Toddlers and Tshirts

          In my closet (or, truthfully more often in a pile somewhere in the bedroom) is a special shirt. When I found out that we were going to be having a little girl named Crosley, I knew that I wanted to have a shirt with her name on it that I could wear on the day she was born. It has now been one that I more often than not where on special daddy/daughter events. She knows the shirt well. When I wear it Crosley inevitably smiles and says “Daddy, my field!”

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This is a picture from last year at the Crosley Field Replica in Blue Ash, not the original site.

          Last week I decided to take some vacation time. The blessing was that we got to spend more time together as a family. The struggle was that we got to spend more time together as a family. If you’ve been around small children, you know what I mean and that I’m kidding…mostly.

          One of our adventures for last week was to go visit the site where Crosley Field once stood. I had talked to Crosley about it and personally I had always wanted to tour the full area. On a beautiful weather day the plan was to pack up the kids and head that direction. The plan was to go mid-morning and then end up grabbing lunch somewhere.

Easy enough, right?

On that morning, chaos did everything it could to take over our house. A day of fun now felt at risk. The brothers were crying and Crosley was doing what toddlers are known to do. We played out the stereotypes as she defied the rules and ran around like crazy while I caught myself yelling out threats I never thought I’d say:

“Stop that or we aren’t going! Do you want to be in trouble? Stop messing with your brother! I know you want to do that, but daddy said “No!””

          At some point it was my turn to get dressed for the day and I went into the bedroom, picked up the Crosley shirt. This was a Crosley day, how could I not wear it? But, I put it down. I looked for something else to wear. My patience had been tested, she had been a stinker, and I was not going to wear it. Nope.

          In that moment I heard a voice. Not an audible voice (they hadn’t driven me THAT crazy), but I felt the Spirit talking to me and I was reminded of these truths. I love that little girl more than anything, even on her crazy days. I am proud of her. When we go out in public I want everyone to know that she is mine. Even when she is being a stinker, I want only the best for her. I want to see her grow, and I know that even though she might acting right in the moment, she is still mine. Because of that, I put the shirt on.

zcros11111          In 1 John 3:1 we read “See what great love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God!”

          As I continued to get dressed, I couldn’t shake these thoughts from my mind. God the Father’s love is not given reluctantly, but lavished on us with joy! As children of God we celebrate that His love is not stingy or contingent on how we do on any particular day. Instead, we rejoice in the truth found in Lamentations 3 that those mercies are new every morning. I believe God gets frustrated with us when we don’t obey, but only because He knows that following His way is the key to life abundant. I imagine there are times where God wants to scream “If you would only do it my way!” But in the midst of our mess, His grace abounds.  Even when we are screwing up, He is planning good things for our lives.

          Of this I am confident…even during our moments of rebelliousness, God is wearing our names on his t-shirt and he is doing so with pride. That’s my boy! That’s my girl! Our challenge is to believe it and to take comfort in it. It’s not about us, but about God’s love for his children and because of that we press on.

Thank you, Lord.

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