the Truth I learned in the middle of my daughter’s lie

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As the story started to unfold, the tightness in my chest increased.

I’d read somewhere recently about how our generation loves to justify things and make them sound/look pretty even when they aren’t – that truly we need to call sin for what it is…sin.

So, with that in mind, it meant that my sweet & compassionate 5 year old daughter was a disobedient thief and a liar.  Typing it out is almost as painful as realizing it that afternoon in the car.  I was in shock.  How could she so deliberately do such things – when I know that she knows better?  I couldn’t eat supper, it shattered my heart.  I was broken over the choices she had made.

Staring out the window, the view blurred by the tears running down my cheeks, I felt sick. It was suddenly hard to breathe. Why would she make those choices? Why in the world did it feel so huge when truly there were no drastic side effects (aside from the consequences she would have to face)?

Steve and I spoke to her, addressing the issue – but soon the tears were too close to the surface and I told her we all just needed to be quiet for a little while.  To think about her actions, to pray for forgiveness and wisdom.  The look I gave Steve let him know that this was far from over but it was clear that we weren’t ready to exactly dole out punishment & wise consequences in that moment.

It was in those quiet moments, while the town of West Point flashed by out the window, that I tried to remember the last time I had been this heartbroken over my own sin.  When have I wept for being a liar?  When have I been devastated over embellishing a story to make myself sound better to avoid the looks of disappointment that I knew would come from those I loved most? Had I ever?  Have I ever named my own sin out loud?  Acknowledged when I was a liar? a thief? a gossiper? a glutton? How could I be so pained over my daughter’s sin and unscathed by my own?  It’s incredible how quickly perspective can change.

There was something on the edge of my brain that I couldn’t quite focus on but I felt that it was connected to something I had read in Bible study that morning.  I had been studying through Acts in preparation for a ladies Bible study with my church and then I remembered what it was…

37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I love how Matthew Henry describes vs 37…

“It put them in pain: They were pricked in their hearts. We read of those that were cut to the heart with indignation at the preacher ch. 7:54 ), but these were pricked to the heart with indignation at themselves for having been accessory to the death of Christ. Peter, charging it upon them, awakened their consciences, touched them to the quick, and the reflection they now made upon it was as a sword in their bones, it pierced them as they had pierced Christ. Note, Sinners, when their eyes are opened, cannot but be pricked to the heart for sin, cannot but experience an inward uneasiness; this is having the heart rent (Joel. 2:13 ), a broken and contrite heart, Ps. 51:17 . Those that are truly sorry for their sins, and ashamed of them, and afraid of the consequences of them, are pricked to the heart. A prick in the heart is mortal, and under those commotions (says Paul) I died, Rom. 7:9 . “All my good opinion of myself and confidence in myself failed me.’’”

We cannot but be pricked to heart for sin.  Realizing and understanding that my only confidence is in Christ…any confidence in myself is constantly shifting sand.  I have a feeling that I won’t soon forget that day…and poor West Point, I doubt I’ll ever drive through without remembering His lesson that He taught me through my sweet 5 year old.

Lessons are hard to learn no matter your age, and often the hardest part of all of it is to live with the consequences and allow Him to change…to transform our hearts.  Even after that happened, some of my first thoughts were what could I do better – in my own life…in teaching her?  Where have I failed?  How am I supposed to handle a pre-teen or a teenager when I’m failing her as a 5 year old…a 3 month old Christian?!? I mean let’s be honest…I clearly still struggle with this “sin” thing as a 30 year old.

It’s truly insane how quickly I can turn to self, to the lies, to the half truths that the enemy is SO incredibly ready to feed to me. 

Deep breaths.  Today.  This moment.  That is what I have been given.  In this moment, on that drive up Hwy 45 – that’s where I needed His forgiveness, His mercy, His grace, and His wisdom.  And you know what?  He gave it to me and He gave me peace – abundantly overflowing in ways I didn’t know to ask for…and He stilled my mind.  He reminded me that in Him alone should I trust.  Right now, in this particular moment, He hasn’t given me a pre-teen.  He isn’t keeping a tally sheet and wondering if He made the right choice in creating me to be a mom.  He is waiting, full of perfect gifts that He desires to give me in His perfect timing to glorify His name in the most unbelievable of ways.

He has called me to live life daily. 

To follow & obey right now…and when I walk in that, there isn’t stress of grace vs consequences – a 6th chance or a severe punishment…there’s just the journey of glorifying Him with all that I am.  And walking in confidence that He has chosen to unconditionally love and use me…even as a liar & a thief.

For His Glory,

For the sake of full disclosure (and so that some of you can call me dramatic) she had taken an old key out of a dresser from my Nanna’s house…and as we started finding out it was one she asked to play with and was told no.  Although the first rendition of the story was that she put it in her pocket and simply forgot it was there.  Hopefully, lesson learned.

 

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Remembering our Armor

remembering ourWhat does “protect us from our Enemy” mean momma?

She had caught the phrase from a song that was on the radio and didn’t understand.

I told her that our Enemy was Satan – the devil.  She laughed and said “Momma, he’s dead!  God killed him…didn’t He?”

I smiled and told her no, that Satan was very much alive and his desire is to destroy the earth and the people who live here.  He first wants to make sure none of us believe in Jesus, and then if we choose to anyway, Satan wants to make us believe lies, think that sin is okay, and overall make us live as if we are not children of God.  As I was talking, I was praying.  How much do I tell her?  Did I just go into too much detail? How do I put this into terms she can understand?

From the backseat, she said, “well…when I see Satan and he tells me lie, I’m going to say ‘You’re a LIAR SATAN!!! Don’t talk to me anymore!!’ then he’ll just go away momma.  Satan won’t like that I’ll call him a liar.”

My heart swelled.  I told her that we don’t always know it’s Satan telling us things when we hear them.  She quickly informed me that if a snake talks to her she’ll know it’s the devil.  Hmmm guess she has a point.  I explained that he may not necessarily take the same form that he chose in Genesis.  She was slightly stumped at this and finally said…”well if I come up on Satan then I’ll be ready to fight him and kill him so he doesn’t lie to anyone else.  I can use my BB gun right Momma?”

Immediately, she was a bit concerned remembering that her daddy had to be with her to use the BB gun.  What if she’s by herself when she “comes up on Satan?”.  I began a dialogue with her about the armor of God.  She had heard about it before and was slightly familiar with the concept.  Convicted, I admitted that I was going to have to look it up to know each part, but upon doing so we talked through each thing.

It reminded her of a God Rocks (never heard of it? HIGHLY recommend! check it out here) episode where they have to fight a dragon and one of the characters puts on the armor.  She asked if that’s what that show was about and then stated proudly that when she sees that devil she’s going to run and put on her armor so that she can fight him.

hmmmm

I immediately knew why what she said threw up a red flag for me, but it’s hard to address something when I also knew it wasn’t right in my own life.  I asked the Lord for honesty and the right words and kept moving forward.  I told her that it didn’t work that way.  That the devil wasn’t going to just sit and wait for us to run and put armor on.  We needed to already have it on (ouch).  It can’t be something that hangs in our closet and we pull out when we feel the need. It’s how we were to dress daily.  We talked about how things can happen and be finished before we’re even aware that Satan was the one who was holding the strings.  If we aren’t prepared with the armor that He has given us, we won’t be adequately equipped to fight.  Gracious.  Have I mentioned before how much He uses her to teach me???

Without hesitation, she proudly proclaimed that she’d pray daily to wear every piece and then promptly wanted to know if she would be able to see it once she started wearing it.  And before quickly answering “no”, I hesitated; and then answered with a “maybe”.  Because who am I to say that the Lord won’t let her see it?  Perhaps He will…but even if we don’t see it, I think satan and his demons do.  And my prayer is that others around us can see it – maybe not the armor pieces specifically but that it will be obvious that the fiery darts can not penetrate us, that we bring peace to hostile situations, that we fight using the Spirit and not with self, and that lies can not make their way through because of His salvation and truth that protects us.

A few weeks later, she gasped suddenly in the van.  She was fairly upset because she had forgotten to pray and ask for the armor of God that morning.  Honestly, I stifled a laugh at first, fairly confident that she had not remembered every morning for the past few weeks and recognizing yet again how much her dramatic personality reflects that of her mother’s.  I assured her that it was okay, and that we could pray right then.  Looking at her in the rearview mirror, I could see the peace that settled over my baby girl as she contentedly looked out the window.  Right then I prayed that I would gasp…that I would be upset over forgetting to put on my armor for the day too.  And then I echoed that same prayer.For His Glory,

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Book Review: First Virtues – 12 Stories for Toddlers

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My 5 1/2 year old and my 2 1/2 year old both dove into this book as soon as it came in the mail.  The illustrations were colorful and grabbed their attention.  I loved how easily the rhyming sentences flowed when being read aloud and how simple it was for them to understand.  Each virtue was easy to talk about and come up with examples of how we could live them out in our day to day life.IMG_7153

Each virtue is paired with an animal character which is a great technique for getting my kiddos to remember each one!  At the end of each virtue story, there is a parent connection which gives you ways to catch your child exhibiting the trait during the week and to take the reader a bit deeper into the virtue discussed.IMG_7152

My personal favorite thing about this book is that each virtue lesson ends with a scripture verse that is simplified for easy memorization no matter your child’s age.  We firmly believe in hiding God’s word in our heart and I love how this book gives you one for each trait!

I highly recommend this book for 6 years and under!  You can find it here!

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To Pop

There was almost always a card.  Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Congratulations, Birthdays, & with every box you & Nanna sent to Madagascar, there was always a card.  I started this post in May and have never clicked “publish”.  However, last week it was my 31st birthday.  The night before we were at your house and Nanna gave me my birthday card.  When I opened it, I realized it was the first time your name had not been signed.  I remember back when I was younger, Nanna would sign both of your names.  A few years later you started at least signing Pop, and then more recently you might even write a word or two or on the extremely rare occasion even a sentence.  But on that Monday night, sitting in my van…everything caught me off guard again.  Nanna made it clear that my gift was from both of you but not seeing your fast, always darker than Nanna’s, handwriting in that card – it made me sad.  It got me choked up and made my heart hurt.  Even while I am incredibly jealous of where you are – I still miss you.  I love you.

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Pop,

You called me the night before.  We had just joked the week prior that I never saw “Pop” come on my screen and how happy it had made me recently when your name popped up on my phone.  Steve and I were eating dinner for our anniversary when my phone started ringing.  “Pop” it said with that sweet picture of you holding Ryleigh’s hand walking into church.

Answering it, I heard you say “Hey Nick, (you & my dad are the only ones who get away with calling me that) just wanted to wish you & Steve a happy anniversary.”  I told you thank you and that we were out eating dinner.  You said, “well, that’s all just wanted to say that…and that I love you & Steve – ya hear?”  I smiled in that moment knowing already how special it was to hear you say just that and I told you that we knew you did and that we loved you.

Hanging up, I didn’t know that was the last thing you’d ever say to me.  I had no idea that within 24 hours, we’d all be driving towards UMC in Jackson to sit by your bedside, hold your hand, and wonder what the doctor would say next.

Walking in your room, holding your hand, and starting to talk to you seemed almost normal.  I wasn’t worried that you didn’t know how much I loved you, I know you did.  But I could still hear you asking, “yall leaving already?” no matter if we’d been at your house 5 minutes or 5 hours.  And that’s what I wanted to say…”you’re leaving already?”.  Trying to process telling our girls that their Pop was going to heaven was impossible that night.  If I didn’t think about it, maybe it wouldn’t be true.  Maybe, there’d be another night of you asking if we were leaving and we could all just sit down for another hour or two.  Maybe there’d be another ride on the golf cart to go look at the cows.  Maybe there’d be a night of fried chicken or smoked pork.  Maybe there’d be a night of convincing you to get in the pool after working in the garden.  Maybe there’d be one more big fishing day at the lake in Scooba.  Maybe.  Maybe.

But there wasn’t. 

Could you hear us?  Did you know what we were saying to you?  Were you laughing at the memories and crying when we just couldn’t get the words out?  Did you know that we all made it there to tell you goodbye?  Do you know how quickly the entire family got together? Could you hear the stories being shared by people who worked for you, with you, and knew you “way back when”?

Was it seamless?  Were you listening to our tears and feeling our kisses and then in the next breath you were in glory?  Did you leap in the air or fall on your knees?  Did you run faster than you knew was possible or were you paralyzed in awe?  Did you reach up to adjust your glasses only to find that you had no need for them?  Were you amazed that your hands weren’t stiff and any sores were healed?

Our girls, your “gal baby” girls, they miss you.  Lyllian continually wants to go to “Pop & Nanna house” and Ryleigh wants to call you on the phone & in almost 2 months has rarely prayed without asking God to take care of you in heaven.  Lyllian’s newest thing is always asking “where errebody?” if we get to your house and we’re the only ones there.  In her eyes, when we’re there, the whole family should be.  There hasn’t been a time yet, that I don’t wait for you to walk around the corner & offer the girls a Popsicle.  We are enjoying being in that pool and those two girls are turning into little fish.  My heart so often hurts with how much I wish you were standing on that porch watching them.

While I don’t know all the ins and outs of what you heard or saw those last few days in the hospital – I do know that the views from that back porch are so incredibly insignificant compared to the view you currently have.  Obviously we all miss you but more than that, it just has been such a reminder of how homesick we are.  Homesick for where you are.  A few nights ago, Ryleigh made the statement that she sometimes wishes that she were you.  I have to admit it caught me off guard but then she explained.  She said, “Pop gets to live with Jesus and I want to too!”

We miss you.  We love you.  We are incredibly thankful for the Hope that we share.

For His Glory,

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