“Don’t play with the microwave!” I called out to my 5 year-old Sophia, as I turned over in my comfy bed to snooze for just a few more minutes.
The next thing I know, the smell of something burning reached my nose. I scrambled to my feet, and ran down the narrow stairway leading to our kitchen below.
There I found my eldest attempting to microwave her breakfast, all by herself, because she is strong and independent like that. The colorful sprinkle covered pancakes from our special “breakfast for dinner” the night before, were now pure black instead. The pancakes were also smoking excessively inside of a CLOSED plastic container in the microwave.
As I inspected the damage, I turned to the miniature version of myself and exclaimed with impatience, “You can’t play with the microwave! We almost had a fire!”
Billows of smoke filled our kitchen so I quickly opened the back door and windows to air out the house, while my daughter ran to her room dramatically wailing in tears over what she had done.
Sophia's room is her place to regroup and calm down when emotions get the best of her. I immediately went to Sophia, telling her it was ok, but also explaining the seriousness of what just happened. I knew she had learned her lesson.
Then, as I reached out to console Sophia, she pushed me away. She did not want to accept my love, my forgiveness, my embrace.
At that moment, I saw myself in my daughter.
So many times when I make a mistake, when I struggle, when I have done something I am not proud of, when I sin - I want to push others away. I want to even push God away. I want to punish myself.
“I messed up. I am a mess. I don’t deserve love.” In the ugly moments of real life I often think these thoughts… But these thoughts are not the TRUTH.
On that crazy Wednesday morning, I held Sophia tight and pulled her close onto my lap, knowing she needed to hear, receive, and learn some truths about who she is and who God is.
She is ACCEPTED… even in her mistakes.
She is LOVED… even when she has done something unlovely.
She is FORGIVEN... where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
God is patiently working to teach me these powerful truths, and I so earnestly want to teach them to my children.
As I held Sophia tight, she gradually relaxed into my arms and began to receive my love, listen to my voice, and believe that what I was saying was true. I told her, “It’s ok my girl. It’s ok. Sometimes things like this happen to the best of us. I love you so much.”
And then my day as mommy continued on - full steam ahead!
I cleaned multiple potty accidents off the floor, bought a big supply of groceries, cooked for my family, cleaned, did laundry, settled frustrations between my two daughters, encouraged my then 2 year old to “pee pee in the potty” over and over again…You know, the normal…
And I also snapped! I spoke impatiently to my loving husband over something silly – not my most proud moment. No, not at all…
On that rough Wednesday, my husband offered acceptance, love, and forgiveness to me in spite of my sin, and yet I would not reach out and take it. I felt too undeserving…
And then suddenly, I realized. I was responding just like my daughter, who just hours earlier wanted to push away my love. There I was doing the same thing, but to my husband. In my sin, in my mistake, in my unlovely mess, I began to push away the love of my beloved, who loves me more than any other human on the earth.
Later in the evening, once my girls were sleeping soundly, I retreated to my secret place to pour out my heart to God. Even in my heart, I wanted to push God away too.
My heart was too UGLY.
My unloveliness TOO MUCH.
My sin so BIG.
Yet God spoke strong from the book of James, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
And I broke.
In my mess, in my sin, I turned to God, and He came. He showed up. He comes like He promises He will. He came, scooped me into His comforting lap, held me close and whispered truths to my heart...
I am ACCEPTED… even in my mistakes.
I am LOVED… even when I have done something unlovely.
I am FORGIVEN... where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
God powerfully used this day as a reminder to me that even when I try to push away His love, He pursues me and is greater!
His love is patient and kind.
His Word eternal and all powerful to break through.
His presence and nearness constant.
And even when my heart condemns me, He is greater than my heart.
I am thankful for these truths and that He never gives up on me.
I hope and pray this testimony encourages you today, wherever you are at on your journey with the Lord.