Grace and Forgiveness

This morning was going perfect all the children were up and happy.  Grant had made it out the door with a kiss from his wife. And now the 4 children and I are at the kitchen table.   If you are a librarian (Susan!) you might want to stop reading this now...  A new routine I've started lately is putting a book at each of their places so when they come down they can eat their breakfast and look at their book.  Yes they are toddlers and sticky messy hands are the norm.  Most of the kids get board books which wipe up fairly easily.
Books for Breakfast in lieu of the cereal box

This new trick has eliminated some of the squabbles and just picking at each other that had started.  You know the I'm going to touch your food or act like I'm going to touch it to get you to scream thing.  The added bonus is that Savannah gets to read a quick book in the morning which counts towards her school reading!

This morning was perfect!

Until the Cheerios were on the floor.

The ones I knew she wouldn't eat but I gave to her because she asked politely.

The bowl was full of milk that I second guessed at when I was pouring it in.

I was flat out annoyed.   The mess was huge.  Only a mop could fix it.

The perfect morning was over.

And she didn't even know it until she saw the look on my face.

Caroline was so excited to show me something in her book that she knocked over her bowl.  She never knew it happened.  It was a complete accident.  As she does often she covers her eyes when she is ashamed of her actions.  She has done this since we met her.  I don't know nor will I ever know her backstory.  The story of what it was like when accidents happened in the orphanage.  The consequences given and received and the messages sent by punishment.

After a nudge by the guy in my heart and a really deep breath and a flicker of a recent conversation with a friend going through my head.  I smiled.  She didn't see it.   I told her to look at me and I kept smiling not because I felt like it but because a small voice inside me said to.  By the time I got her to peek at me the annoyance was gone and the dread of the clean up to come I knew could be managed.  But my little girl needed to learn something I can't explain to her in words yet.

She needed to experience grace and forgiveness.  We have a long road of smiling when we don't want to ahead of us for her to understand that perfection is not attainable and that the goal of praise is not rewarded on perfection.  It will never be achieved no matter how hard she tries and she tries hard!  That we love her no matter what and will continue to love her regardless of her actions.  Because we made a choice, a commitment, and soon a vow in front of our church that we will teach her how God loves her by demonstrating it the best we know how.  And for the right now that is with a smile.
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