David was a shepherd, but when God looked at him, he saw a king.
Sure enough, when David grew up, that’s just what he became. And David was a great king. He had a heart like God’s heart – full of love.
Now, that didn’t mean he was perfect, because he did some terrible things – he even murdered a man. No, David made a big mess of his life. But God can take even the biggest mess and make it work in his plan.
“I need a new heart, Lord,” David prayed, “because mine is full of sin. Make me clean inside.”
God heard David’s prayer. He forgave David and he made David a promise: “I will make you great, David. And one day, a King will be born into your family, and he will heal the whole world.”
– The Jesus Storybook Bible
I tend to let my vision for the future be clouded by what’s right in front of me.
If I’m having a busy week, I tend to go all Eeyore on Bryan and whine about how it’s ALWAYS GOING TO BE THIS WAY. Then we both laugh at my folly when the weekend comes and we’re sipping margaritas on the deck while giving each other foot massages.
Okay, that hasn’t happened yet, but you get the idea.
After catching my daughter in another lie this afternoon – just one in a long succession of lies that I’m constantly sniffing out – my eyes began to glaze over with the idea that I’m raising a lying liar.
Because surely, this is a slippery slope to a dime in the state penn, right?
I understand my daughter’s issues clearly, because she struggles in all the same ways I
did do. When I was a kid I, too, was a lying liar. I lied about Big Things, and I lied about Stupid Stuff.
I told my mom I was at Jean Donohue’s house when I was really making out with a boy in a parked car. I told my step dad I only stole one cassette tape, when really my whole collection at the time came as a “five finger discount.” I said I was the one driving the car we wrecked so I wouldn’t get in trouble for letting a friend try out a stick shift.
These are the realities I have in the back of my mind every time Ruthie tells me she put her laundry away, when in reality she shoved it under the bed. Because I know. Seriously, I KNOW. The lies will get more complicated, and the liar will get more crafty.
I know this because I invented lying.
So I sit there in my thinking chair and steep in fear, worrying that she’s already gone, that her heart is a stone cold lump of coal, that my work here is futile and there’s nothing left to be done for her.
And through the drama of my drama-filled dramatic thoughts, a story from my kids’ Bible speaks to me profoundly.
Here is what I am reminded of:
- I am still a lying liar. I hide the bills I forget to pay on time, I hide the message I forget to pass on and now it’s too late, I hide the invite to the party I don’t want to attend (not yours, of course. I would never do that).
- God blessed me with a lying liar for a daughter – not to punish me or make me miserable, but because he knew I would empathize with her, love her fiercely in spite of it, and continually point her to Jesus as the truth-giver.
- I did not do ten years in the state penn, despite the fact I am a lying liar.
- My daughter is only seven years old. And she is a cutie pie. And her heart is not (usually) made of coal (kidding!). There is still much work to be done, and I will never give up.
- “God can take even the biggest mess and make it work in his plan.” So even if she does do a dime in the state penn, God will not let go of her.
In the moment of dealing with Ruthie, I tend to forget I do the same thing she does – even now as an adult. I sometimes scold her as if her life is already over, as if the shackles are hanging on the coat rack by the door, ready to slap on her wrists and take her in.
My prayer today is for my heart to remain soft toward her, and to be compassionate. It’s easy to hate what she does, because I hate what I do – but it’s easier to yell at her than it is to yell at myself.
I’m thankful for a God that doesn’t expect us to be perfect, who shows us grace and mercy and kindness. As a parent, I pray I reflect more of this to my kids.