I'm re-writing our family mission statement. Although I've mulled this over for about a year or so, it came to me in amazing clarity yesterday.
"Mom, you're going to make the coffee cake, too, right?" The birthday boy stood next to me while I pored over the morning's menu.
"And what about the peanut butter bars for later? Are you still making those?" Eli asked as he entered the kitchen on the last strains of his brother's question.
I looked at the clock and took a deep breathe. "Unless I get some help with these recipes, I'm going to have to prioritize and some things may not get made." And that's when the kitchen turned into a flurry of activity. We split the duties and everyone got to work. Even Israel got into the action. Every mixing bowl got used. Stirring spoons, spatulas, and whisks whirred in the hands of young culinary artists.
The four of us tried diligently to mind our space, focus on our own recipe, not accidentally use the other person's utensils or bowls. We said 'excuse me' when squeezing by to deliver dripping measuring cups to the sink. We asked politely if anyone was using the red spatula and 'can I use it when you're through?'
All this politeness and teamwork lasted all of about six minutes. It wasn't long before the children started snipping at one another. Shouting, "Hey! I was using that!" while grabbing for the sugar canister. My blood pressure rose. I tried to patiently remind them to speak kindly. Then I yelled that they needed to speak kindly. And just when I was about to kick them all out of the kitchen... out of the house...
"Alright! Let's make a deal." Everyone slowed down. I stopped stirring momentarily, looking at each person, hoping to make my point clear. "From here on out, anyone in this family who has never made a mistake has a right and full permission to criticize others. But... if you've ever made a mistake... even a little one, then you don't get to criticize anyone else." I went back to stirring.
Eli said, "Sounds good." The room went quiet. "I guess we won't be criticizing anymore."
After a few moments, Israel said, "But, Mom, everyone has made a mistake before!" I reached over to help Zeke break up the cinnamon mix. She stood next to me leaning against the counter, her egg-cracking momentarily interrupted by thought-processing. "The only one who is perfect and has never made a mistake is Jesus."
A metal spoon clunked against the side of metal bowl as we let that thought settle around our mind and deep in our soul. I tried to wrap my mind around this thought, to verbalize grace, "And to think that while He's the only One Who has ever had the right to criticize or condemn us, He's the One Who chose to take our punishment and die for us."
She watched as Eli measured peanut butter into a measuring cup, pausing to process grace. Finally, "That's crazy!"
If you've ever seen our family mission statement, you know it's looooong. And while filled with all sorts of bar-raising expectations and lofty ideals, there's so many words that, well, we can't possibly remember the list! Like I mentioned, I've scrutinized our mission statement for well over a year, not quite satisfied with it, but not really able to visualize how it'd read better. How it'd RESONATE better. Until yesterday.
Now I'm typing up a revised mission statement. I'll post a picture of it in the next post...
May your day be full to the brim and splashing over with Crazy Grace!