Saturday, August 22, 2009

experiencial knowledge

Years ago I heard a sermon about "experiential knowledge." I'll spare you my butchered attempt at the Greek word, but know that a Greek word for experiential knowledge does exist. And, the word draws emphasis to the experience part of knowing as opposed to knowing something because you read about it or took a class on it or watched a movie about it.

That differentiation of knowledge has stuck with me, though I do not remember the passage it was based on. Recently, God gave me a powerful reminder of the truth I'd been exposed to so long ago.

As a mom, I've cared for many kids who were stung by a bee. As a former child, I had compassion because I'd been stung by a bee. But, I'd forgotten just how painful a bee sting could be. Then, I gained a new level of experiential knowledge; I got stung by a bee! As the pain radiated from the sting on my hand up my arm past my elbow, and as the pain continued to increase with each passing second, I gained a whole new appreciation for the agony my children experience when they are stung.

Then, I began to think about some of the things God has been showing me this summer. Though I've always known I am a sinner and imperfect, I expect a level of perfection I know is not possible. When I fail, I am very disappointed. Recently, I lost my camera AND my cell phone. The two items were worth hundreds of dollars, and I couldn't afford to replace them. Worse still, I was trying so hard to be diligent and careful, yet I'd failed. Heading into a worship time, my heart was surrounded by a wall of my own making and the joy that I usually experienced was notably absent. As I poured my heart out to God, explaining my disappointment in myself, it struck me; God KNEW I would fail. That was why He sent Jesus. It isn't just because I am a sinner and sin seperates me from God, but because I'm a sinner and even my best efforts are woefully inadequate.

I'm still wrestling with what all this means; I'm still very much struggling with my humanity and tendancy towards failure. But, in the midst of it, I am gently reminded that Jesus died for my failures. Jesus died for my successes. Jesus knew before He died for me that I would be damaged goods and that nothing I ever do will be enough to pay the penalty for my sin. And He doesn't care. He accepts me anyway. He always will.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Regression, or why some species eat their young

There comes a time in every child's life when his or her parent suddenly realizes something; there is a reason some species eat their young. I had such an epiphany, with my young son. He knows how to use a toilet. He did so successfully for several weeks. Then, abruptly, he forgot.

Each day, as I find puddles of potty on the floor, throw yet another pair of wet pants down the laundry shoot, or start a load of smelly clothes in the washer, I contemplate those critters who eat their young and know there must be a good reason.

We are actually on our third round of "regression." Two other times, my son has successfully kept pants dry for days, even weeks at a time. Then, for no obvious reason, he suddenly is wetting his pants several times a day. I have given up trying to be creative. We have extra pull-ups and pants in each car and the diaper bag. He already has his toy for getting off the potty train, so can't do that again. Don't know what I'll do, but eating my son is definitely out of the question.

In a recent conversation with a dear friend, we agreed the difference between something being tragic or funny is about 6 hours of sleep. Maybe this can all be funny if I just get a really good night's sleep.