Sunday, March 08, 2015

Let the Crumbs of Mercy Fall

People who go to my church will recognize the title of this post as a reference to a worship song that we sing, but you know who lives in a world filled with literal crumbs? This girl!

I think most moms will agree that it often feels like we are surviving on crumbs. There's that take-off of the book "If you give a mouse a cookie" about "if you give a mom a muffin." I just re-read it for the first time in a long time, and sure enough: it ends (spoiler alert!) with the kids eating the mom's muffin, which is a pretty likely scenario in my house.

So, we moms survive on crumbs, eating our kids' leftovers, snatching little bites in between cleaning up spills and breaking up fights. I've been trying to be mindful of having healthy snacks lying around so I can fuel up quickly when the crumbs aren't enough, and I put my leftovers away in single-serving, microwaveable dishes that I can just pop in for a minute and eat. It's keeping me alive and, I'd argue, relatively healthy. If the meals were healthy, the crumbs are still healthy.

I realized a few weeks ago that I'm sort of doing this spiritually, too. I've never heard anyone commend this spiritual diet, and so the fact that I am going to say that it's an okay diet for this season of my life might be going out on a limb (new ideas in Christian theology are more often bad than good), but I'm going to say it anyway: I don't think you should feel guilty about surviving spiritually on your kids' crumbs. Just make sure they're healthy crumbs.

Now, what do I mean? I mean that a daily quiet time and deep personal Bible Study, and consistent attendance at another Bible Study and Sunday worship and Sunday School might not be in the cards for you. I can't tell you the last time I felt like I was really paying attention through a whole sermon. I also can't tell you the number of times I've been highly distracted during a sermon and thought, "This is good! I really need to remember to download and actually listen to this sermon sometime this week." Did it again today ... hope springs eternal that it will actually happen.

But, I'm living on faith right now, and that faith includes belief that the little spiritual crumbs that I collect throughout the day are enough to nourish me from day to day. I eat a literal crumb of bread on Sunday morning, and sometimes I feel like that's the only thing I "take away" from church that day. But I go, even if it's just for that crumb (I love having a robust doctrine of the Lord's Supper).

And what often gets me out the door on a Sunday morning is the fact that I want my kids in Sunday School. They get a full "meal," and I benefit. And when they ask me questions during the week like, "Mom, why did God have to die?" I reap much more benefit in thinking through the answer than the four year old, who happened to be focused on trying to stand on his head while I fumbled through an answer. When we do the catechism, I'm serving up the meal for him, but I am also turning my eyes to God for a few minutes. Evening Bible reading is ostensibly for the kids, but it's the Word of God, living and active for kids and adults alike. Even a sweet story like "Just Because Your Mine" reminds me each time I read it that God loves me and takes care of me just because I'm his (see also: baptism, sign and seal).

Somehow, my stolen bites of food add up to enough calories in a day to keep me and baby running. It's not how I'd like to eat forever. I like to cook elaborate meals and sit down and enjoy them while they're hot. I'd like someday to enjoy an entire meal without wiping up a spill, or telling somebody to sit down in their chair for the 16th time, or yelling, "don't forget to flush!" down the hallway. I like to go out to nice restaurants and relish an amazing meal that somebody else has prepared and served in a beautiful way. There's a time for that, and there's a time for eating microwaved minestrone soup for the fifth meal in a row with a side of cheddar bunnies that happen to be lying on the counter.

Are you surviving on crumbs? Make sure you're feeding your kids a healthy diet, and I think you can rest assured that you're getting some healthy nuggets, too. God fed thousands of people with the crumbs of a little boy's lunch; this is the same God who promises to give you your daily bread if you just ask.

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