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to wipe away your yelling

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.


  1. those moments are always so great and so hard at the same time. lucky for us each day is fresh. there's nothing better we can do than show our kids how we walk out the christian life daily. the highs and lows. you're doing a great job momma!

    1. I know there's nothing better, but gosh it took my pride a long time to realize that, ya know? I wanted to be some kind of super Christian (if there really is such a thing) who never messes up. alas, I'm not!

  2. wow!! love the way you responded to your daughter in this. my boy is only 4 months and I'm already worried about when he gets old enough to realize how sinful and ugly I am! I've even been telling myself I need to straighten up and fix "this, this and this" before he's at least 2 years old. HAHA. what am I thinking?! I know it's a refining process and I do pray that I am more like Jesus when he is 2, but I need to also be realistic and teach him that I am a sinner saved by grace - just like he is! to me there is no better way to share the gospel with your children. thank you for sharing this today! :)

    1. yeah, it's amazing how we want to be this ideal version of mom because we love our kids so much and would never want to cause them harm. but then realizing that acting like "ideal mom" is what's really hurting them! they will never be perfect, so what a disservice we'd be doing if they thought we were, and there was something wrong with them, you know? it feels backwards but I know it's not. it's a crazy sanctifying process, parenthood is.

  3. WOW is right. I teared up instantly. God has given us the greatest...and the hardest job in raising these little ones to glorify Him. Im thankful for the grace He pours out to me Otherwise, I would be an utter failure.

    1. ME TOO sarah. complete failure. I'm thankful for His grace and my daughter's too. I'm always amazed by how quickly she forgives and moves on :)

  4. Girl. I am right there with you. My husband and I both decided to be more conscious of how we speak to our kids. Especially when we are tired or frustrated. It's made a world of difference in the feel of our house. Not that we yelled a lot before, but we were careless with our tones. Great post.

    1. i get it. it's hard! you get tired, you're already irritated with something else, or they just plain frustrate you! but it's still no excuse. i've just been convicted of the importance of apologizing and asking forgiveness for the times i forget about my tone.

  5. You've done it again ~ I so, so love your heart and your brilliant faith.

    I have become a much different mother in the past year. I've learned so much about what I'm doing wrong by looking at what my son will become if I continue. How do those little people make us change so much? lol

    Leaving my pride behind is the most difficult change since becoming a mother, but it is the only way to glorify Him. Amen :)

    1. I knew my pride would be my biggest obstacle/downfall/sin the moment I found out I was pregnant. and it has been. I'm thankful that I know it early on though, you know? at least there's hope. admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? ;)

  6. I love this- I was just leaving at prayer request at lilly and light on better disciplining my 2 1/2 year old twins- tough job! I like your honesty and reflection! thanks- newest fan!

  7. it's like our children are little angels sent from the Lord to remind us of His grace and His constant good for us.
    it's a lovely space here, hopped over from Lilly and light. excited to get to know you better!

  8. thank you Leah! you're so right, I would be a completely different person if I didn't have my kids. and not in a good way I'm afraid. so thankful for them, even if I'm constantly bombarded with my own sin, because then I'm constantly bombarded with His sufficiency and Grace!


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