one of my favorite things to do in december is to drive around to see the lights. our neighborhood is huge, and we have some seriously awesome houses. one of them is our next-door neighbor, so we don't have to look very far it we don't want to. but at least five or six times in december i would stick the girls in the car and drive around our neighborhood to spot the best-decorated houses.
one particular evening, as we were driving, i asked my three-year old if she remembered what was so special about Christmas.
"it's when Jesus came to see all my presents!"
that's when you know you're doing a good job, right? yeah, so i gently reminded her that Jesus came, in fact, to wipe away our sins. after a thirty second pause, she wondered out loud:
"He came to wipe away your yelling?"
"Because when you yell, that's your sin. and when i don't listen to you, that's my sin."
yes, right again. i found myself feeling exposed, relieved, but also pressed with the responsibility to live what i teach.
the thing is, she knows what sin is. she sees it demonstrated in her mother's life everyday and there are two things i can do with that. 1) i can act like i have it all together and everything i do is right. i can choose to lord my authority over her, simply because i'm bigger. or 2) i can admit that i am human and i make mistakes and i fall short. and i can show her how to deal gracefully with this inevitable reality of the human experience.
if i'm choosing #2 [and i am] i don't have the luxury of acting like i'm bigger and better and i can do what i want. when i sin against her, i need to apologize and ask forgiveness. i won't be perfect, it's just not possible. and tomorrow, i'll probably lose my patience again and i'm sure i'll raise my voice again.
the real test is how i respond in the after-math. it's okay to tell her that i was wrong. it's okay to admit that i make mistakes. contrary to what my pride would have me believe, she will not think i'm weak or lose respect for me. quite the opposite, actually. she needs to see human. and she needs to see Grace practically lived out in everyday life.
the last thing i want to teach her is that she'll be perfected, have it all together, and have life completely figured out by the time she's a grown-up, simply because she's a grown-up. quite frankly, if she believes that, i will have failed her. that's the biggest lie of all lies. it's my responsibility to model an adult life that can make mistakes gracefully so that she isn't left never-measuring-up once she's an adult who makes mistakes.
i'm still learning, but i'm so thankful for a God who deals patiently with me. He is the best teacher of Grace, and thank goodness He is her perfect and gracious Father too.