A few days ago while the kids were eating breakfast, Emma randomly told me she was sorry. It's never a good thing when your three year old apologizes and you have no idea what she's talking about. I asked her what she was sorry for, to which she replied, "For writing in marker all over your table."
I saw the black permanent marker first. Then I looked to where she was seated and spotted the scribbles all over the side of my new, white table.
Dangit. What was going on in her head when she decided it would be a good idea to do something that she clearly knew was wrong?? What was she thinking!? We have had several conversations about only writing on paper and what a big no-no it is to write on furniture, clothing, or her little brother. And of all things, she decided to mess up my new. white. table.
I went off on a tangent asking her all these same questions and bringing up these important points. I may have raised my voice. And used broad sweeping gestures with my arms to portray to her just how big my disappointment was. Until she burst into tears and said quietly, "Mommy, please call me grace."
I had to stop in my tracks long enough to actually look at her and ask her to repeat what she said. Again, she said with a quivering lip, "Please call me grace."
I realized my daughter was asking for grace. Even though she knew what she did was wrong. Even though she didn't know the right words to say. I had to pause for a second. I mean, seriously, it's my new, white table. It only took a second though.
"You mean show you grace?" I quietly asked her.
"Yes, Mommy. Show me grace."
I hugged her and told her I would show her grace as God shows me grace. And I meant it.
How many times do I know something isn't right but do it anyway? How many times am I selfish and have an attitude that's just about what I want, regardless of how it affects someone else? Yet I am so incredibly aware of the grace of God in my life.
There's nothing quite like being humbled by your three year old.
A while later she came up to me again with a quivering lip, hugged me and said she forgave me. I was a little confused and asked what she forgave me for, to which she replied for writing on my table. Again, she had the words wrong, but I understood what she meant. I realized that although she had told me she was sorry, I hadn't actually said that I'd forgiven her. My goodness, two important lessons in a fifteen minute time span. I'd forgotten in my earlier conversation with my child how important it is to hear the words "you're forgiven" in the process of reconciliation. I know in my relationship with Matt how important it is for the other person to acknowledge that while yes, a wrong was done, there's something freeing in hearing "you're forgiven." It allows the other to know you're not holding something over the other's head and lets the relationship be restored from both party's perspective.
I hope the lines of communication always stay this open with my kids. I hope that God continues to teach me lessons through my children. I hope they'll look back on their childhood and see parents that strive to show them the love and grace of Jesus.