Picture an afternoon of a tired and cranky mom trying to juggle kindergarten with an almost 5 year old and the book of Daniel with the girls. And, the kicker - trying to be joyful and not tired or cranky - in my own strength. As I am being pulled this way and that for attention, all I can think of is wanting to indulge in a giant spoonful of chocolate frosting cooling in the icebox. I know, I know. Some of you are disgusted by the thought of that chocolate treat. For me, it is a creamy, rich sampling of manna God sends me as a daily fortifier.
Sorry for the bunny trail. Chocolate frosting can have that affect on me.
Anyway, the stress is mounting, the 4 year old is frustrated and studying Daniel is becoming less and less attractive. I glance at my sweet second daughter and notice her head in her little dimpled hands. Tears streaming down her brown cheeks. A devastated look in her eyes.
"What is it little Brown Bean?" I ask.
"I feel so guilty and am so MAD at myself. I am so embarrassed!" she cries.
"What ever for?" I ask not sure where this is going.
"I have been so selfish and ugly the past two days. I am so MAD at myself!" she admits while continuing to cry. "I have been mean to Sophia and Hank and Shelby and everybody else! I am so angry!".
"How do you think it makes others feel when you treat them that way? How does it make YOU feel when you treat them unkindly? Do you think God is pleased with you?"
"They feel awful and I feel like an ugly, brown troll. Mean and hateful and I just can't stop myself. And God probably doesn't want to see my mean 'ol face!".
Although my heart was sad for her and I wanted to brush it all away, it was an opportunity I had been praying for. An opportunity to see how the Lord is transforming her heart, bending her steel will. An opportunity to show her and her siblings (and a reminder for myself) the grace and mercy of forgiveness. We halted all school work and the pretense of Bible study and prayed. We thanked God for the opportunity to see His forgiveness, repented for all of our ugliness, and asked God to restore our relationships.
What a beautiful, guilt-free face that looked up at me from her steepled fingers! It was a face that felt the forgiveness of our Lord and the beginning of a new day. As we watched, she was able to actually experience the weightlessness that comes along with repentance and forgiveness.
She picked up her pencil and said "Now what was what it you were saying about Daniel?".
A glimpse of guilt and grace in the span of 10 minutes.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.