“It’s time to go guys! Socks on, pants on, shoes on, coats on, meet me by the door!”
This phrase is always followed by a frantic flurry of four little boys and their flying shoes, socks, and pants. Always.
Upon return from the great ‘outside of our apartment’ expedition, all ‘outdoor’ clothes are promptly removed and immediately replaced with ‘home clothes.’ So, cue a disrobing of socks, pants, shoes, and then picture those items in an artistic placement all over the front entrance floor of our apartment.
This same scene of everyday is always followed by good old mom with her voice that sounds exactly like the teacher from Charlie Brown.
“Mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah…” can be translated to “Come pick up your socks, and no don’t just put your jeans in the laundry, you only wore them for 32 minutes, they’re still clean, and hang up your sweater…”
It seems that there are two categories of people in the ‘getting ready for the day’ world.
The first category, are the “I’m going to dress in the morning and wear these clothes until right before I change into my pajamas at bedtime.”
The second category, are the people who change into their ‘going out clothes’ only for the purpose of going out. Otherwise rest assured, you WILL find them always at home in their ‘home clothes.’ My four boys and I all proudly fall into the second category.
So with all of this repetitious ‘clothing yourself repeatedly’ thing going on in my house, my brain painted a real picture for me while I was reading these Bible verses the other day.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe (What??! He said clothe…) yourself with:
(And and he’s not even done yet, wait for it…) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. – Colossians 3:12 (Even the toddler who just called you a stupid fart head to your face for the third time this week. I mean, correct him though, don’t just forgive, or that’ll be your nickname for the next decade – parenting 201.)
Sneakers, sandals, rubber boots. Sweaters, coats, shorts, jeans, AND all of the socks. We already change our outfits so much all day long we barely even notice that we’re doing it anymore.
But what if I could get to the same point with all of those amazing characteristics previously mentioned in that verse above. Like it eventually became second nature for me to slap on my ‘tenderhearted mercy sweatshirt’ to confront that toddler who just flipped the mini trampoline upside down in a fit of rage?
What if when I actually wanted to clothe myself in my “Are you joking me right now, you purposefully stepped on your brother who was just lying on the floor reading because you felt like it?” socks, I grabbed my patience pair instead.
What if I practiced it so much that eventually ALL of those old clothes, my grumpy heart cardigan, my bitter and resentful sneakers, my roll my eyeballs sunglasses, and my self absorbed light blue jeans… all of it, they just all got bagged up and sent to the thrift store because this girl here didn’t wear them anymore.
You see, what if one day I had new clothes to wear.
Clothes just sewn with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
The tenderhearted mercy that chooses to understand and correct instead of shame and bemoan.
The kindness that sees the person behind the mess.
The humility that realizes I am so far from perfect, and I’m a bit of a mess maker myself.
The gentleness that encourages little boys, and me, to try again.
The patience that doesn’t run out, because it just keeps filling up like club soda on tap at that cafe around the corner.
The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning. That’s often part of my very early morning ‘pour the cereal and breakfast prayer,’ over my two youngest early rising boys.
“Thank you God for this food, and thank you God for a new day.”
A new day. Another chance to clothe myself, and another beautiful opportunity to choose the state of my heart. Another day to hang up those old grumpy socks, and a chance to grab the new pair out of the closet instead.