Posted by: Eric and Heidi | October 6, 2014

That’s Beautiful

I have been in church since I was eight days old.  I was born on a Saturday, so that first Sunday I missed because Mom and I were still in the hospital.  Poor excuse, I know.  The very next week, though, I was front and center…and I’ve more or less been in church ever since.  In the rainbow of Christian denominations, I’ve sampled just about every flavor.  I’ve attended church services in (at least) three languages and been involved in everything from street evangelism (not my gig) to just about every facet of youth ministry (definitely my gig!)  I’ve seen the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly of Christianity.  I’ve taken copious notes in theology classes and led Bible studies by the dozen.  My faith has been tested, tried, pushed, and proven.  But nothing I’ve experienced, absolutely nothing!, has had such a profound impact on my faith as the privilege of exposing my own children to the gospel.

A month or so ago, we introduced the concept of grace.  (Facebook friends, I know you’ve already heard this.  I’ll make it really quick, I promise!)  Abbi got into the very bad habit of wetting her bed at night (even though she’s been nighttime pottytrained for ages!  Grr!) and Eric and I, little by little, with each soaked load of bedsheets, took away almost all of her “fun” privileges.  One day, though, we explained grace, or undeserved blessings.  Despite the fact that she didn’t deserve it, we were taking her to the mountains.  The concept resonated with her and, a couple weeks later, when I showed grace once more, she remembered the lesson.  And, by the way, our nighttime potty situation resolved.  Grace?  Check!

Yesterday, though, we had another setback.  Another setback = another opportunity.  I don’t want Abbi to get the idea that grace renders our rules unimportant.  Daggonit, I feel very strongly about our rule that we do not pee in our beds!  As the Laundry Queen of the Family, I am NOT willing to let that rule go!  Where there is a pee infraction, there must be a punishment.  That’s a fact.  And that, is what I explained to Abbi.  We had been planning for days to make Daddy a cake- vanilla with chocolate chips.  Abbi was very specific about that part.  But now, because of The Incident, there would be no baking.  Bummer.  But wait, what about grace?  Ah ha!  I would show her grace.  We would make the cake.  But, oh no!, I didn’t say anything about her eating the cake.  Now what to do?

Abbi: Since you are showing me grace, I can have cake anyway.

Heidi: But the rule was broken.  Our rule is important.  Because you peed in your panties, there must be a punishment.

A: What are we going to do?

H: How about if I take your punishment for you?  You can eat my cake, and I’ll take your punishment.

A: But you didn’t do anything wrong!  I did.  Why would you do that for me?

H: Why do you think?

A:  Because you love me so much.

H:  That’s right.  I love you so very much.  I would do anything for you.

A: (long pause) That’s beautiful.

I’ll admit, I had to swallow the lump in my throat just a bit.  We proceeded to make the cake, complete with baking, cooling, and frosting.  Finally, it was time to eat.  I dished up a piece for my daughter, still slightly warm from the oven, with the lightest, fluffiest chocolate icing ever.

H:  Enjoy your cake, Baby.  I love you so much.

A:  (with a frown) But where’s your piece?

H:  I don’t get any, remember?  I’m taking your punishment.

A:  But…but…I want to share with you.

H:  Nope.  I can’t eat any cake tonight.  Our rule was broken and someone has to have the punishment.  I’m taking the punishment for you.

Abbi enjoyed her cake.  She did.  She was pretty quiet, though, by her standards.  There was no dancing about the living room and no continuous commentary on the virtues of the cake’s deliciousness.  Our little Culinary Critic was strangely quiet during this particular piece of cake.  Shortly thereafter, it was time for bed.  After the requisite vitamins and teeth brushing and pre-bedtime potty trip, Abbi and I settled in for our nightly snuggle.  Surrounded by stuffed animals and her baby doll, laying nose to nose in the dark, Abbi whispered to me, “Tell me again about how you took my punishment tonight.”  And so I did.  What happened next surprised me.  She began to cry.

A:  That makes me so sad!

H: Why, Baby?

A: I don’t like that you didn’t get any cake when I am the one who peed my bed.  That’s not fair!

H: But I was happy to take your punishment because I love you so much!

A: (still crying) Please don’t ever do that again!  I love you and I want you to have cake.

Nope.  No amount of Bible studies or theology classes could have the impact of my daughter’s organic reaction to the gospel.  Because that is the gospel, friends.  The truth is that we have all peed our beds and not one of us deserves cake.  The rule is important, the rule was broken, and justice demands a punishment.  But our Father, because He loves us so much, took our punishment for us.  As I walked out of Abbi’s room last night, I had two new ideas to consider.  First, might I have just gotten a tiny glimpse into the heart of our Father?  I sacrificed a measly piece of cake due to a bed wetting.  And yet, when my child asked why I would do that for her, I was nearly brought to tears by the purity of my answer.  “Because I love you so much.  I would do anything for you.”  And He has.  He loves us so much that He has done anything, everything!, for us.  Second, how often do I react to the Father’s sacrifice like Abbi reacted to mine?  With tears.  Genuinely remorseful that my infractions have caused my Father to sacrifice for me.  My sacrifice for Abbi was miniscule, yet it prompted genuine repentance and love.  God’s sacrifice for me was immeasurable; how much more should be my repentance and love?

I’ll tell you, these moments of faith with my children are precious.  They are a privilege.  They are humbling.  They are changing me.  Seeing the gospel through the eyes of a four year old is seeing it for the first time all over again.  Abbi had it right.  The gospel?  That’s beautiful.  May we never forget.


ps- Lest you have an unrealistic view of life in our home, you should know that I had plenty of time to dream up this faith lesson while I was stripping beds and washing sheets and shampooing carpets yesterday afternoon.  Yes, it was a doozy of a pee incident.  Truth be told, it was during the time when I sent the children downstairs to their dad so that I could take a couple deep breaths and not bite their heads off that this plan was concocted.  True story.




  1. You know I looooove this! And it’s so true. Seeing the gospel come to life in the eyes of a tiny child reignites my faith!!

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