When Bryson was a baby, his heart broke if he sensed disappointment. I cannot explain it. I have two wild child, passionate, dramatic little girls (who, don’t get me wrong, I love for their spirit) that spent their toddlerhood doing all the things and just not giving a rip if you did not like it.But even a pleasant and calm “No, no bubba! You may not put that in your mouth” would evoke sobs. This was long before he was walking….even before he had words. His kinder teacher once confided in me that she hated when he would have to pull a stick (the classroom’s discipline technique which worked like a charm for our sweet boy) because she KNEW the sorrow that would follow. Today my handsome 7 1/2 year old who is looking more like a man-child every day still hates to fall short.
ughhhh….I told you! He’s SO big now!
As most of you know we have been hotel-living for nearly a month as our home is repaired after a hailstorm. And even though we are incredibly grateful for the way God has provided; even though we are well aware that we are not alone in this as evidenced by the multiple families also in this hotel until their homes are repaired- we are still at the point where we are getting a little stir crazy. We have tried increasing outdoor time so the kids can get our their manic energy but they are missing the space in our home and I have had to make very clear that we can have “no more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
Tonight Bryson forgot said rule and I found him hopping away on the fold out couch.
“Bryson Alexander! Are you allowed to jump on the bed?”
His face shot towards me as his body froze and it was obvious he was overcome with guilt. “No ma’am, I’m sorry.” he said. He laid down, tried to stick his face in the pillow without me noticing and quietly cried. And not even in a grandstanding, “I’m so upset with myself that you aren’t allowed to also be upset with me” type of way (that’s something one of my spicy little girls would think of for sure though, hehe!). I call for him to come to me and he hangs his head down and says “I don’t want to make mistakes!”
He is his mother’s child. I lost sleep as a kid over guilt when I messed up. Sometimes I still do. While I don’t want Bryson to be complacent about his shortcomings, I long for him to know grace.
I picked that big boy up and sat him on my lap. I shouldn’t have. He is almost bigger than me now and he doesn’t actually fit on my lap. But I did it anyway. I love him. I whispered into his ear.
“Bryson, it is not okay that you didn’t follow our rules. We have rules to protect you. You have to trust that when we tell you to obey us it’s not because we want to boss you. It’s because we have a reason. Listen closely because I want you to hear this with more than your ears…I want you to know it in your mind and in your heart and in your soul. You WILL fall short. You will not stop making mistakes. Mommy makes mistakes. Daddy makes mistakes. That’s why we need Jesus. He doesn’t make mistakes and He will forgive ours. You accept responsibility when you mess up, you take the consequence, you make it right by asking for forgiveness from the one that you wronged, but baby….then you accept grace. I forgive you. If you never made mistakes that wouldn’t make me love you more and when you do make mistakes that doesn’t make me love you less.”
As he nodded and wiped his tears it surprised me once again (it happens so much!) the way being a parent reflects our own relationship with our heavenly father.
May we not stop hating our sin. We cannot be complacent. But God’s not in heaven waiting for us to mess up so he can smite us and we don’t have Biblical guidelines just because He felt like “bossing us.” He loves us. And His great love for us should change our hearts in such a way that we long for nothing more than to push forward and finish the race. But when we fall short (and we will) may we find grace in the forgiveness He so generously offers. Because he will continually fill the great gap between who we are and who we need to be.
Tonight, if you have wrapped up this week knowing you “jumped on the bed when you weren’t supposed to again” then own up. Accept responsibility. But know that you are loved and know that God’s great love for you is not contingent on your actions. May you know grace tonight. May that love and grace change everything for you. Goodnight, friends.