It had been one of those days. Instead of cinnamon, I put chili powder in the kids’ oatmeal. Fortunately, I figured it out before I served it to them for breakfast.
In the car every time I looked down, I realized I was inadvertently speeding (something I feel very strongly about not doing).
I kept turning up the volume dial on the dashboard and figured it was broken because the sound wasn’t changing. When I found myself sweating bullets, I realized I had been turning up the dial on the fan instead of the volume.
I forgot my lunch at work, and settled for fast food at 2:00 in the afternoon, and fast food really doesn’t do anything positive for my body.
The huge project I was working on was feeling overwhelming, mostly because the program I was using must have been written by the spawn of Satan (okay, perhaps that’s a bit too strong… but it kept messing up on me nonetheless).
I was late picking up the kids from school, too.
Once home, I felt the chaos of the day pile up. I had supper to fix, because there weren’t enough leftovers even though I had planned for a leftovers night. None of the children could hear me when I called for them from downstairs, because I have no volume to my voice. I was tired and achy from coughing, and Nothing. Was. Going. My. Way.
An altercation was inevitable.
It was the perfect storm.
As I stood with one of my children and raked them over the coals for their disobedience, I saw our dog, Cooper, slink away from us. One of my other children started to laugh, not thinking about the circumstances. “Look, Mom!” they cried, “Look at Cooper. Why’s he running from you like that?”
“Because,” I huffed, “He hears me scolding your sibling the way I scold him.” Then I turned back to my child and started to unload on them again… for just a moment, because y’all did you read that?
My dog was scared of me because I was scolding my child the way I scold him.
I was talking to my child the way I talk to a dog.
Did you see that?
I was treating my Child. Like. A. Dog.
Everything in me wilted. The air seemed to leave my lungs, and I pulled them close in embrace. I poured out my love into them and begged their forgiveness for dishonoring and mistreating them even though they had disobeyed.
I had made my day all about me. I had made their disobedience all about me. I had made my sin all about everything and everyone else.
I have written about it before… it doesn’t matter how old they are, I am called to treat my children with honor. I am called to think of others as better than myself. I am called to honor others in love. That includes my children. They are better than me. They deserve honor and love. That means in the way I speak to them. That means in the way I speak about them. That means in what I write about them.
I am called to treat my children with honor.
Firmness, discipline, yes, all those things are necessary, but dishonor is never necessary. They are beautiful creations made in the image of God, and when I dishonor them, I dishonor Him.
Yes, we live in a messy world. Yes, this parenting thing is so very, very hard, and as my children have gotten older, it’s gotten harder. But it’s also gotten so much more lovely. I see the heart transformations. I see the understanding in their eyes when I share my heart with them. I feel the gentleness in their touch as we hug. I hear real meaning in their voice when they say, “I forgive you.” They understand so much more of what they are saying now.
And when I ask for forgiveness, sometimes one of them will say, “It’s okay, Mom.”
“No.” I tell them, “Sin is never okay.”
Sin is never okay. No matter what the reason for my sin.
And y’all, just a side note… authenticity about our sin is a good thing. Being real about our messiness is necessary. But here’s the thing, if it’s not a springboard for us to speak the gospel to each other, then it’s just making the sin and the mess okay. And the sin and the mess are not okay. The sin and the mess need to drive us to our knees, to Jesus, not to pats on the back saying, “Its okay.”
My Ash will often say, “You’re right, Mom, it’s not okay. But it’s paid for.”
And just like that he frees me with truth that I don’t have to live under “Mommy guilt” for failing my children yet again. That truth is what allows me to be real about my sin.
It’s paid for.
Will I dishonor my child again?
I’m sure I will.
Is it okay?
But, thank God, I don’t have to live under the guilt of it all.
It’s paid for.