Our pastor had just wound up a terrific message on parenting by pointing out the importance of a grace-filled home for our kids. He beautifully explained that while, as parents, we most certainly need to identify the weaknesses and sins of our kids and work to correct them, our home also must serve as a safe house. When our sons and daughters mess up, they need to know the door is always wide open - that we will embrace them with unconditional, and often undeserved, love. Good stuff.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a thing that he said after that.
Needless to say the sobriety of this spiritual moment was lost on the Crane family. I madly dove into my purse searching for the emergency “Tide pen” (a staple in a home with 3 boys) and we attempted to mop up the mess.
As I sat there amidst the solemn congregation, the irony wasn’t lost on me: Wow, what an opportunity to extend grace, eh? Seated next to me was a boy who, in his haste and immaturity, truly messed up. Yet, his dad didn’t respond in anger or frustration. He didn’t even gesture wildly with a nonverbal “What do you think you’re doing!?” reprimand. He simply wiped down his trousers to the best of his ability, and then put an arm around the lad. And while my son’s wide eyes definitely registered a degree of shock and surprise…his mouth soon twisted into a wry grin. No fear. No anxiety. No worry of a slap to the face or a stern rebuke. That child was secure in the love of his dad.
Looking back over this week alone, I’ve certainly erred far beyond a mere spill of grape juice in my own life. I’ve been impatient. Selfish. Yes, even a tad arrogant at times. And yet, when I look into the eyes of my Father, what do I see? Grace. Compassion. Undeserved favor. Over and over and over again, He is my “safe house.” Oh, to be THAT kind of a parent to my children.