This morning on the way to take sweet Aidan to school, I had a sudden and unexpected encounter with a 16-year-old boy. He was on his way to school, the roads were slick, and he slid right into the back of me when I was stopped at a light. The damage to the mommy mobile isn't all that bad. The kids were understandably frightened but not injured. We got out and this kind, polite boy asked if everyone was OK. He was obviously upset, but he handled himself very well. We called the police and then He decided he needed to call his dad. His dad drove over and was visibly frustrated. You could hear it in his voice as he reprimanded his son. He wasn't necessarily inappropriate and I wouldn't have expected a father to behave any differently. It wasn't long before we were on our way. The father and the son both apologized and I left.
I was on my way home and I was reflecting on that teenage boy. I remembered making HUGE mistakes and having to make the dreaded phone call to my own father. I remember having to listen to him as he told me that I just needed to think, to use my head, slow down and stop making careless mistakes. Sometimes these conversations were based in love and sometimes it was just too frustrating for my dad to be able to remain calm. I was thinking about how that feels, to know you messed up, to know there will be consequences, to feel little bitty, and at the same time to have to listen to someone explain to you what you did wrong. With every word spoken you shrink further into self doubt and inability.
The next thing that occurred to me was the reaction of my Heavenly Father when I come to Him after making a mistake or choosing to act in sin. He never feels the need to Lord our sins over us. He let's us come, repent, and soak in His grace. He is so good, He is a merciful and compassionate God who beckons us to come and sit at His feet and take our fill of His love, His unconditional, limitless love. I am so thankful for the love of the Father! I am thankful for the way He speaks to me in the midst of my daily life and whispers His sweet truths to me.
When we come and repent we aren't promised that we will never suffer the consequences of our behavior (that would not be just) but we are guaranteed that we will find love, forgiveness, and acceptance in the midst of our sin filled existence. The next thing that occurred to me is how powerful it would have been in my own life after one of those "huge mistakes" if my father would have come to me and not said a word, but wrapped me in his loving embrace, knowing what I did was wrong, careless, and even stupid. What if he never felt the need to even tell me that, but yet he loved me through it. What if that father today had loved his son through it, never even speaking a critical word. What a powerful reflection of the Father he could have been.
I have found myself pondering my parenting today. I think there is a time and a place for me to correct, train, and teach my kids, but sometimes the most effective thing I can do is wrap them in my loving embrace and love them through it. That doesn't mean that we protect them from the consequences of the behavior, but sometimes we already know the mistakes we made...all we need is to know that we are loved in spite of those mistakes. Ephesians 4:29 is a verse that I have been praying and meditating on lately. It has application to EVERY single area of my life, but I have been specifically praying to see that verse become true in my home. I so desire our home to be place that encourages my family, that builds them up and gives them a safe place to fall when they do fall. The lesson that the Father had for me today directly relates to building a home environment that allows my husband, our children, and our family as a whole to not only survive but to blossom. I pray that in His strength I will be able to reflect the love of the Father more clearly in my own parenting.