Child Z had committed a mother crime. What's a mother crime? Well it's a crime I, Momma Carolyn, trained my child not to do.
I had talked about it. Warned about it. And yes, preached about it. "Don't do that. It will hurt you...and others."
I'm one of those parents. You know, the kind who read the how-to books, attend the parenting seminars, and listen to the radio commentaries. If I were a bird, I'd liken myself to an eagle with two centers of focus, the ability to see forward and side to side at the same time, and spot prey in the murky water from several hundred feet above. Yep, nothing was going to happen on my watch. No way! I had trained myself for the job. And I was going to do it well. (Are you ready to puke yet? :)
So when child Z committed the mother crime, I got mad...really mad. In fact, I stayed angry for days. And questioned, "How could, Z, do that? What was, Z, thinking? This wasn't suppose to happen." And finally, "Where did I go wrong?" Ouch! That thought hurt.
Time has passed since that particular mother crime, and with seven kids, many more mother crimes have been committed and will be. But as I reflect on my parenting today, after twenty-two years of on the job training, I think I've learned something, and I would like to confess my "mother crime".
For far too long I've been focused on teaching my kids how to make good choices and not on how to accept grace and mercy when they make a bad decisions. It's not about any of my children, A-Z, getting it right,... or making me look like mother of the year. It's about teaching them when they get it wrong, which they will,...if they're like their mother, that there is grace and mercy each and every time. I once heard a secular psychiatrist say that if he could convince people that they were forgiven for the things they have done, he would be out of a job. I don't want my children to be imprisoned by the bad choices they've made or will make, but free to embrace mercy and grace. And if I can focus on teaching them that, maybe I can help that psychiatrist move on to another job.
So today I convict myself of a "mother crime", but I will not sentence myself. Because just as God's word is full of guidelines for making good choices, it is also rich in the promise that His mercies are new EVERY morning.