable moments in the day to day. I am a therapist and parenting educator and it occurs to me that I don’t talk about Grace, enough.