IMG_0877I mean this as a compliment, but my one-year-old is super fat. Every part of her is smooshy – even her wrists – and I wouldn’t change a single doughy puff on her obese little body. One of the first foods I gave her was shredded colby-jack cheese. She loved it and it didn’t make her choke, so that became her thing. She tears through trays full of cheese. A thick layer of cheese covers the kitchen floor at all times, despite the fact that most days, it feels like I have a broom as an appendage. Any problem in her life can be solved with the little baby cheese puffs you see pictured above. I have three open canisters in my pantry right now. One in the car. One in my purse.

Brooklyn loves cheese so much, that now, every food she likes, she calls “cheese.”

Ice cream? “Cheese.”

Mashed potatoes? “Cheese.”

Chocolate cake? “Cheese.”

She doesn’t say “Mama” or “I love you” or “Thank you for passing out four times while you gave birth to me, beautiful giver of life.”

She says, “Cheese.”

Most of the time, when I show Brooklyn a cheese puff, her reaction looks like full-on worship. As the cheese puff enters her vision, she strains and reaches with a look of joyful desperation.

The reaction is so consistent and intense, it has me wondering, what is my cheese puff these days? What is this idol-factory of a heart of mine convinced is the ultimate? Is it my husband? My children? Ambition? Vanity? All of the above? I think, boiling it down, my cheese puff is and has always been self.

Does my husband like me? Are my children an impressive reflection of my parenting skills? Are my articles on motherhood and antiques and politics ensuring people know (and I know) that I am doing something important with my life? Am I pretty?

I hate that whole paragraph I just wrote, because I’d much rather spend each day thinking, Who can I serve in secret today? What can I say and post and share that will make people think of Jesus? But, often, I think about me.

Like Paul says in Romans 7:15, “…I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

I looked up that verse the other day while having a reasoned discussion with my oldest. I was basically telling her that she has to be respectful or else when she quoted Paul without knowing it.

“Mommy, I want to be a good girl, but I just keep being bad. I don’t know how to be good.”

Me too, Sweetie.

Thank God for Jesus. Many days, I still do the things I hate. I live like I can be good enough, like my kids can be good enough, like I can and should earn the world’s admiration. So much chasing of cheese puffs.

“To the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, [her] faith is counted as righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)

Jesus already says I am enough because He is enough. Everything else is just cheese puffs.

My prayer, this week, is that God would grant me the clarity to remember, early in the day, like before I start sweeping and writing and wiping, that He is better than cheese.

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