Every morning I stand in my kitchen waiting for the ‘big reveal’ of what each child will wear that day. They usually enter the room and find me at the stove with my fleece zipped up to my neck, shearling slippers on my feet, and warm coffee cupped between my two hands… doing all I can to be cozy and protected from the smallet draft of chill.
Without fail, however, every morning the ‘big reaveal’ causes the exact same words to fall out of my mouth with each child: “It’s really cold today… it’s only [add daily air temperature here]. You going to wear a jacket over that?”
What gets me more mama crazy that I care to admit is that, even when I’m witnessing a short sleeve tshirt, pegged pants that leave ankles exposed for wind-nipping, or light sweaters meant for summertime BBQs, the answer from my children is always the same, “No, I”ll be fine.”
“You won’t be cold?”
“No, mom, I’ll be fine.”
“But honey, it’s only [insert daily air temp here – with extra dramatic tone].”
“No, mom, I said I’m fine.”
“Okay, I just wish you’d be warmer out there.”
“Yeah, mom, I know.”
Oh, how time flies.
Gone are the days when my babies lovingly looked into my eyes as I wrapped them in their winter jackets, zipped them up, and said, “Oh, you’re so lucky you’re going to be so cozy outside today!”
Gone are the days when I could slip little mittens over their hands and big cozy boots on their feet to make sure not an inch of skin was exposed to the elements.
Gone are the days when I could make them do what I knew to be best… and in have come the days where they have opinions, and ideas, and ‘better’ ways of walking through the world.
But you know what? It’s their choice.
In spite of how I dressed them as little ones, in spite of how many jackets and scarves and gloves I buy for them, in spite of the example of how I dress for the cold, in spite of my encouragement to dress warmer… they choose to be clothe themselves for the elements as they see fit. I can’t force them to be warm, or protected, or comfortable – they have to choose it.
I’ve learned it is the same with us – us humans. Our Creator is so kind and patient and good. He gives us perfect directions for how we should clothe ouselves as we walk through the world:
…CLOTHE yourself with strength and your garments of splendor. Isaiah 52:1
…CLOTHE yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
…CLOTHE yourself with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14
…CLOTHE yourself with the armor of Light. Romans 13:12
…CLOTHE yourself with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:4
…[CLOTHE] yourself with the armor of God so you can stand firm. Ephesians 6:11
He gives me all these amazing things to clothe myself in, yet do I choose them? Or, do I choose to be cold in the thread-bare rags of anger, bitterness, impatience, unbelief, and pride?
If I’m cold, it’s my choice… it’s your choice.
PRAYER: Father, it’s cold outside… and with the businesses and chaos and demands of life, it can get cold in our spirit, too. Thank you for Your patience and for not turning Your back on us in spite of our stubbornness. I pray You be our strength and our warmth today as we face the bitter cold – and face the decisions and circumstances You have brought our way. I pray we choose to clothe ourselves as You instruct; and, through our willingness, I pray we become bright, warm lights of Your glory to our children, our husbands, our friends, our families, and all those You graciously bring into our lives this season. Thank you for watching over us. You are good and perfect in every way. In Jesus Name, Amen.