I took my toddler into my older kids’ school. She walked along beside me, held my hand and side “hi” to one of the other moms. She was being winsome and charming in her adorable way. She even said thank you for a sticker she received. I smiled. It was one of those times when I would gladly have said, “That’s my girl!” Five minutes later I was not smiling. My daughter was throwing a fit worthy of Guinness Book in front of half the school. I quickly picked her up and found the nearest exit. I left feeling frustrated and discouraged, the same way I felt when the nursery workers at church called me out and told me I needed to pick up my child because she was not playing well with the other kids.

I have to admit, it really bothers me when she acts up, when she isn’t gentle with other kids, when she lays on the floor kicking or screams at the top of her lungs. Unfortunately, these are not isolated events. We have had more than our fair share of behavior challenges. These self-centered, hurtful behaviors are not acceptable and if I’m honest, one of the reasons they bother me so much is because I feel they reflect poorly on me. What must other parents think about me when they see her behave like that?

Ah, but then I think, how does God feel when we are unkind to those around us, our own family members, strangers? How about when we are hurtful and proud? God reminded me that my bad behavior reflects even more poorly on Him than my daughter’s behavior reflects on me. When I claim to be a child of God and act selfishly or respond in anger people begin to question the character of my God. They may decide they want no part of my Father just because of the way they see me act. This sobering thought nearly knocks the wind out of me. When I bear the name of God, how can I dishonor him by my actions?

On the flip side, when I act in love, obey God’s word, display genuine faith, generously share, forgive and serve I am accurately representing the nature of my Father in heaven. In these moments, I am a true reflection of my God. He is exalted and revered.

Praise God for the cross of Jesus! The place where my sins were paid for completely by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus in my place. Jesus took my shame upon Himself and made it possible for God to claim me as His own. I pray that God will forgive me where I have failed and continue working in my heart and life to help me walk in a manner worthy of being called a child of God. When my days on this earth have come to an end, my desire is for God to smile at me and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant” aka . . .  “That’s my girl!”

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4: 1-3 ESV