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What Being a Parent Has Taught Me About GodAn ad for the Olympics, family devotions, and parental mistakes have all brought me closer to understanding God's love for us.

We usually have a time for "family devotions" (or bevotions, as Marilee likes to call them) on Saturday mornings. But we missed that time of prayer and singing and Bible reading as a family last weekend, so our kids suggested we convene last night. We've taken to using Jeannie Cunnion's suggestion for prayer: wow, I'm sorry, thanks, and I need (Jeannie's book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child, comes out in April), and we sing a few songs and read a page from Sally Lloyd Jones' Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing.

It's not quite as idyllic as it might sound. For instance, last night Marilee got out a broken bongo and "played" it with a candle until we realized that wax was flying all over the room. William generally picks up a recorder and whistles shrilly in my ear. They wriggle through the prayer and reading time. They fight over which song comes next. And yet we have all come to see it as a time of unexpected grace, in which William always prays for my aging grandparents, and everyone surprises us with their confessions (Marilee, yesterday: "I'm sorry I was angwy wid you Mommy."), and the music reminds us of that deep current of love that longs to tug us all forward, if only we will let it.

The passage from Jones' book last night reminded us of God as our Father, as the one who takes us by the hand when we are tottering along, the one who cheers for us when we fall down because we tried to walk, who always helps us up again.

This morning, a friend shared a video to a commercial that offered a visual reminder that God is our Father and our Mother:

As parents, we have the privilege and responsibility of modeling God's ways to our children. And we have the comfort of knowing that when we fall over, again and again and again, we have a Parent who picks us up, holds us close, and cheers us on as we try again.

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