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Cleaning Stains from Our Hands


Many mama moments capture the true essence of how best to respond under pressure.  Most times, it's those little things that send me over the edge, while the bigger moments (where maybe I should be sent over the edge, I'm not) I tend to keep it together.  

This afternoon during our weekly "rest time," I laid out the ground works very clearly about expectations.  V in my room with bathroom attached and Tay in their room.  I heard V enter the bathroom, which was fine, because when you gotta go, you gotta go.  What puzzled me was what came next.  

Rule #1: We Stay In Our Designated Room

V was opening the towel closet.  Why?  She's not a mischievous, get into trouble type of kid.  In fact, when you look up guile in the dictionary, you're sure to find her picture with a large red mark across it.  I call up, "V, is everything okay?," wondering if water or the toilet (yuck) overflowed.  

What's a mama to do, but put on the inspector cap and go up.  There I find my daughter pink handed.  Yes, pink handed with a very distinct smell of nail polish.  Not only was it all over her hands, but her legs, feet, floor, and cabinet.  She was getting a towel to clean up & cover the mess.  

Instinctively, one might expect a harsh word from my mouth, but all I could do was look at her face.  Clearly, my child whom I know wasn't intending for wrong, made a colossal mess.  Her eyes and her lips said it all.  

She began speaking rather quickly about how she just wanted to paint her nails and "don't worry Mama, I just need to clean it up."  Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "But have you looked at yourself in the mirror?  You're glowing with hot pink all over."  

Instead, I took her hands and began scrubbing away with soap & water.  I began talking with her about how she made this choice?  And asking her if it's okay to get into the nail polish by herself?  She knew that part.  But I think it's when grace needs to be extended.  Her lip quivered.  That says it right there, her lip folks, when it quivers, I get this pain jabbed in my chest.  

I know, you might be thinking I'm a softie or push-over, but I'm not.  If Tay's lip quivered, it wouldn't have the same effect.  You just know as a mama what physical act your child displays that means, "I'm in the depths, and I'm stuck, will you give me grace?"  When V's lip quivers, it says that to me.  It says, "I'm gonna try not to cry, but I'm wholeheartedly mortified by what I did.  I didn't mean for it to go here."  

And as she says to me time and again, "Mama, will you give me some grace?"  Oh those words.  "Will you give me some grace?  Will you give me some grace?"  Because grace means a free gift not deserved.  

That lip shaking as a cold body in the wind, pleads for someone to wrap tight to warm her up.  And although our home is devoid of nail polish remover, and baking soda mixed with vinegar doesn't work, I hold my little girl to let her know that I am not angry.  Her lip said sorry & forgive me enough.  

How can I not give her grace, as she quickly covers her pink stained legs, feet and hands.  Upon closing the door, I assure her that we will bathe after rest time as she pulls socks on her feet to cover up her mess.  

"Will you give me some grace?" Jesus replies, "oh sweetie, yes," as he takes off the socks from our hands, covering our mess & he scrubs it pure.  

Reader Comments (3)

You asked for mercy stories: when Linden was ?3, I decorated a little white sweatshirt dress for her with angel appliques. She loved that little white dress; so much so that she would wear it during the day, take her bath, then want to put it on again; change it for snowpants, then put it on again. I was willing to indulge a few missed changes, but it was looking laundryish. Linden did not seem to care. She woke up in the morning and asked for her little white (dirty) dress. The love she had for the dress mercifully overlooked the stains....just like the love God has for you and me.
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjenny figgie
This is beautiful. My "word" for the year is "mercy" and I'm still working on learning to extend it myself rather than just being willing to receive it. Thanks for a good lesson in how it should be done at home.
March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGail

Gail--thank you for sharing. Mercy...such a hard word to embrace & extend to myself as well. And yet, he says it's new like the dew on the morning grass. I pray you and I both can freely receive it.

April 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterKamille

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