Jackson helped me make Rice Krispies treats for his preschool class. He was very excited to cook on the stove for the first time!

Jackson is my right-hand man.

My son loves to help me do projects and chores around the house (as long as he’s not in the middle of an intense Angry Birds game). Lately, he has “helped” me cook, clean, do dishes and put up ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Usually his helping makes the project longer, messier and more interesting! Jackson’s assistance is not about making my job easier, it is about him learning how to contribute to our family. His eagerness warms my heart, even if it means cleaning up after “cleaning up”.

Sometimes as Christians, we get into the mindset that God needs our help, that God can’t do it without us. Instead of counting it a privilege to be a part of God’s kingdom work, we make it a chore that must be done our way, like organizing silverware in separate dishwasher trays.

In reality, we often help God the same way that Jackson helps me. We are God’s children, and when He invites us to help in the kitchen, it is not about if the cookies are all uniform with perfectly interspersed chocolate chips. It’s about us learning how to be a part of the family and doing things God’s way. It’s about spending time with our Daddy. We may (and probably will) make a mess, but within the confines of God’s grace and guidance, it is a learning experience that God will use for our good.

We will never learn unless we do, and God wants us to practice by His side just as Jackson does by mine.

Jackson is helping me wash dishes! He just decided to take off his shirt because it was soaked after two minutes. Can you see all the water on the countertop?? I had to mop up afterward!

No use crying (over spilled orange juice)

We were actually on schedule to be early for Jackson’s preschool drop-off. That is, until the orange juice calamity.

Jackson was finishing up his breakfast in record time, and only had his juice to finish, when it happened.

The scene in our kitchen after an orange juice spill cut breakfast short

Somehow the cup tipped and Sunny Delight came cascading out, straight for Jackson, soaking his entire shirt, pants, underwear, socks, the seat cover and floor. I’m not sure how half a cup of juice did that much damage. It didn’t help that Jackson just sat there and took it, instead of jumping up and out of the way.

I could have yelled. I could have lectured about being careful. I could have made him clean it all up himself.

But I didn’t. There’s no use crying over spilled orange juice.

Jackson was cleaned up. The mess was cleaned up. And, we did make it to school on time, though smelling a touch citrusy.

There’s a reason why, as parents, we transition our children from a bottle to a sippy cup to an open cup. In order to learn, we must do.

It means that there will be trips and falls, knotted shoe laces, broken toys and spilled orange juice. There will be slip-ups and mistakes and bruises to our knees and egos.

But, eventually, we get it.

Society’s definition of insanity to me is off kilter. It is NOT insane to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. That’s parenting. I know that sometime it seems insane to me as a mother of a preschooler and toddler to continue to be consistent when cups keep tipping, tantrums still happen and everyone else has a completely potty-trained child (supposedly) other than me. Children crave consistent love, example, teaching and discipline. They will get there.

I need God’s consistency more than ever in my life, as I strive to provide that for my kids. God never changes. He loved me before the world was created, as He died on the cross, when I was born and while I was on my knees cleaning up orange juice off the floor this morning. His promises never run out. God does not go back on His Word. His consistency isn’t dependent on me.

His consistency gives me the freedom to grow in my faith and in the safety of His arms. He creates opportunities to stretch my understanding and fuel my passion and purpose.

This morning it was over a glass of orange juice. Tomorrow it might be milk.

Either way, God is there.