why is it that when our babies lie sometimes they are so convincing that even when you KNOW its not possible that they are telling the truth you still want to believe them? like what the actual heck.
this morning i was getting ready to get us out the door for school when i walked past wills room and noticed there were mickey mouse cutouts left over from his birthday all over the floor. i had stacked them on my dresser to give to another momma who could use them the day before so i was a little peeved and curious how they had moved across the hall. now, i could actually care less about the cutouts being moved and scattered around but since they had been put in a place that was not for his use i did not love that it was done so without permission. he was right at the bottom of the stairs so i simply thought i would ask him why he had made the choice to move them. within the time it took me to speak the words our morning turned into a battle and tears within seconds.
my darling son went through the whole rollercoaster. staring with stubborn angry words that he was being accused, followed closely by tears that he promised it was not him then to excuses and logic of how else it could have happened, and finally defeat and admitting he took them. he was consequenced and we left for school. two minutes into the drive he asked when he got his iPad back. which side note, kids losing their iPads is really is more of a punishment to the parent, am i right? i told him after school tomorrow and he proceeded to start the rollercoaster all over again. i can only imagine it was started when his sweet 5 year old brain told him that if i believed him this time he would then get the iPad back sooner. he proceeded full out in his attempt to convince me this time. and as i was driving listening to him melt down, i thought there has to be a Jesus lesson in here somewhere but i am just not seeing it. second later two things happened and i heard a lesson loud & clear. we cannot hide from Jesus, but man do we try.
here is what took place in those brief seconds:
- he was so distraught i actually questions for the SECOND time that morning if there was any way it was not him. like y’all, mike is in NYC on business and trooper & lincoln sure as heck can’t carry things in their paws and unless i went sleep walking after breakfast and dressing my child, because they were not out when that happened, there is only one other option. but seriously, i TWICE asked myself he was that convincing.
- the level of his distress also made me wonder if he actually did not even remember doing it or could not handle admitting it to himself or to me that he did out of fear. fear of the guilt that would come, being punished, being seen as bad or being loved less for not meeting an expectation.
after these two thoughts crossed my mind i told wills i would need to share with his dad what had happened. the increase in the volume of tears both amount and noise level and the look of deep sorrow in my little nuggets face made thought number two started playing out louder in my mind as to the why behind his lie. knowing his papa would find out broke his heart on a whole new level, he hates disappointing his daddy. it that moment it became crystal clear to me that i so easily am just like my son. we so often forget that Jesus sees it all. that he knows when we are lying to him, to others, to ourselves. and i am not just talking about actual lies here like what happened with wills this morning, although those too. but lies about who we are, what we are doing in our lives behind closed doors, where are thoughts are about things and others others. our dreams and our anxieties, our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical desires, needs and actions that are all taking place when we hope nobody is paying attention. how much of my lying i am blinded to or blocking out so that i am not wrecked with those same fears i assume wills had. having to experience the heaviness of guilt, disappointing my Father who i care about and want to make proud, being consequenced, wondering if i will be labeled bad or ultimately being loved less. often i think even when we are not even paying full attention.
i believe it grieves Him deeply. in fact, i think our hiding it grieves Him even more than action of it.
in genesis 3:9, right after adam & eve eat the apple and their eyes are opened they hear God coming into the garden. because they have disobeyed God and now feel all the feels, like guilt, they decide to hide in the bushes. God says “where are you?”. a few weeks ago i listened to a video by Angie Smith about this and was struck when she said something along the lines of “God wasn’t asking about their physical location, because of course He already knew that, He is God. He was asking about the condition of their heart.” It washed over me again this morning as i looked at my baby boy and wanted to say “where are you?”. what is going on in your precious heart that you are lying to your momma? do you not see it, do you care about it, are you afraid of it for one of those reasons listed above? what is going on nugget to make you think you can continue to hide from what we both know full well is the truth.
you see, as wills’ momma i just wanted to hold him in my arms and kiss his tears away. i sat and we struggled through it together at home and in the parking lot at school. i asked questions and tried to reassure him that it was safe to tell the truth and that momma needed him to take that first step in order for us to move through it and ultimately past it. and ugh, friends, i so wish i could tell you he decided to do just that. to trust me and be honest. but after all the talks he is claiming his stake as my son with his stubborn streak and promised again through tears that he did not move them. he received a harsher punishment this time and we headed into class. he looked up at me as we walked in and told me he loved me. i told him i loved him too, more than anything in the world and that my love for him was unchanging. i headed to the gym and was tossed back and forth through my run between being heavy hearted for my boy who will need to learn hard lessons about lying, sad and frustrated as his momma that he wouldn’t be honest with me and grateful that i have a savior who cares enough to teach me those lessons as well. because my heart for wills to learn this lesson is ultimately about my desire for him to experience a full life. to know honesty is important. to know the power of remorse followed be restoration. to experience freedom from trappings and to trust with all his little heart and soul that he is loved unconditionally. my assumption therefore is that is God’s heart for me follows a pattern similar to that on an even grander scale. God is not trying to hurt me by asking that i lay all my yuck out there for him and others, but to love me better than i could ever dream of being loved.
God wants all of us, not just the shiny parts we deem worthy of being known. He wants us to come clean, to trust that there is no fear in perfect love (1 John 4:18). no fear of being fully known, no fear of being punished, no fear in being labeled bad, no fear of being less than. that there is indeed guilt and man it can be heavy, but there is no shame. and those two things are mightily different. our Papa wants to spare us the consequences by giving us chances to do as He asks, to come to Him in full transparency and do as His word calls us to do. and that same Papa, the God of the entire universe, wants to kiss our tears and hold our hands while reminding us how much He loves us when we don’t do that and have to walk through the harder consequences because of it. i truly believe it grieves Him deeply when we chose by choice or blindness to lie. in fact, i think our hiding grieves Him even more than the lie or bad action itself. His heart is a heart that just wants us to come home regardless of what we have done or hidden. His heart is one that does not punish us out of an anger caused by our disrespect (as i so often do with wills) but rather a heart that wants to use it to teach us and spare us from repeating the action again and experiencing even further pain. and gosh, only a truly loving parent is capable of such selflessness. i want to be a parent like jesus. to allow consequences to be moments i would hold him and help him learn the lesson to make a better choice next time. not giving punishments out of anger because i believed i deserved differently from him. i know i do not always do that every time, not even close. praise Jesus he does.
so my prayer today is the same for my little buddy as it is for me and for you. i pray that we can trust our loving Father by asking and allowing the Holy Spirit to move in ways that convict our hearts to pour out our truth to Him. that we can come clean and experience the grace, forgiveness and freedom He so readily offers. that we can lean in and walk through whatever consequences come from it. knowing full well not for one moment our hand will go unheld. and ultimately, that we would live our lives in a way that is not driven by fear but confident in our standing as a child of God. that i would accept the truth is the same for me as it is for my baby. i don’t love or feel or see wills with anything less than i did before this morning, even before he has decided to come clean. God feels the same towards me. because we may make bad choices but never will He see us as bad, but rather in thanks to the blood of Jesus Christ, His words says He sees us as holy and blameless (colossians 1:21-22). that is the knowledge on which we must stand in order to see clearly and surrender our hiding spots. believing the truth that all our Papa wants is our hearts, that we will be loved the same after as we were before but trusting the freedom on the other side makes that love even sweeter.