Remember the plague of frogs in the Old Testament? Well, we had our own little mini-plague at my house recently.
It all began when we took the family to a friend’s house for a barbeque.
For a while, the kids – all five of them, ranging in age from 6 to 12 – were playing quite nicely. Truly a miraculous feat indeed.
But then (you know that a ‘but’ was coming) … in one terrible moment, it all went horribly awry.
Molly came out panting and breathless, shattering the rare, uninterrupted stretch of peaceful conversation we moms were enjoying out by the pool.
“Mom, Micah is making Grace cry! He’s trying to be funny and he’s making fun of her. I’m trying to handle it, but he’s just not listening! What are you going to do about it??!!” (Grace is our friends’ 10-year-old daughter).
Although I was confident (ahem…) that my 12-year-old’s ONLY motive was Grace’s welfare and that she no doubt handled the matter sensitively with her brother (DOUBLE ahem..), I decided I needed to find out what heinous act had been committed inside.
Apparently, it all centered around Grace’s retainer. Micah, Robert (another friend’s 11-year-old son) and Grace were all playing when Micah spied Grace’s retainer on the table.
“Grace, your retainer looks like a dead FROG!!”
Then, apparently, he and Robert burst into uproarious laughter at this HILARIOUS observation.
A real couple of Don Juans, those two. Smooth, boys.
Grace, however, did not see the humor. Nope, not one bit funny to little ol’ Grace. In fact, she burst into tears and ran upstairs.
It was an ugly scene. A drama-filled “he said, she said” ensued. How would this heartwrenching tale end??? Eventually, Micah offered a humble apology. Grace accepted. All grownups now needed sleep. Lots of it.
But (another but …) the story doesn’t end there.
The next day, Mike (my husband) and Micah were swimming in our pool. Micah hopped out to use the pool bathroom. From inside, I heard a shriek. I went outside to find him totally freaked out. A FROG was in the toilet!
(I just knew that somewhere Grace was laughing her head off).
Since Micah didn’t discover this until it was too late (I won’t get graphic), we decided to bid the poor guy farewell. See ya, Kermit.
But, the story doesn’t end there.
The next morning, Micah gets up for school and stumbles, half-asleep into the (indoor) bathroom.
“He’s back, Mom! The frog is back!!! Aaaah!!”
Yep, there he was. Alive and kicking. The stories that frog could tell.
This time, the discovery was made in time and Mike rescued the battle-weary amphibian and returned him to the wild.
Don’t you just love happy endings?
Isn’t it like that with our kids? We think we’ve got something licked – a behavior, an attitude – and “Boom!”, when we least expect it, it hops up and bites us on the butt.
Too many times I’ve responded with impatience and/or anger:
“How many times have I told you about this?”
“Why do I have to go over the same things over and over again???!”
And then I’ll remember. “Hmmm … how many times does God have to teach me the same lessons over and over again? How many times have I been guilty of making the same foolish mistakes over and over again?”
And how many times does God extend His grace to me?
God disciplines and instructs me, but He always does it with gentleness and love. It’s always motivated by my good. He doesn’t dole out the kind of condemnation and irritation I sometimes convey to my kids.
And how quickly I forget.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
There’s nothing like chasing the frogs out of your OWN toilet to wake you up and keep you humble.