July 28, 2009

An ITZBEEN To Remember

As anyone with multiple young children knows, parenting can often be a simple test of survival from one day to the next. From tantrums to toilet-training, diapers to drool-wiping, mid-day messes to mid-sleep disruptions, there’s always an adventure lurking just around the bend. Unlike my wife, who has gracefully mastered the art of juggling competing needs of a toddler and a newborn, I tend to lose my bearings in the fog of perpetually unfinished tasks.

The craziest time of day in our household, 5 to 8 pm every evening, can almost be reduced to a series of questions (nearly always asked by me): Where’s Vincent’s pacifier? When is his next feeding? How long was Theo’s nap? When was his diaper last changed? And so on.

Sometimes it's the simplest things that are hardest to remember.

To preserve our sanity amid the chaos, we've come to lean heavily on an innovative new gadget, the ever-trusty ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer (pictured at right), a musubi-sized portable device that keeps track of how long “it’s been” since the most recent feeding, diaper change, nap or any other fine detail involving elapsed time. In addition to its four timers that can be individually reset with the touch of a button, I’ve even used the ITZBEEN as a handy reading light that won’t disturb anyone’s precious sleep.

And while the ITZBEEN’s backlit display provides important details to help ensure our newborn’s health and well being, it's no surprise my forgetful tendencies extend beyond my role as a parent. Even as a grown adult, I forget to put myself to bed on time. I forget to say “please” and “thank you.” I forget to floss my teeth and put away my '
toys.' I probably couldn't tell you where I last saw the ITZBEEN.

Beyond the physical realm, I am spiritually forgetful to the core.

I forget to practice God’s presence. I forget to celebrate His goodness. I forget to surrender my life daily to Christ. I forget to thank Him for the Cross. I forget the great cost of His sacrifice and consequently, I forget to tell others about His matchless grace.

Which makes me wonder: If I had a spiritual ITZBEEN, what would it tell me?

When did I last pray (not including mealtimes and church services)? How long has it been since I practiced hospitality or welcomed a stranger? When did I last enjoy the beauty of God’s creation? How long has it been since I shared the gospel (whether through actions or words)? When was the last time I gave to the poor or visited a sick person? How long has it been since I reflected on the Cross or pondered the Resurrection that changed human history?

Could it be that my drool-dispensing, diaper-soiling sons have a better grasp of their daddy's care and affection than I do of God's? As much as I adore those two boys, the Everlasting Father’s love goes so much deeper.

I think I can remember that.


becs said...

Wow! Well said.
I use the itzbeen to keep track of my two kids... and I appreciated your challenge to increased mindfulness of our spiritual lives. Good job Loon! Keep up the good blogging.

someone said...

I saw your post yesterday, and I wanted to say something, but I didn't know exactly what to say.

Then I saw today's devotional (Aug 4th) on


and thought you might be encouraged by it as well.

The Common Loon said...

Hey there someone- we both know that I know who you are!

Thanks for the link. I agree with Jon C. that those who are in Christ do not need a "spiritual thermometer" to gauge whether God accepts us. We are accepted by grace alone, not human effort.

My original post was an attempt to stress the importance of remembering this very same grace, lest I become like those in Scripture who forgot what mattered most.