Thursday, November 01, 2012

Grace to Help

Training these kids is hard.  So, so hard.  

I do it wrong  too often.

But when I just take a minute or 10 and do it the right way?  MAN.  Does God come through.  And every time, I wish and wonder why in the world I can't get it through my head to do it right, every time?  How much happier would our home be?  How much sweeter would my children be?  Would I be??

Tonight Olivia lied to me.  Didn't flinch, didn't blink.  Just fed me a bald-faced lie, looking me straight in the eyes.

God gave grace.  I had heard the rumblings, not just with ears that hear the chaos of bickering sisters, but with discerning ears.  Of one younger sister, firmly pleading with the elder, over and over again.  With no effect.

With just a little probing, the lie was admitted (grace!), and I sent the little deer-in-headlights to wait for me in my bedroom.  I had to finish making Nate's work lunch... time to think and pray.  More grace.  

Liv doesn't like to be treated like a baby.  So I talked to her like an adult.  (An adult with an immature vocabulary.)  At first she tried to convince me that she had indeed told the truth and had not really lied, but with not much explanation, she saw that she had indeed manipulated the truth so she wouldn't get in trouble.  Thank you, Lord.  That's so hard to simplify for them.

And so I practiced the art of repetition, rehearsing these truths for the thousandth time and my goodness, I just hate saying the same things over and over.  "No matter what sort of trouble you think you'll be in, Lying trouble is always much worse."  And "Lying is never the answer to any problem."  And of course, "Even if it's half-true, it's still a lie."  All the while, the child liar nods, with blank eyes, unblinking.  

I tell her how alarming it is to see that she had absolutely no trouble telling that lie.  Most children are terrible liars, but that was just so easy and natural for her.  

I can read it as though it were a marquee, scrolling across her forehead:  "Does not compute.... Does not compute..."

Then, "Tell me what God thinks about lying."   She rehearses, "He hates it."  In the flash of a moment, I wonder just what it will take to get her attention.  I beg God to get through to her.  I tell her that the Bible has a few lists of things that God hates, but that the lists are pretty short.  And lying is on those lists.  And actually, "hate" isn't exactly the right word.  What it means is that it makes God sick.  

She blinks.  Now she can hear me.  

"You see, God is truth.  He doesn't just say the truth; He IS truth, in His Being.  Truth is part of what makes God God.  So a lie goes against everything that God IS.  He can't stand lying, and it makes Him sick."

Unbelievable.  Her chin quivers, breath quickens.  So does mine.  She crumples into me and weeps, and that right there, that was all of grace.  No six-year-old "gets" that.  That was God.  

And now it's time for forgiveness talk.  And love talk.  And just yesterday we had a good discussion about confessing sins so we can have a proper relationship to God, and so as not to hinder our prayers, and thank you, Lord, for this monstrous undertaking called HomeSchooling!  

I am spent.  How, Lord?  How can I do this all day, every day, for the next 15 years?  For every time I do it right, how many times are all wrong?  How do You do this day in and day out with ME???  

Oh, the grace... 

 "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:16 ESV