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 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.