Thursday, March 31, 2011
"Here we go." I thought to myself.
I took a deep breath as I braced myself for the worst. It had been a long day, and an ugly confrontation with my daughter in front of a captive audience was not on my "to do" list. I felt the tension building in every part of my body as I imagined the scene about to unfold. Carefully, I considered my parenting options.
Door number 1: A warning that would no doubt be dismissed.
Door number 2: Consequences...ugh.
Where was door number 3?
Then I heard God speak sweetly, "Be gentle. Try mercy."
Mercy. It could work. So, I took a deep breath and sent up a silent prayer. Then, I softly said Sofie's name and beckoned her to come near. At first, she refused and shook her head in displeasure at the notion of relenting to me.
So, I tried again. "Come here sweety," I said softly. Slowly, Sofie ambled over and stood in front of me. Jaw set. Eyes fixed on me. Honestly, she was ready for a fight. Then, I did something that took her by surprise.
There was no lecture about consequences for bad choices.
Nor was there a reminder of expectations or manners in public.
Instead, I offered her mercy and whispered, "I know you are hungry and tired. It's been a busy afternoon. We will eat soon. I love you." Then, I took her in my arms and held her close. In that moment, I felt her body relax as she fell into my hug. With that, Sofie's face softened along with her attitude.
Later that evening, as I tucked her into bed, my sweet daughter said, "Mommy. I am sorry I didn't come to you right away. You know, when you asked me to come over to you today. I should have listened. I'm sorry." In the end, I got the result I wanted. Peace had been maintained. Sofie had complied with my wishes. But more than that, mercy had trumped rebellion.
Grateful for the peaceful end to our day, I closed the bedroom door behind me and lifted my heart to the LORD. Exhausted, I fell onto the couch as I considered my daughter's change of heart from earlier. How differently the scene might have been if I had chosen another way! In His wisdom, God had led me to offer my little girl mercy. While there is a time and place for consequences, in this case, mercy was enough. After all, there are things more critical than Sofie being a well-behaved little girl.
In the big picture, I want her to become the God fearing woman she was created to be when God wove her together before she was born. I am reminded that moments like this mold and shape sweet Sofie's heart towards her Heavenly Father. For we are told "blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7 NIV)
For a moment, I thought about my own heart and the merciful ways God has worked in my life. Second chances. Divine interventions. Truly, I have seen "the LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." (Psalm 103:8 NIV)If I want my little girl to know mercy, I must first show her what it means to be merciful.
As the heart of our home, it is my job to show my children the very heart of God. Truly, I must not be short-sighted and squander these subtle opportunities where God is investing in my daughter's life. At times, it's best to avoid the fight, scrap the consequences, and choose mercy.
Your mercy amazes me. How compassionate you are towards your children. Help us to be a reflection of your mercy to our children. Let us look to you for wisdom to pick our moments carefully and reflect your heart in their lives.
Reflection: How is God challenging you to show His mercy today?