Tag Archives: honesty

Because I love you. . .

Yesterday, in the midst of our usual chaos of homeschooling and breakfast and chores, Jubilee asked for help applying glue to a piece of construction paper. When asked why, she replied, “Because I need to glue it to the wall.” Uh, no. Tape was suggested as a viable alternative and I told her that under no circumstances was she to use glue to hang anything up.

Fast forward several hours. I am rearranging the magnets on the fridge to get them out of Romeo’s reach when I discover that a piece of purple construction paper is stuck to the refrigerator quite solidly. I pull it off to see that it has been glued there. I call Jubilee in and ask her if she glued it there after I told her not to use the glue to hang things. She says yes with a look of shame. I put her in time out to give myself time to gather my thoughts.

After her time out was done, I brought her into the kitchen and required that she stand with me as I tried several different things to remove the paper from the fridge. I first had her try scraping it with a plastic scraper, but she was not able to make progress at all on her own. So I took over, but made her stay with me through the process. By this time, she had gotten sad because she sensed my frustration and wanted me to be “happy” again. I periodically took time out from the task to hug her and explain that I was frustrated that the paper was so hard to get off. I told her that she was going to pick up all the tiny paper shavings that had fallen to the floor as I worked. She again looked very sad and with tears in her eyes asked, “Will you help me pick them up?” My first instinct was to say no and to launch into another diatribe about how she made the mess by disobeying me and I was already doing most of the work and blah, blah, blah, lecture, lecture, lecture. Then I took a deep breath and looked at that sweet little concerned face and said, “Yes, Jubilee, I will help you pick them up.” She look a bit relieved and then asked, “You’ll help me because you helped make the mess?”

An onslaught of surprisingly deep thought ran through my head at that moment and I realized I had the opportunity to teach my little girl a lesson about grace and mercy. My response was, “No, I’ll help you pick them up because I love you and I know you don’t want to do it because it feels hard. So you have to do it, but I will be here with you and we will both clean it up.” She nodded and fell hard against me for a very vigorous hug, and the parallels between my own heart and this situation began to form in my mind.

The definition of mercy is undeserved favor. In the simplest sense, Jubilee did not “deserve” my presence or my help in cleaning up the mess she had made. . .but because I love her, I was able to look past that “fact” and be there with her to help her through something that was hard. Even if the difficulty was the consequences of her own actions, still I love her too much to leave her to sift through those consequences on her own.

I do not deserve the mercies of God. I have made many messes over the course of my life, some in ignorance, some in disobedience, some in selfishness and some with good intentions. Where would I be today if God stood by, brushed off His hands at me and declared, “Well, you MADE the mess because you didn’t listen. Good luck cleaning it up!” But because of His enormous love for me, that has never been His response to my mistakes. Sure, as I’ve grown from a baby Christian into a more mature one, He has let me own more of my consequences, but He has never just left me alone to pick up the pieces. And more times than not, all it takes is a little effort in the right direction on my part before I feel His hand intervening to “help” me in sometimes almost imperceptible ways. . .but sometimes miraculous ones.

So in this journey through brokenness as I learn to parent my children in a way that is also discipling them for Christ, may I learn to respond more and more often with, “. . .just because I love you.” Because that’s the character Jesus wants to build into them as well. And children learn from what they see. And my prayer is always that they can learn from my failures. . .but a little more often these days, they are learning also from my example. And that feels good. And is well worth the pain and the turmoil of deep changes in my heart and mind. Because they’re worth it.

Growth

Dear Melody,

Today we had a moment when my heart swelled with joy over a small thing that to most probably seems insignificant. You were getting yourself a glass of ice water in the kitchen when you dropped an ice cube in the floor. You didn’t know I was watching as you kicked it several times across the floor and underneath the stove. When you turned and saw me standing there, your countenance dropped and shame flushed your features.

“Why did you do that?” I asked you. “Oh, sorry,” you said, flustered, and bent down to try and reach under the stove. “Melody, it’s clear from your reaction that you KNOW that was the wrong way to handle that. Why did you do it?” You dropped your eyes for a moment, then looked back up into my eyes. “I know it was wrong. I just didn’t feel like picking it up. I’m sorry and I won’t do it again.” I drew you close in a hug and thanked you for being honest with me.

After I thought about it a few minutes, I wanted to say more. So I told you that I was very proud of you for not making excuses and for being honest and owning your mistake. You and I have been talking more lately about the fact that Jesus lives in your heart and because you love Him, the best way to show it is to live in a way that pleases Him. And we know honesty makes Him happy. . .And I truly believe that owning a mistake makes Him happier than not making any. . .and so I told you this. I told you I see you growing in your faith and it makes my heart happy.

This little moment in time might seem insignificant to many, but not to me. Because I parented you with a lot of punishment as a toddler, you learned to do what you could not to get in trouble. Since we’ve been trying to focus more on discipling you than training your behavior, this small incident was a huge window into the fact that you’re getting it. You’re learning that being honest about your feelings and motivations is more important than dodging our displeasure. And I hope it means I’m doing a better job encouraging that level of honesty in you. . .helping you understand that you can be honest with me about anything and trust me to respond the right way.

Because I want to know you, little girl. The sweet parts and the broken human parts. The kind, thoughtful parts and the selfish, fearful parts. All of you. And by knowing you and loving all the parts of you, I’m learning a bit more about how to love all the parts of me. Thank you for sharing yourself with me today.

Love, Mama